Appears in

Oxford Companion to Food

Oxford Companion to Food

By Alan Davidson

Published 2014

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raccoon Procyon lotor, a furry animal of N. America which belongs to the same family, Procyonidae, as the pandas of China. Typical measurements for a raccoon would be 75 cm (30") for head-plus-body length and 12–15 kg (27–34 lb), so there is plenty of it to be eaten. The bushy tail is marked by black rings, and the face by a black ‘mask’. Indeed, the animal has an engaging and striking appearance, and it is not surprising that it quickly attracted the attention of early white settlers. Thus Captain John Smith, he whose life was saved by the Indian princess Pocahontas, referred to it as ‘a beast they call aroughcun, much like a badger … living on trees, as squirrels do’.