Frae Wikipedia, the free beuk o knawledge

Temporal range: Blancan–Recent[1]
Californie raccoon (P. l. psora), Lawer Klamath Naitional Wildlife Refuge in Californie
Scientific classification edit
Kinrick: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Cless: Mammalia
Order: Carnivora
Faimily: Procyonidae
Genus: Procyon
Species: P. lotor
Binomial name
Procyon lotor
Native range in reid, introduced range in blue

Ursus lotor Linnaeus, 1758

The raccoon (Procyon lotor) is a middlin mammal hamelt tae North Americae. The raccoon is the maist muckle memmer o the procyonid faimily; it ranges frae 40 tae 70 cm (16 tae 28 in) lang an wechtin as 3.5 tae 9 kg (8 tae 20 lb). Its grayish coat maistly consists o dense underfur that insulates again cauld wather. Twa o the raccoon's maist kenspeckle features is its extremely dexterous front paws an its facial mask. Raccoons is kenspeckle for thair intelligence, wi studies shawin that thay can mynd the solution tae tasks for up tae three year.[3] Raccoons is maistly nocturnal. Thay're omnivores; the diet o the raccoon consists o aboot 40% invertebrates, 33% plant fuids, an 27% vertebrates. They eat mice, ferrets, kinnens, birds, fish, frogs, turtles, lizards, eggs, insects, wirms, fruit an nits. Raccoons is eaten by tods, wouves, coyotes, beirs, eagles, houlets, cougars, lynx an bobcats.

The oreeginal habitats o the raccoon is deciduous an mixed wid, but due tae thair adaptability thay hae stendit thair range tae mountainous auries, coastal marshes, an urban auries, whaur some homeowners consider them tae be pests. As a result o escapes an deliberate introductions in the mid-20t century, raccoons is nou distributed athort mainlan Europe, Caucasie, an Japan an aa.

Tho thocht aforehaun tae be solitary, thare is nou evidence that raccoons engage in gender-specific social behaviour. Related females aften share a common area, while unrelated males live thegither in groups o up tae fower ainimals tae maintain thair poseetions again ootlander males in the matein saison, an ither potential invaders. Hame range sizes vary anywhere frae 3 hectares (7 acres) for females in ceeties tae 50 km2 (20 sq mi) for males in prairies. Efter a gestation period o aboot 65 day, twa tae five young, kent as "kits", is born in spring. The kits is subsequently raised bi thair mither til dispersal in late hairst. Tho captive raccoons haes been kent tae live ower 20 year, thair life expectancy in the wild is anly 1.8 til 3.1 year. In mony auries, huntin an vehicular wounds is the twa maist common causes o daith.

Etymology[eedit | eedit soorce]

The mask o a raccoon is aften interrupt bi a broun-black streak that stends frae forehead tae neb.[4]

The wird "raccoon" comes frae the Powhatan wird aroughcun.[5] It haes been identified as a Proto-Algonquian ruit *ahrah-koon-em an aw, meanin "[the] body that rubs, scrubs an scarts wi its haunds".[6]

Seemilarly, Spainish colonists adoptit the Spainish wird mapache frae the Nahuatl mapachitli, meanin "[the] body that taks awthin in its haunds".[7] In mony leids, the raccoon is cried fur its characteristic dousin behaviour in conjunction wi that leid's wird for beir, the likes o Waschbär in German, orsetto lavatore in Italien, mosómedve in Hungarien an araiguma (アライグマ) in Japanee. In French an Portuguese (in Portugal), the washin behaviour is combined wi thir leids' term for ratton, yieldin, respectively, raton laveur an ratão-lavadeiro. The raccoon's scientific name, Procyon lotor, is neo-Latin, meanin "afore-dug washer", wi lotor Latin for "washer" an Procyon Latinized Greek frae προ-, "afore" an κύων, "dug".

Taxonomy[eedit | eedit soorce]

Skins o P. lotor an P. cancrivorus
Skulls o P. lotor an P. cancrivorus

In the first decades efter its diskivery bi the members o the expedeetion o Christopher Columbus (the first person tae leave a written record aboot the species), taxonomists thocht the raccoon wis sib tae mony different species, includin dugs, cats, brocks an parteecularly beirs.[8] Carl Linnaeus, the faither o modren taxonomy, placed the raccoon in the genus Ursus, first as Ursus cauda elongata ("long-tailed bear") in the seicont edeetion o his Systema Naturae (1740), then as Ursus Lotor ("washer bear") in the tenth edition (1758–59).[9] In 1780, Gottlieb Conrad Christian Storr placed the raccoon in its ain genus Procyon, whilk can be owerset as aither "afore the dug" or "duglike".[10] It is possible that Storr haed its nocturnal lifestyle in mind an chuise the starn Procyon as eponym for the species.[11]

Description[eedit | eedit soorce]

Skull wi dentition: 2/2 molars, 4/4 premolars, 1/1 canines, 3/3 incisors

Physical characteristics[eedit | eedit soorce]


Heid tae hurdies, raccoons meisur atween 40 an 70 cm (16 an 28 in), nae includin the bushy tail that can meisur atween 20 an 40 cm (8 an 16 in), but isnae uisually hantle langer than 25 cm (10 in).[12] The shouther hicht is atween 23 an 30 cm (9 an 12 in).[13] The body wecht o an adult raccoon varies considerably wi habitat, makkin the raccoon ane o the maist variably sized mammals. It can range frae 2 tae 14 kilogram (4 tae 30 lb), but is uisually atween 3.5 an 9 kilogram (8 an 20 lb). The smaaest specimens is foond in Southren Florida, while thaim that is near the northren leemits o the raccoon's range tend tae be the maist muckle (see Bergmann's rule).[14] Males is uisually 15 tae 20% heivier than females.[15] At the beginnin o winter, a raccoon can wee twice as hantle as in spring acause o fat storage.[16] The maist muckle kent wild raccoon weed 28.4 kg (62.6 lb) an meisurt 140 cm (55 in) in tot lenth, bi far the maist muckle procyonid kent.[17][18]

