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Raccoons Are the Brightest People
ISBN 052518788X / 9780525187882 / 0-525-18788-X
Publisher E. P. Dutton & Co.
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From dust jacket notes: "...The author, who has spent half a century feeding, photographing and observing raccoons, has devoted the last three years to writing this fascinating book and selecting from thousands of photographs the stunning pictures which document his text. It is Sterling's well-founded belief that the raccoon is one of the most intelligent species below the anthropoidal apes. Their 'language' ranges from thirteen to twenty meaningful sounds. Forrestal Laboratory, after extensive tests, has discovered that the raccoon has the most acute sense of hearing of any North American mammal. They are music lovers and have individual preferences among the recordings to which they listen intently. They can see in the dark, have a keen nose and delicate palate, and the most sensitive and prehensile hands, able to open any door, drawer or cupboard that is not locked with a key. They use public drinking fountains and also turn on faucets and showers (but seldom turn them off). They pick pockets of coins as thin as a dime, pull in fish-stringers hand over hand to rob the catch, switch stations on TV sets, blow automobile horns when confined in a car, and working in tandem can screw lids from mason jars...." [via]