The raccoon’s scientific name, Procyonlotor, can be roughly translated as “before the dog” (denoting its distant relationship to the dog family) and “a washer,” referring to its habit of washing its food. Most people know them simply as raccoons or coons. These common names are derived from the Algonquin Indian word “arakun,” which means “he who scratches with his hands” and probably refers to the animal’s dexterous use of its forepaws.
Despite the mischief this masked mammal can sometimes cause, raccoons play an important role in the ecosystem by serving as gardeners, pest control, and the “clean-up crew”, Raccoons are beneficial to ecosystems for the distribution of plant seeds.
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