The maist characteristic physical featur o the raccoon is the aurie o black fur aroond the een, whilk contrasts shairply wi the surroondin white face colourin. This is reminiscent o a "bandit's mask" an haes enhanced the animal's reputation for mischief.[19] The slichtly roundit lugs is bund bi white fur an aa. Raccoons is assumed tae ken the facial expression an posture o ither members o thair species mair quickly acause o the conspicuous facial colouration an the alternatin licht an dark rings on the tail.[20][21] The dark mask mey reduce glare an aa an enhance nicht vision.[21] On ither pairts o the body, the lang an stiff guard hairs, which shed moisture, are uisually coloured in shades o gray an, tae a lesser extent, broun.[22] Raccoons wi a vera dark coat is mair common in the German population acause individuals wi sic colourin wis amang thaim that wis initially released intae the wild.[23] The dense underfur, whilk accounts for awmaist 90% o the coat, insulates again cauld wather an is componed o 2 tae 3 cm (0.8 tae 1.2 in) lang hairs.[22]

Baculum or "penis bone"

The raccoon, whase method o locomotion is uisually considered tae be plantigrade, can staund on its hind legs tae exaimine objects wi its front paws.[24] As raccoons hae short legs compared tae thair compact torso, thay uisually can naither rin swith nor lowp muckle distances.[25] Thair tap speed over short distances is 16 tae 24 km/h (10 tae 15 mph).[26][27] Raccoons can soum wi an average speed o aboot 5 km/h (3 mph) an can stay in the watter for several oors.[28] For climmin doun a tree heidfirst — an unuisual ability for a mammal o its size — a raccoon rotates its hint feet sae thay are pynt backwart.[29] Raccoons hae a dual cooling system tae regulate thair temperature; that is, thay can baith sweit an pech for heat dissipation.[30]

Raccoon skulls hae a short an wide facial region an a voluminous braincase. The facial lenth o the skull is less nor the cranial, an thair nasal banes is short an quite braid. The auditory bullae is inflate in form, an the sagittal crest is waik developit.[31] The dentition — 40 teeth wi the dental formula: — is adapted tae thair omnivorous diet: the carnassials arenae as shairp an pyntit as thaim that a fou-time carnivore haes, but the molars arenae as wide as thaim that a herbivore haes.[32] The penis bane o males is aboot 10 cm (4 in) lang an strangly bent at the front end.[33] Seiven o the thirteen identified vocal calls is uised in communication atween the mither an her kits, ane o them bein the birdlike twitterin o newborns.[34]

Bottom side o the front paw wi visible vibrissae on the tips o the deegits

Senses[eedit | eedit soorce]

The maist important sense for the raccoon is its sense o touch.[35] The "hyper sensitive"[36] front paws is pertect bi a thin horny layer that becomes pliable whan weet.[37] The five deegits o the paws hae no wabbin atween them, whilk is unuisual for a carnivoran.[38] Awmaist twa-thirds o the aurie responsible for sensory perception in the raccoon's cerebral cortex is specialised for the interpretation o tactile impulses, mair nor in ony ither studied animal.[39] Thay can identify objects afore touchin them wi vibrissae locatit abuin thair shairp, nonretractable claws.[40] The raccoon's paws lack an opposable thumb; it disnae hae the agility o the haunds o primates.[41] Thare is nae observed negative effect on tactile perception whan a raccoon staunds in watter ablo 10 °C (50 °F) for oors.[42]

Raccoons is thocht tae be color blind or at least that thay can puirly distinguish colour, tho thair een is weel-adapt for sensin green licht.[43] Awtho thair accommodation o 11 dioptre is comparable tae that o humans an thay see weel in the gloamin acause o the tapetum lucidum ahint the retina, visual perception is o subordinate importance tae raccoons acause o thair poor lang-distance vision.[44] In addition tae bein uisefu for orientation in the dark, thair sense o smell is important for intraspecific communication. Glandular secretions (uisually frae thair anal glands), urine an feces is uised for merkin.[45] Wi thair braid auditory range, thay can perceive tones up tae 50–85 kHz as weel as quiet noises, lik thaim produced bi earthworms unner the grund.[46]

Intelligence[eedit | eedit soorce]

Zoologist Clinton Hart Merriam descrivit raccoons as "cliver beists", an that "in certain directions their cunnin surpasses that o the tod." The animal's intelligence provokit the epithet "sleekit coon".[47] Anly a few studies hae been taen on haun tae determine the mental abilities o raccoons, maist o them based on the ainimal's sense o touch. In a study bi the ethologist H. B. Davis in 1908, raccoons coud open 11 o 13 complex locks in fewer than 10 ettles an haed nae problems repeatin the action whan the locks wis rereddit or wis pit tapsalteerie. Davis concludit thay unnerstuid the abstract principles o the lockin mechanisms an thair learnin speed wis equivalent tae that o rhesus macaques.[48] Studies in 1963, 1973, 1975 an 1992 concentrated on raccoon memory shawed thay can mind the solutions tae tasks for up tae three year.[3] In a study bi B. Pohl in 1992, raccoons coud instantly differentiate atween identical an different seembols three year efter the short initial learin phase.[3] Stanislas Dehaene reports in his beuk The Number Sense raccoons can distinguish boxes conteenin twa or fower grapes frae thaim conteenin three.[49]

Behaviour[eedit | eedit soorce]

Social behaviour[eedit | eedit soorce]

Eastern raccoons (P. l. lotor) in a tree: The raccoon's social structur is grouped intae whit Ulf Hohmann caws a "three class society".

Studies in the 1990s bi the ethologists Stanley D. Gehrt an Ulf Hohmann indicate raccoons engage in gender-specific social behaviours an arenae teepically solitary, as wis thocht aforehaun.[50][51] Related females eften live in a sae-cried "fission-fusion society", that is, thay share a common aurie an occasionally meet at feedin or restin grunds.[52] Males that isnae sib tae ilkane ither eften form loose male social groups tae mainteen thair poseetion again foreign males in the matein saison — or again ither potential invaders.[53] Sic a group disnae uisually conseest o mair nor fower individuals.[54] Syne some males shaw aggressive behaviour towart wansib kits, mithers will isolate themsels frae ither raccoons til thair kits is muckle eneuch tae defend thairsels.[55] Wi respect tae thir three different modes o life prevalent amang raccoons, Hohmann cried thair social structur a "three class society".[56] Samuel I. Zeveloff, professor o zoology at Weber State University an author o the beuk Raccoons: A Natural History, is mair cautious in his interpretation an concludes at least the females is solitary maist o the time an, accordin tae Erik K. Fritzell's study in North Dakota in 1978, males in auries wi law population densities is solitary as weel.[57]

