The List: Ranking raccoons from worst to best

Joel Oliphint
Columbus Alive
A whimsical raccoon drawing the writer purchased from an artist at a European market a few years ago, and which lately feels less whimsical and more mocking.

I have a raccoon problem at my house. They have recently made themselves at home in a nice, dry section of the overhanging portion of our porch roof. From time to time, particularly when I’m grilling and the smoke drifts upward, a raccoon will come down out of his/her comfy home and say hello. And by saying “hello” I mean it scrambles down a post, sometimes peeing on itself, while my dog barks and I run after it with the largest nearby object I can find.  

While this scenario seems like it might permanently scar a raccoon, the little critter finds its way right back to the same spot the next day, venturing out mostly at night to root through the trash and tell all of its raccoon friends about this great new spot on my porch. Sometimes I hear it crawling on the roof at night.

Despite all this, my wife thinks it’s kind of cute when the raccoon pokes its head out from the rafters to watch us grill chicken breasts. 

This week I called in the professionals to help take care of my raccoon problem (this job doesn’t allow copious free time for me to take on the role of rogue raccoon hunter, nor would that probably end well). So it seemed like a good week to rank raccoons from worst to best. And even if it’s not a good idea, my one co-worker is out of the office this week, so... 

The stupid raccoon(s) in my porch rafters 

See above

Roni the Raccoon

No way did you know or remember that this was the mascot of the 1980 Winter Olympics.

Maynard from "Paw Patrol"

"Paw Patrol" is just one step above "Caillou."

Meeko from "Pocahontas"

This raccoon from the animated Disney movie is supposed to provide comic relief, but not even kids latched on to this character.

Rocky Raccoon

The titular character in this Beatles song has a gun, which I would prefer not to introduce into most scenarios. 

Rascal

While I would like to avoid any juvenile raccoons at my house, I can see how raising a baby raccoon as a boy in rural Wisconsin would be a trip, which is the setting for this 1963 Sterling North children's book, and which Disney later made into a movie.

Ranger Rick

I always looked forward to getting this magazine in the mail as a kid.

Rocket Raccoon

True, this Guardians of the Galaxy character also has guns, but he's way funnier than Rocky.

The stars of "Coons! Night of the Bandits of the Night" and "Killer Raccoons! 2! Dark Christmas in the Dark!"

As I've learned from my recent run-ins with raccoons, they can be more sinister than they initially appear, so local filmmaker/comedian Travis Irvine has the right idea. Alive editor Andy Downing got up close and personal with the deceased, furry stars of Irvine's two "Killer Raccoons" movies back in 2017:

"Wrapped in plastic shopping bags, the critters initially resembled a row of frozen turkeys, a placid visual that quickly dissipated as Irvine unsealed the bags, revealing a team of mangy, matted raccoons, each curled in the fetal position, mouth at a grimace. Most had a paw raised to the eyes, as if shielding themselves from bright sun. “This is what they look like when they know they’re going to die,” he said.

Maybe it's morbid, but that description brings me a lot of comfort this week.