The raccoon, one of the Palmetto State’s most prolific animals, is a medium-sized mammal, valued for its lush fur and tough, dark meat. (Experts suggest that you boil coon first and then bake it for a “corned beef” effect).
According to Captain John Smith, the honky who poked Pocahontas, raccoon is a Powhatan word meaning “little guy who rubs, scrubs, and scratches with its hands.” In Coosawatchie, however, the word means “cat-dog,” and in Congaree lore the coon is the product of the unspeakable coupling of a cat and dog.
Due to its perverse origins, the raccoon wears a black bandit mask, appropriate attire for stalking a lizard or raiding human garbage for a rancid Big Mac. In many Native American legends, the trickster raccoon, favored by supernatural spirits, outmaneuvers dim-witted coyotes and wolves. And in Japanese lore, the shape-shifting tanuki possesses a pair of magical, outsized testicles, capable of inflation and deflation—multitasking big-balls that might also function as parachutes or hot-air balloons should the adventurous species find itself in a delicate situation (for a demonstration of the raccoon’s testicular awesomeness, check out the movie Pom Poco).
Not only does the animal have freaky paw-pads that become extra sensitive when wet, but male raccoons get literal boners. The coon baculum, or penis bone, is about four to five inches long (quite a package for a pint-sized critter!), is elegantly curved and features a barbed tip. AKA “Texas toothpicks,” these pecker bones can be used to dislodge a stubborn piece of gristle from between two molars or to cast a spell of love. A spurned lover might get some action by wearing a baculum amulet (dick bone on a string) or dangling a cluster of the phallic doodads from the rearview mirror of her truck. Moreover, a gambler down on his luck can turn the tables by “[wrapping] a coon dong in a ten dollar bill before going out to play cards” (lucky mojo). And you don’t have to kill a coon or scavenge road kill to get your hands on a miraculous tallywacker: for a mere four bucks, you can order yourself a baculum from the Lucky Mojo Curio Co. Occult Shop.
So why all the hype surrounding the sexuality of this common North American mammal? Raccoons, like many other beasts of the field, have mating seasons during which loosely organized males and females pair-bond temporarily to hump. In South Carolina, these furries get busy in January and February, hitting their peak around Valentine’s Day. The males have a pecker-order, competing for the best pieces of tail, while females in heat will cheat on their main squeezes. Not only does a typical shagging-session last for over an hour, but raccoon trysts often include foreplay: sniffing, biting, heavy petting and even oral sex. And finally, male raccoons are notorious Lotharios who will attempt to scromp domestic cats and dogs, perhaps harkening back to their mysterious inter-special origins.
Despite the smoking hot love antics of this delightful animal, it’s difficult to find detailed accounts of their coitus. While YouTube boasts a few naughty clips, we prefer this smoldering snippet of erotica from Howard J. Stains’ classic, The Raccoon in Kansas, State Biological Survey, 1956:
A pair of copulating raccoons was observed on February 26, 1954, at the Campbell Farm from 9:05 a.m. to 10:01 a.m. The morning was cloudy (five-tenths [i.e., half?] of sky covered), chilly (estimated to be between 35 and 40 F.), and with a breeze of approximately 15 miles per hour. A young female weighing approximately 10 pounds, and an older male weighing approximately 15 pounds, were in a small grove of saplings on the south bank of the Wakarusa River.
Shrill cries uttered by the female were heard first at 9:05 a.m.; the animals were seen first at 9:09 a.m. when the male, mounted on the female, was tightly holding her in a semi-crouched position with his forelegs immediately in front of her hind legs, and his hind feet were on the ground between hers. He was making rhythmic copulatory movements, consisting of a slow inward motion (requiring three or four seconds) in which he seemed to thrust his penis deeply into the female’s vagina, and a faster outward motion (less than one second) as the penis was withdrawn partway and at which time the male’s pelvis was elevated and the forepart of his body brought forward and downward. The penis is inserted in the vagina in such a way that the baculum is hooked over the pelvic bone of the female, probably assuring his position on the female [reference omitted]. At each of the quick withdrawing motions the female uttered a sharp rattling cry and often attempted to bite the male by turning her head upward. Her actions frequently caused the pair to lose their footing and fall, the male always holding his position.
At 9:17, the male ceased the thrusting movements, and at 9:19 he began jerking movements, from one side to the other, roughly pulling the hindquarters of the female with him, causing her to utter a short cry. This activity caused the pair to move in a circle with heads toward its center. The vigorous thrusting movements were resumed at 9:29, and at 9:42, the cries of the female diminished except for an occasional whimper. Copulatory movements ceased at 9:46, at which time the pair settled slowly to the ground. The forepart of the male was down with his head over the left side of the female and his hindquarters conspicuously high. Less than two minutes later, the male again was dragging the female in a space approximately ten feet in diameter. At 9:51, thrusting movements, slower than those previously noted, were resumed. The rate of these movements was soon doubled but this time the withdrawing motion of the male was less vigorous and the female was not crying out. These movements were interrupted three times by the male by short circular movements. At 10:01, the male suddenly slipped away from the female and ran rapidly southward. The female hesitated a few seconds, then slowly walked eastward, and entered a ground den.
–Posted by Randi Monkee
Editor’s Note: Naughty by Nature is a regularly appearing series by acclaimed South Carolina naturalist Randi Monkee. Check back often to see what other kinds of Palmetto State mischief Monkee’s uncovered in her constant exploration of our state’s abundant — and abundantly frisky! — wildlife.