The shape an size o a raccoon's hame range varies dependin on age, sex, an habitat, wi adults claimin auries mair nor twice as lairge as juveniles.[58] While the size o hame ranges in the inhospitable habitat o North Dakota's prairies lee atween 7 an 50 km2 (3 an 20 sq mi) for males an atween 2 an 16 km2 (1 an 6 sq mi) for females, the average size in a marsh at Lake Erie wis 0.5 km2 (0.19 sq mi).[59] Irrespective o whether the hame ranges o adjacent groups owerlap, thay are likest eneuch nae actively defendit ootwi the matein saison gif fuid supplies is sufficient.[60] Odor marks on prominent spots is assumed tae establish hame ranges an identify individuals.[61] Urine an feces left at shared raccoon latrines mey provide additional information aboot feedin grunds, syne raccoons war observed tae meet thare later for collective eatin, sleepin an playin.[62]

Concernin the general behaviour patterns o raccoons, Gehrt pynts oot that "teeepically ye'll find 10 tae 15 percent that will dae the opposite"[63] o whot is expectit.

On an aipple tree

Diet[eedit | eedit soorce]

Tho uisually nocturnal, the raccoon is whiles active in daylicht tae tak advantage o available food soorces.[64] Its diet consists o aboot 40% invertebrates, 33% plant material an 27% vertebrates.[65] Syne its diet consists o sic a variety o different fuids, Zeveloff argues the raccoon "mey weel be ane o the warld's maist omnivorous ainimals".[66] While its diet in ware an early simmer consists maistly o insects, worms, an ither ainimals awready available air in the year, it prefers fruits an nits, lik acorns an wawnits, whilk emerge in late simmer an hairst, an represent a rich calorie soorce for buildin up fat needit for winter.[67] Contrar tae popular belief, raccoons eat active or lairge prey, lik birds an mammals, anly occasionally, acause thay prefer prey that is easier tae catch, specifically fish, amphibians an bird eggs.[68] Whan fuid is plentifu, raccoons can develop strang individual preferences for specific foods.[69] In the northren pairts o thair range, raccoons gang intae a winter rest, reducin thair activity drastically as lang as a permanent snaw civer maks sairchin for fuid impossible.[70]

Slockin[eedit | eedit soorce]

Captive raccoons aften slock thair food afore eatin.

Ane aspect o raccoon behaviour is sae weel kent that it gies the animal pairt o its scienteefic name, Procyon lotor; "lotor" is neo-Latin for "washer". In the wild, raccoons aften daible for unnerwatter fuid naur the shore-line. Thay then aften pick up the fuid item wi thair front paws tae exaimine it an screenge the item, whiles tae remuive unwantit pairts. This gies the appearance o the raccoon "washin" the fuid. The tactile sensitivity o raccoons' paws is increased gif this screengin action is performed unnerwatter, for the watter softens the haurd layer kiverin the paws.[71] Housomiver, the behaviour observed in captive raccoons in whilk thay cairy thair food tae watter tae "wash" or slock it afore eatin haes nae been observed in the wild.[72] Naturalist Georges-Louis Leclerc, Comte de Buffon, believed that raccoons disnae hae adequate saliva production tae moisten fuid tharebi necessitatin slockin, but this hypothesis is nou considert tae be incorrect.[73] Captive raccoons slock thair food mair aften whan a watterin hole wi a layout seemilar tae a burn isnae farther awa than 3 m (10 ft).[74] The widely acceptit theory is that slockin in captive raccoons is a fixed action pattern frae the daiblin behaviour performed whan foragin at shores for aquatic foods.[75] This is support bi the observation that aquatic fuids is slockit mair aften. Cleanin clarty fuid disnae seem tae be a raison for "washin".[74] Experts haes cast dout on the veracity o observations o wild raccoons slockin fuid.[76]

Reproduction[eedit | eedit soorce]

Raccoons uisually mate in a period triggered bi increasin daylicht atween late Januar an mid-Mairch.[77] Housomiver, thare lairge regional differences whilk isnae completely explicable bi solar conditions. For insaumple, while raccoons in soothren states teepically mate later than average, the matein saison in Manitoba peaks later than uisual in Mairch an stends till Juin.[78] In the matein saison, males restlessly roam thair hame ranges in rake o females in an attempt tae coort them throu the three- tae fower- day period whan conception is possible. Thir encounters will aften occur at central meetin places.[79] Copulation, includin foreplay, can last over an oor an is repeated over several nights.[80] The waiker members o a male social group is assumed tae get the opportunity tae mate an aa, syne the stranger ones canna mate wi aw available females.[81] In a study in soothren Texas in the matein saisons frae 1990 tae 1992, aboot ae third o aw females matit wi mair nor ae male.[82] Gif a female disnae acome pregnant or gif she loses her kits air, she will whiles acome fertile again 80 till 140 day later.[83]

An Eastern raccoon (P. l. lotor) kit

Efter uisually 63 till 65 day o gestation (tho onywhaur frae 54 till 70 day is possible), a bruid o teepically twa till five young is born.[84] The average bruid size varies widely wi habitat, rangin frae 2.5 in Alabama tae 4.8 in North Dakota.[85] Lairger bruids is mair common in auries wi a heich mortality rate, due, for insaumple, tae hunting or severe winters.[86] While male yearlins uisually reak thair sexual maturity anly efter the main matein saison, female yearlins can compensate for heich mortality rates an mey be responsible for aboot 50% o aw young born in a year.[87] Males hae nae pairt in raisin young.[88] The kits (cried "cubs" an aa) is blin an deif at birth, but thair mask is awready visible again thair licht fur.[89] The birth wecht o the aboot 10 cm (4 in)-lang kits is atween 60 an 75 g (2.1 an 2.6 oz).[90] Thair lug canals open efter aroond 18 tae 23 days, a few days afore thair een open for the first time.[91] Ance the kits wecht aboot 1 kg (2 lb), thay begin tae explore ootwi the den, consumin solit food for the first time efter sax tae nine week.[92] Efter this pyntin, thair mither suckles them wi decreasing frequency; thay are uisually weaned bi 16 weeks.[93] In the faw, efter thair mither haes shawn them dens an feedin grunds, the juvenile group splits up.[94] While mony females will stay close tae the home range o thair mither, males can whiles muive mair nor 20 km (12 mi) away.[95] This is considered an instinctive behaviour, preventin inbreedin.[96] Houiver, mither an affspring mey share a den in the first winter in cauld auries.[97]

