I had been meaning to send out another letter about animals, as those are usually pretty popular (the kids tend to tell me what they already knew about the animal, and ask to learn about more!) As I was looking through the kids' non-fiction section at work this week, I found a few older books about raccoons that really needed to be weeded out of our collection due to condition, and before they went to the book recycler, I read through them and put together this letter! I thought it would be nice to share about an animal that is common where I live, but may be unknown to the kids. All the info just came straight from two non-fiction books, and I added a page of photos and a cute coloring page. That is probably my favorite thing about Compassion's new letter-writing system!
Feel free to copy and edit the text to send to your own sponsor kids!
Brandon and I really love animals, and we are always happy to learn more about God's creatures. I thought you might enjoy learning about an animal that is native to where we live, Kentucky. This animal is called the raccoon. Raccoons are mammals found throughout North America. They live in forests and grasslands from Canada to Panama. Some even live in cities! Most raccoons like to live near water. They build homes called dens. These are often in trees, logs, or unused burrows. Dens can also be in old abandoned buildings. Raccoons have grey or brown fur. They are known for their ringed tails and mask-like markings. They also have pointed noses, short ears, and short legs. Their front paws have long fingers with sharp claws. Raccoons use their paws to grip food. Raccoons will eat anything available: nuts and seeds, small animals and insects, eggs, and fruits and vegetables! They even sometimes steal from garbage cans! In the northern US and Canada, food can be hard to find in the winter months. Raccoons in these areas eat as much as they can during the summer and autumn. Then they sleep for much of the winter. Male raccoons are called boars. They are bigger than the females, which are called sows. Raccoons grow to be about 60-105 centimeters long. Most boars weigh between 3.6 and 10.4 kilograms. Their large size often keeps predators from attacking them. When danger is near, raccoons hiss, bark, and growl. Their sharp teeth also help fight off snakes, birds of prey, and other large animals. Female raccoons give birth to cubs in the spring or summer. Newborn raccoons are blind. Their eyes open after about three weeks. The mother stays near to protect her cubs. After two months, raccoon cubs leave the den. They search for food with their mother. They share her den for the next winter, then they are ready to live on their own! Raccoons are seen as pests in the USA because they like to dig through garbage and sometimes destroy parts of homes when seeking shelter during the winter. Raccoons can also carry a deadly disease called rabies, so it is important to avoid them in the wild, just in case they are sick. I think raccoons are very cute, though. When I was a kid, I wanted to keep one as a pet. My parents told me this would be a bad idea because wild animals belong in the wild, and raccoons can be very destructive and mischievous. They like to chew, dig, and scratch, so it would be a bad idea to keep one in a house!
I am sending you some photos of raccoons, and a fun coloring page! If there are other animals you would like to learn about, you can let me know!
Here's a photo of the letter that I sent out, along with a copy of the coloring page!