I just finished reading A Natural History of Raccoons by Dorcas MacCLINTOCK and ran across an interesting bit of trivia I thought I'd share. To quote:
An apparent all-time weight record is noted by Walter E. Scott in the Journal of Mammalogy. A very large male raccoon, shot in Wisconsin in November, 1950, weighed 62 pounds, 6 ounces on a platform scale and 59 pounds, 6 ounces on a hanging scale. Four feet, 7 inches long, this raccoon was so fat that the width across its back was just over 17 inches.
Pretty big, huh?
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A coon hunter bragged that his top dog was so good that all he had to do was to put a stretcher on the porch and the dog would go out and get one that fit that stretcher perfect! That worked just fine until one day his wife put the ironing board on the porch while she was cleaning the living room. They haven't seen the dog since!
I had one brought in about 5 years back that weighed 70 pounds on a bathroom scale. This coon had been "found" as a whelp and bottle raised and then lived on table food for 12 years before it went to wherever coons go. The lady had the hide tanned as a rug, but I recall what a disgusting mass of fat it was. Almost like a beaver. It's a shame I didn't know someone was keeping records and had it weighed on a certified scale.
Your coon matched the longest known recorded "wild" lifespan, one tagged in 1940 was shot in 1952; but for captive critters, the oldest was one that lived for 17 years and 1 month. Maybe this Journal of Mammology is like Ripley's is for humans?
The J of M, which many mammalogists refer to it, is the main journal of the Society of American Mammalogist, and together with Mammalia, are the two most respected Mammal Journals in the world. In the early years, the J of M was a fantastic journal from the laymans point of view - chocked full of all sorts of cool natural history studies on distribution, reproduction, preparation techniques, sizes of Raccoons, etc. Nowadays, it has taken on a totally different direction, as did the basic bird journals, herp journals, etc. with topics like:
MOLECULAR PHYLOGENETICS OF THE NEOTOMA ALBIGULA SPECIES GROUP: FURTHER EVIDENCE OF A PARAPHYLETIC ASSEMBLAGE
NUCLEAR INTRON SEQUENCES FOR PHYLOGENETICS OF CLOSELY RELATED MAMMALS: AN EXAMPLE USING THE PHYLOGENY OF MUS
EVALUATING MONOPHYLY OF NATALOIDEA (CHIROPTERA) WITH MITOCHONDRIAL DNA SEQUENCES
SOURCES OF PROTEIN IN TWO SPECIES OF PHYTOPHAGOUS BATS IN A SEASONAL DRY FOREST: EVIDENCE FROM STABLE-ISOTOPE ANALYSIS
The concepts are hard to wrap your mind around, even with a recent degree, let alone someone who graduated 20 years ago. The J of M should be available in any College Library or big city Library system. If you search on Google and type in Journal of Mammalogy the computer will send you to the site where you can read these cool titles above in the current contents. Personally, I'm waiting till they come out in the paperback condenced version.
Uh...thanks for the warning Stephen, I'll be sure to check out the EARLIER editions when I visit our library. Those titles gave me a nasty flashback to one of my college courses call the Animal Kingdom, which I thought was going to be similiar to WILD kingdom (anyone remember watching that and the wonderful world of Disney on Sunday nights?..man, I LIVED for Sunday nights as a kid) Anyway the only animals I studied in the class were these one-celled critters with names longer than they were...I still have bad memories of hammering phylum, class,family and order into a left-side brain...but I still pulled an A- on the course (lol) These days I'm more inclined to remember Doug's funny story.