Life expectancy[eedit | eedit soorce]

Young Florida raccoon (P. l. elucus) crossing a road

Captive raccoons haes been kent tae live for mair nor 20 year.[98] Housomiver, the species' life expectancy in the wild is anly 1.8 till 3.1 year, dependin on the local conditions in terms o traffeck volume, huntin, an wather severity.[99] It isnae unuisual for anly hauf o the young born in ae year tae survive a fou year.[100] Efter this pyntin, the annual mortality rate drops tae atween 10% an 30%.[101] Young raccoons is vulnerable tae losin thair mither tae starvation, parteecularly in lang an cauld winters.[102] The maist frequent naitural cause o daith in the North American raccoon population is distemper, whilk can reak epidemic proportions an kill maist o a local raccoon population.[103] In auries wi hivy vehicular traffeck an extensive huntin, thir factors can accoont for up tae 90% o aw daiths o adult raccoons.[104] The maist important naitural predators o the raccoon is bobcats, coyotes, an great hornit houlets, the latter mainly preyin on young raccoons. In thair introduced range in the umwhile Soviet Union, thair main predators is woufs, lynxes an catogles.[105] Housomiver, predation isnae a significant cause o daith, inspecially acause lairger predators haes been exterminated in mony auries whaur raccoons is indwellin.[106]

Range[eedit | eedit soorce]

Mississippi Delta raccoon (P. l. megaloudus) searching for food on a lake shore

Habitat[eedit | eedit soorce]

Tho thay hae thrived in sparsely widit auries in the last decades, raccoons depend on vertical structures tae clim whan thay feel threatened.[107] Therefore, thay evit open terrain an auries wi heich concentrations o beech trees, as beech baurk is ower smooth tae clim.[108] Tree howes in auld aiks or ither trees an rock clifts is preferred bi raccoons as sleepin, winter an bruid bouries. Gif sic dens is unavailable or accessing them is inconvenient, raccoons uise burrows dug bi ither mammals, dense undergrowth or tree crotches.[109] In a study in the Solling range o hills in Germany, mair nor 60% o aw sleepin places war uised anly ance, but thaim uised at least ten times accountit for aboot 70% o aw uises.[110] For amphibians, crustaceans, an ither ainimals foond aroond the shore o lochs an rivers is an important pairt o the raccoon's diet, lawland deciduous or mixed wids abundant wi watter an marshes susteen the heichest population densities.[111] While population densities range frae 0.5 tae 3.2 ainimals per square kilometer (1.3 tae 8.3 ainimals per square mile) in prairies an dae nae uisually exceed 6 ainimals per square kilometer (15.5 ainimals per square mile) in upland haurdwid wids, mair nor 20 raccoons per square kilometer (51.8 ainimals per square mile) can live in lawland wids an marshes.[112]

Distribution in North America[eedit | eedit soorce]

An albino Florida raccoon (P. l. elucus) in Virginia Key, Florida

Raccoons is common atouer North Americae frae Canadae tae Panama, whaur the subspecies Procyon lotor pumilus coexists wi the crab-eatin Raccoon (Procyon cancrivorus).[113] The population on Hispaniola wis sterminate as air as 1513 bi Spainyie colonists wha huntit them for thair meat.[114] Raccoons wis exterminate in Cuba an Jamaica an aa, whaur the last sichtins wis reportit in 1687.[115] Whan thay war still considered separate species, the Bahamas raccoon, Guadeloupe raccoon an Tres Marias raccoon wis classifee'd as endangered bi the IUCN in 1996.[116]

Thare is evidence that in pre-Columbian times raccoons wis numerous anly alang rivers an in the widlands o the Sootheastren Unitit States.[117] As raccoons wisnae mentioned in earlier reports o pioneers explorin the central an north-central pairts o the Unitit States,[118] thair initial spread mey hae begun a few decades afore the 20t century. Syne the 1950s, raccoons hae spandit thair range frae Vancouver Island—umwhile the northernmost leemit o thair range—far intae the northren portions o the fower sooth-central Canadian provinces.[119] New habitats whilk hae recently been occupied bi raccoons (apart frae urban auries) include moontain ranges, lik the Western Rocky Mountains, prairies an coastal marshes.[120] Efter a population explosion stairtin in the 1940s, the estimate nummer o raccoons in North Americae in the late 1980s wis 15 tae 20 times heicher than in the 1930s, whan raccoons wis comparatively rare.[121] Urbanisation, the waxin o agricultur, deliberate introductions, an the stermination o naitural predators o the raccoon haes likely caused this increase in abundance an distribution.[122]

Distribution outside North America[eedit | eedit soorce]

As a result o escapes an deliberate introductions in the mid-20t century, the raccoon is nou distribute in several European an Asian countries. Sichtins haes occurred in aw the countries bund Germany, whilk hosts the lairgest population ootwi North Americae.[123] Anither stable population exists in northren Fraunce, whaur several pet raccoons wis released bi members o the U.S. Air Force near the Laon-Couvron Air Base in 1966.[124] Mair atouer, raccoons haes been reportit in the aurie aroond Madrid syne the early 1970s. In 2013 the ceety authorised "the capture an daith o ony specimen" foond.[125]

Aboot 1,240 ainimals wis released in nine regions o the umwhile Soviet Union atween 1936 an 1958 for the purpose o establishin a population tae be huntit for thair fur. Twa o thir introductions wis sonsie — ane in the sooth o Belaroushie atween 1954 an 1958, an anither in Azerbaijan atween 1941 an 1957. Wi a seasonal hairst o atween 1,000 an 1,500 ainimals, in 1974 the estimate size o the population distributit in the Caucasus region wis aroond 20,000 ainimals an the density wis fower ainimals per square kilometer (10 ainimals per square mile).[126]

Distribution in Japan[eedit | eedit soorce]

In Japan, up tae 1,500 raccoons wis importit as pets ilka year efter the success o the anime series Rascal the Raccoon (1977). In 2004, the descendants o discardit or escaped ainimals lived in 42 o 47 prefecturs.[127][128][129] The population o raccoons in Japan grew frae 17 prefectures in 2000 tae aw 47 prefectures in 2008.[130]

Distribution in Germany: Raccoons killed or foond dead bi hunters in the huntin years 2000-2001, 2001-2002 an 2002-2003 in the admeenistrative destricts o Germany

Distribution in Germany[eedit | eedit soorce]

In Germany — whaur the racoon is cried the Waschbär (literally, "wash-beir" or "washin beir") due tae its habit o "slockin" fuid in watter—twa pairs o pet raccoons wis released intae the German countryside at the Edersee reservoir in the north o Hesse in Aprile 1934 bi a forester upon request o thair ainer, a poutrie farmer.[131] He released them twa week afore receivin permission frae the Prussian huntin office tae "enrich the fauna." [132] Several prior attempts tae introduce raccoons in Germany wisnae sonsie.[133] A seicont population wis established in eastren Germany in 1945 whan 25 raccoons escaped frae a fur ferm at Wolfshagen, east o Berlin, efter an air strike. The twa populations is parasitologically distinguishable: 70% o the raccoons o the Hessian population is infectit wi the roundworm Baylisascaris procyonis, but nane o the Brandenburgian population haes the parasite.[134] The estimatit nummer o raccoons wis 285 ainimals in the Hessian region in 1956, ower 20,000 ainimals in the Hessian region in 1970 an atween 200,000 an 400,000 ainimals in the hale o Germany in 2008.[103][135] Bi 2012 it wis estimate that Germany nou haed mair nor a million raccoons.[136]

The raccoon wis a pertected species in Germany, but haes been declared a game animal in 14 states syne 1954.[137] Hunters an environmentalists argue the raccoon spreads uncontrollably, threatens pertectit bird species an supersedes domestic carnivorans.[23] This view is opposed bi the zoologist Frank-Uwe Michler, wha fins nae evidence a heich population density o raccoons haes negative effects on the biodiversity o an aurie.[23] Hohmann argues that extensive huntin canna be juistifee'd bi the absence o naitural predators, acause predation isnae a significant cause o daith in the North American raccoon population.[138]

Distribution in the former USSR[eedit | eedit soorce]

Experiments in acclimatising raccoons intae the USSR began in 1936, an wis repeatit a faur 25 times til 1962. Oweraw, 1,222 individuals war released, 64 o whilk came frae zoos an fur farms (38 o them haein been imports frae wastren Europe). The remainder originatit frae a population established aforehaun in Transcaucasia. The range o Soviet raccoons wis never single or continuous, as thay war aften introduced tae different locations far frae ilkane ither. Aw introductions intae the Roushie Far East failed; melanistic raccoons wis released on Petrov Island near Vladivostok an some auries o soothren Primorsky Krai, but dee'd. In Middle Asia, raccoons wis released in Kyrgyzstan's Jalal-Abad Province, tho thay war later recorded as "practically absent" thare in Januar 1963. A lairge an stable raccoon population (yieldin 1000–1500 catches a year) wis established in Azerbaijan efter an introduction tae the area in 1937. Raccoons apparently survived an introduction near Terek, alang the Sulak River intae the Dagestani lowlands. Attempts tae settle raccoons on the Kuban River's left tributary an Kabardino-Balkarie wis wansonsie. A sonsie acclimatisation occurred in Belarus, whaur three introductions (consistin o 52, 37 an 38 individuals in 1954 an 1958) teuk place. Bi Januar 1, 1963, 700 individuals wis recordit in the kintra.[139]

Urban raccoons[eedit | eedit soorce]

On the ruif o a hoose in Albertshausen, Germany

Due tae its adaptability, the raccoon haes can uise urban areas as a habitat. The first sichtins wis recorded in a suburb o Cincinnati in the 1920s. Syne the 1950s, raccoons hae been present in metropolitan areas lik Washington, DC, Chicago, an Toronto.[140] Syne the 1960s, Kassel haes hosted Europe's first an densest population in a lairge urban area, wi aboot 50 tae 150 ainimals per square kilometer (130 tae 390 ainimals per square mile), a figure comparable tae thae o urban habitats in North Americae.[140][141] Hame range sizes o urban raccoons is anly 3 tae 40 hectare (7.5 tae 100 acre) for females an 8 tae 80 hectare (20 tae 200 acre) for males.[142] In smaw touns an suburbs, mony raccoons sleep in a naurhaun wid efter foragin in the dounset aurie.[140][143] Fruit an insects in gairdens an leftowers in municipal waste is easy available fuid soorces.[144] Mair atouer, a lairge nummer o addeetional sleepin auries exist in thir auries, likesuc as howes in auld gairden trees, cots, garages, abandoned houses, an attics. The percentage o urban raccoons sleepin in abandoned or occupied houses varies frae 15% in Washington, DC (1991) tae 43% in Kassel (2003).[145]

Health[eedit | eedit soorce]

Raccoon roundworm Baylisascaris procyonis larvae

Raccoons can cairry rabies, a lethal disease caused bi the neurotropic rabies virus cairried in the slaver an transmittit bi bites. Its spread began in Florida an Georgie in the 1950s an wis facilitated bi the introduction o infectit individuals tae Virginie an North Dakota in the late 1970s.[146] O the 6,940 documentit rabies cases reportit in the United States in 2006, 2,615 (37.7%) wis in raccoons.[147] The U.S. Depairtment o Agricultur, as weel as local authorities in several U.S. states an Canadian provinces, haes developit oral vaccination programs tae fecht the spread o the disease in endangered populations.[148][149][150] Anly ae human fatality haes been reportit efter transmission o the rabies virus strain commonly kent as "raccoon rabies".[151] Amang the main symptoms for rabies in raccoons are a generally sickly appearance, impaired mobility, abnormal vocalisation, an aggressiveness.[152] Thare mey be nae visible signs ava, housomiver, an maist individuals disnae shaw the aggressive behaviour seen in infectit canids; rabid raccoons will aften retire tae thair dens insteid.[23][134][152] Organisations lik the U.S. Forest Service encourage fowk tae stey awa frae ainimals wi unuisual behaviour or appearance, an tae notify the proper authorities, lik an animal control officer frae the local health department.[153][154] Syne healthy ainimals, especially nouricin mothers, will occasionally forage in the daytime, daylicht activity isnae a reliable indicator o ailin in raccoons.[64]

Unalik rabies an at least a dozen ither pathogens cairried bi raccoons, distemper, an epizootic virus, disnae affect humans.[155] This disease is the maist frequent naitural cause o daith in the North American raccoon population an affects individuals o aw age groups.[103] For insaumple, 94 o 145 raccoons dee'd in an outbreak in Clifton, Ohio, in 1968.[156] It mey occur alang wi a follaein inflammation o the harn (encephalitis), causin the ainimal tae display rabies-lik symptoms.[146] In Germany, the first aicht cases o distemper war reportit in 2007.[103]

Some o the maist important bacterial diseases whilk affect raccoons is leptospirosis, listeriosis, tetanus, an tularemia. Tho internal parasites waiken thair immune systems, weel-fed individuals can cairry a fair feck o roundworms in thair digestive tracts wioot shawin symptoms.[157] The larvae o the Baylisascaris procyonis roundworm, whilk can be conteened in the feces an seldom causes a severe ailin in humans, can be ingestit whan cleanin raccoon latrines wioot wearing breathing pertection.[158]

While nae endemic, the Trichinella worm daes infect racoons,[159] an unnercuiked racoon meat haes caused trichinosis in humans.[160]

Raccoons and humans[eedit | eedit soorce]

Conflicts[eedit | eedit soorce]

A skunk an a Californie raccoon (P. s. psora) share cat food morsels in a Hollywood, Californie, back yard

The increasin nummer o raccoons in urban auries haes resultit in diverse reactions in humans, rangin frae outrage at thair presence tae deliberate feedin.[161] Some wildlife experts an maist public authorities caution against feedin wild ainimals acause thay micht acome increasingly obtrusive an dependent on humans as a fuid soorce.[162] Ither experts challenge sic arguments an gie advice on feedin raccoons an ither wildlife in thair beuks.[163][164] Raccoons wioot a fear o humans is a concern tae thaim that attribute this trait tae rabies, but scientists pyntin oot this behaviour is hantle liker eneuch tae be a behavioural adjustment tae steyin in habitats wi regular contact wi humans for mony generations.[165] Raccoons uisually disnae prey on domestic cats an dugs, but individual cases o killins haes been reportit.[166]

A Florida raccoon (P. l. elucus) in the Florida Everglades approaches a group o humans, hopin tae be fed.

While owerturned waste conteeners an raided fruit trees is juist a nuisance tae hameawners, it can cost several thoosand dollars tae repair damage caused bi the uise o attic space as dens.[167] Relocatin or killin raccoons wioot a permit is forbidden in mony urban auries on grunds o animal welfare. Thir methods uisually anly solve problems wi parteecularly wild or aggressive individuals, acause adequate dens is aither kent tae several raccoons or will swith be rediskivert.[154][168] Loud noises, flashin lichts an unpleasant odors haes pruiven parteecularly effective in drivin awa a mither an her kits afore thay wad normally leave the nestin place (whan the kits is aboot aicht week auld).[154][169] teepically, tho, anly precautionary measures tae restrict access tae fuid waste an den sites is effective in the lang term.[154][170]

Amang aw fruits an craps cultivate in agricultural auries, sweet corn in its milk stage is parteecularly popular amang raccoons.[171] In a twa-year study bi Purdue University researchers, published in 2004, raccoons wis responsible for 87% o the damage tae corn plants.[172] Lik ither predators, raccoons sairchin for fuid can break intae poutrie houses tae feed on chickens, ducks, thair eggs, or feed.[154][173]

Acause raccoons in heich mortality auries hae a heicher rate o reproduction, extensive huntin mey nae solve problems wi raccoon populations. Aulder males claim lairger hame ranges nor younger ones an aa, resultin in a lawer population density.

Meethology, airts, an entertainment[eedit | eedit soorce]

Stylised raccoon skin as depictit on the Raccoon Priests Gorget foond at Spiro Mounds

In the meethology o the indigenous fowks o the Americas, the raccoon wis the subject o folk tales.[174] Stories lik "Hou raccoons catch sae mony crayfish" frae the Tuscarora centered on its skills at foragin.[175] In ither tales, the raccoon played the role o the trickster whilk outsmarts ither ainimals, lik coyotes an woufs.[176] Amang ithers, the Dakota Sioux believe the raccoon haes naitural spirit pouers, acause its mask resembled the facial pentins, twa-fingered swashes o black an white, uised in rituals tae connect tae spirit beins.[177] The Aztecs linkit supernaitural abilities inspecially tae females, whase commitment tae thair young wis associate wi the role o wise weemen in thair society.[178]

The raccoon appears in Native American airt athort a wide geographic range an aa. Petroglyphs wi engraved raccoon tracks wis foond in Lewis Canyon, Texas;[179] at the Crow Hollow petroglyph site in Grayson County, Kentucky;[180] an in river drainages near Tularosa, New Mexico an San Francisco, Californie.[181] A true-tae-detail figurine made o quartz, the Ohio Mound Builders' Stone Pipe, wis foond near the Scioto River. The meanin an signeeficance o the Raccoon Priests Gorget, whilk features a stylized cairvin o a raccoon an wis foond at the Spiro Mounds, Oklahoma, remains unkent.[182][183]

In Western cultur, several autobiographical novels aboot livin wi a raccoon hae been written, maistly for children. The best-kent is Sterling North's Rascal, whilk recounts hou he raised a kit in Warld War I. In recent years, anthropomorphic raccoons played main roles in the animatit televeesion series The Raccoons, the computer-animatit film Over the Hedge, the live action film Guardians of the Galaxy an the video gemme series Sly Cooper.

Coonskin cap

Huntin an fur trade[eedit | eedit soorce]

The fur o raccoons is uised for claedin, inspecially for coats an coonskin caps. At present, it is the material uised for the inaccurately named "sealskin" cap worn bi the Royal Fusiliers o Great Breetain.[184] Historically, Native American tribes nae anly uised the fur for winter claedin, but uised the tails for ornament an aa.[185] The famous Sioux leader Spotted Tail teuk his name frae a raccoon skin hat wi the tail attached he acquired frae a fur trader. Syne the late 18t century, various teeps o scent hoonds, cried "coonhounds", whilk can chase ainimals up trees haes been bred in the United States.[186] In the 19t century, whan coonskins occasionally even sert as means o payment, several thoosand raccoon wis killt ilka year in the United States.[187] This nummer rose quick whan caur jaikets became popular efter the turn o the 20t century. In the 1920s, wearing a raccoon coat wis regarded as status symbol amang college students.[188] Attempts tae breed raccoons in fur farms in the 1920s an 1930s in North Americae an Europe turned oot nae tae be profitable, an fermin wis abandoned efter prices for lang-haired pelts drappit in the 1940s.[189][190] Awtho raccoons haed acome rare in the 1930s, at least 388,000 war killed during the huntin saison o 1934/35.[191]

Automobile coat made oot o raccoon fur (1906, U.S.)

Efter persistent population increases began in the 1940s, the seasonal hunt reached aboot ane million ainimals in 1946/47 an twa million in 1962/63.[192] The broadcast o three televeesion episode aboot the frontiersman Davy Crockett an the film Davy Crockett, King of the Wild Frontier in 1954 an 1955 led tae a heich demand for coonskin caps in the United States, tho it isnae lik eneuch aither Crockett or the actor wha played him, Fess Parker, actually wore a cap made frae raccoon fur.[193] The seasonal hunt reached an aw-time heich wi 5.2 million ainimals in 1976/77 an ranged atween 3.2 an 4.7 million for maist o the 1980s. In 1982, the average pelt price wis $20.[194] As o 1987, the raccoon wis identified as the maist important wild furbearer in North Americae in terms o revenue.[195] In the first hauf o the 1990s, the seasonal hunt dropped tae 0.9 frae 1.9 million due tae decreasing pelt prices.[196]

While primarily huntit for thair fur, raccoons wis a soorce o fuid for Native Americans an early American settlers an aa.[197] Accordin tae Ernest Thompson Seton, young specimens killt wioot a fecht is palatable, whauras auld raccoons caught efter a lenthy battle is inedible.[198] Raccoon meat wis extensively etten in the early years o Californie, whaur it wis sellt in the San Francisco mercat for $1–3 apiece.[199] American slaves occasionally ett raccoon at Christmas, but it wisnae necessar a dish o the puir or rural. The first edition o The Joy of Cooking, released in 1931, conteened a recipe for preparin raccoon, an US Preses Calvin Coolidge's pet raccoon Rebecca wis oreeginally sent tae be sert at the White House Thanksgiving Dinner.[200][201][202] Awtho the idea o eatin raccoons seems repulsive tae maist mainstream consumers acause thay see them as endearin, cute, an/or varmints, several thoosand raccoon is still etten ilka year in the Unitit States.[203][204][205][206]

Pen wi climbin facilities, hidin places an a watterin hole (on the lawer left side)

Pet raccoons[eedit | eedit soorce]

Raccoons are whiles kept as pets, whilk is discouraged bi mony experts acause the raccoon isnae a domesticatit species. Raccoons mey act unpredictable an aggressive an it is uisually impossible tae teach them tae obey commaunds.[207] In places whaur keepin raccoons as pets isnae forbidden, lik in Wisconsin an ither U.S. states, an exotic pet permit mey be required.[208][209]

Thair propensity for unruly behaviour exceeds that o captive skunks, an is even less trustworthy whan alloued tae roam free. Acause o thair intelligence an nimble forelimbs, even inexperienced raccoons can easy unscrew jaurs, uncork bottles an open door latches, wi mair experienced specimens haein been recordit tae open duir knobs.[47] Sexually mature raccoons aften shaw aggressive naitural behaviours lik bitin in the matein saison.[210] Neutering them at aroond five or sax month o age decreases the chances o aggressive behaviour developin.[211] Raccoons can acome obese an suffer frae ither disorders due tae puir diet an lack o exercise.[212] Whan fed wi cat food ower a lang time period, raccoons can develop goot.[213] Wi respect tae the research results regardin thair social behaviour, it is nou required bi law in Austria an Germany tae keep at least twa individuals tae prevent laneliness.[214][215] Raccoons is uisually kept in a pen (indoor or outdoor), a legal requirement in Austria an Germany an aa, raither than in the flat whaur thair naitural curiosity mey result in damage tae property.[214][215][216]

Whan orphant, kits can be rehabilitate an reintroduced intae the wild. Housomiver, it is uncertain whether thay readapt weel tae life in the wild.[217] Feedin unweaned kits wi cou's milk raither than a kitten replacement milk or a seemilar product can be dangerous tae thair health.[218]

Notes[eedit | eedit soorce]

  1. "Fossilworks: Procyon lotor". Archived frae the original on 9 Februar 2019. Retrieved 13 Julie 2019.
  2. Timm, R.; Cuarón, A.D.; Reid, F.; Helgen, K.; González-Maya, J.F. (2016). "Procyon lotor". IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. 2016: e.T41686A45216638. doi:10.2305/IUCN.UK.2016-1.RLTS.T41686A45216638.en. Archived frae the original on 13 Apryle 2019. Retrieved 24 November 2016.
  3. a b c Hohmann, pp. 71–72
  4. MacClintock, p. 5
  5. Ither attestit colonial spellins o the Powhatan wird include: racone, arrathcune, arathcoon, aroucoun, arathkone an rahaughcun. Journal o the Illinois State Historical Society, Vol 55, p. 400.
  6. Holmgren, Virginia C. (1990). Raccoons: In Folklore, History & Today's Backyards. Capra Pres. p. 157.
  7. Holmgren, p. 52
  8. Holmgren, pp. 47–67
  9. Holmgren, pp. 64–67; Zeveloff, pp. 4–6
  10. Holmgren, pp. 68–69; Zeveloff, p. 6
  11. Hohmann, p. 44; Holmgren, p. 68
  12. Hohmann, p. 77; Lagoni-Hansen, p. 15; Zeveloff, p. 58
  13. Lagoni-Hansen, p. 16
  14. Zeveloff, pp. 58–59
  15. Lagoni-Hansen, p. 18
  16. Hohmann, p.47–48; MacClintock, p. 44; Zeveloff, p. 108
  17. MacClintock, p. 8; Zeveloff, p. 59
  18. Boitani, Luigi, Simon & Schuster's Guide to Mammals. Simon & Schuster/Touchstone Books (1984), ISBN 978-0-671-42805-1
  19. Bartussek, p.6; Zeveloff, p. 61
  20. Hohmann, pp. 65–66
  21. a b MacClintock, pp. 5–6; Zeveloff, p. 63
  22. a b Zeveloff, p. 60
  23. a b c d Michler, Frank-Uwe; Köhnemann, Berit A. (Mey 2008). "Ökologische und ökonomische Bedeutung des Waschbären in Mitteleuropa – Eine Stellungnahme". "Projekt Waschbär" (in German). Archived frae the original on 12 Mey 2012. Retrieved 7 December 2008.
  24. Hohmann, p. 57; Zeveloff, p. 71–72
  25. Hohmann, p. 93; Zeveloff, p. 72
  26. MacClintock, p. 28
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  29. MacClintock, p. 30; Zeveloff, p. 72
  30. MacClintock, p. 29; Zeveloff, p. 73
  31. Heptner & Sludskii 2002, pp. 1375–1376
  32. Zeveloff, p. 64
  33. Hohmann, p. 27; MacClintock, p. 84
  34. Hohmann, p. 66; MacClintock, p. 92; Zeveloff, p. 73
  35. Bartussek, p. 13; Hohmann, p. 55; Zeveloff, p. 70
  36. Hohmann, p. 55
  37. Hohmann, pp. 56–59; MacClintock, p. 15
  38. Zeveloff, p. 69
  39. Hohmann, p. 56
  40. Hohmann, p. 57; Zeveloff, p. 70
  41. MacClintock, p. 15; Zeveloff, p. 70
  42. Hohmann, pp. 60–62
  43. Hohmann, p. 63; MacClintock, p. 18; Zeveloff, p. 66
  44. Hohmann, pp. 63–65; MacClintock, pp. 18–21; Zeveloff, pp. 66–67
  45. Hohmann, pp. 67–70; MacClintock, p. 17; Zeveloff, pp. 68–69
  46. Hohmann, pp. 66, 72; Zeveloff, p. 68
  47. a b Merriam, C. H. (1884), The mammals o the Adirondack region, northeastern New York : with an introductory chapter treating o the location an boondaries o the region, its geological history, topography, climate, general features, botany, an faunal position, New York : Published by the author, pp. 91-95
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  51. Hohmann, pp. 133–155
  52. Bartussek, pp. 10–12; Hohmann, pp. 141–142
  53. Hohmann, pp. 152–154
  54. Bartussek, p. 12; Hohmann, p. 140
  55. Hohmann, pp. 124–126, 155
  56. Hohmann, p. 133
  57. Zeveloff, pp. 137–139
  58. MacClintock, p. 61
  59. MacClintock, pp. 60–61
  60. Zeveloff, pp. 137–138
  61. Zeveloff, pp. 68–69
  62. Hohmann, pp. 142–147
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  65. Hohmann, p. 82
  66. Zeveloff, p. 102
  67. Hohmann, pp. 85–88; MacClintock, pp. 44–45
  68. Hohmann, p. 83
  69. MacClintock, p. 44
  70. MacClintock, pp. 108–113
  71. Hohmann, p. 55; Zeveloff, p. 7
  72. Lagoni-Hansen, p. 41; MacClintock, pp. 56–57
  73. Holmgren, p. 70; Lagoni-Hansen, p. 41; MacClintock, p. 57; Zeveloff, p. 7
  74. a b MacClintock, p. 57
  75. Hohmann, pp. 44–45; Lagoni-Hansen, pp. 41–42; MacClintock, p. 57; Zeveloff, p. 7
  76. Holmgren, p. 22 (pro); Lagoni-Hansen, p. 41 (contra); MacClintock, p. 57 (contra)
  77. Hohmann, p. 150; MacClintock, p. 81; Zeveloff, p. 122
  78. Zeveloff, p. 122
  79. Hohmann, pp. 148–150; Lagoni-Hansen, p. 47; MacClintock, pp. 81–82
  80. Hohmann, pp. 150–151
  81. Hohmann, pp. 153–154
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  84. Hohmann, p. 131; Zeveloff, pp. 121, 126
  85. Lagoni-Hansen, p. 50; Zeveloff, p. 126
  86. Bartussek, p. 32; Zeveloff, p. 126
  87. Hohmann, p. 163; MacClintock, p. 82; Zeveloff, pp. 123–127
  88. Bartussek, p. 12; Hohmann, p. 111; MacClintock, p. 83
  89. Hohmann, pp. 114, 117; Zeveloff, p. 127
  90. Zeveloff, p. 127
  91. Hohmann, p. 117
  92. Hohmann, p. 119; MacClintock, pp. 94–95
  93. Zeveloff, p. 129
  94. Hohmann, pp. 126–127. Zeveloff, p. 130
  95. Hohmann, p. 130; Zeveloff, pp. 132–133
  96. Hohmann, p. 128; Zeveloff, p. 133
  97. Zeveloff, p. 130
  98. Bartussek, p. 6
  99. Zeveloff, pp. 118–119
  100. Hohmann, p. 163; Zeveloff, p. 119
  101. Hohmann, p. 163
  102. MacClintock, p. 73
  103. a b c d Michler, Frank-Uwe; Köhnemann, Berit A. (Juin 2008). "Erste Ergebnisse". "Projekt Waschbär" (in German). Archived frae the original on 14 Februar 2009. Retrieved 7 December 2008.
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  105. Heptner & Sludskii 2002, p. 1390
  106. Zeveloff, pp. 111–112
  107. Hohmann, pp. 93–94; Zeveloff, p. 93
  108. Hohmann, p. 94
  109. Hohmann, pp. 97–101; Zeveloff, pp. 95–96
  110. Hohmann, p. 98
  111. Hohmann, p. 160; Zeveloff, p. 98
  112. Hohmann, p. 160; Zeveloff, p. 97
  113. Hohmann, pp. 12, 46; Zeveloff, pp. 75, 88
  114. Holmgren, p. 58
  115. Holmgren, pp. 58–59
  116. Zeveloff, pp. 42–45
  117. Zeveloff, p. 77
  118. Zeveloff, p. 78
  119. Zeveloff, p. 75
  120. Zeveloff, p. 76
  121. Zeveloff, pp. 75–76
  122. Zeveloff, pp. 76–78
  123. Lagoni-Hansen, pp. 89–90
  124. Hohmann, p. 13
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  132. Hohmann, p. 10
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  135. Hohmann, p. 11
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  141. Hohmann, p. 108
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