The Raccoon That Bit the President & Escaped the Secret Service

Title: This Raccoon Escaped the Secret Service & Lived in the White House. Here’s How 

Raccoons are fascinating, curious, cute little creatures famous for their unique ability to scavenge, climb, and thrive in our urban environments. 

These sneaky bandits are much more intelligent and unique than your typical wildlife that you’d find infesting a home or living out in the wild. 

To pay our respects to the cute raccoons, we’ll be sharing with you some highly unique raccoons stories & facts that you probably haven’t heard of before. 

Our highlight story includes the time a raccoon lived in the White House, escaped the Secret Service, and charmed the President of the United States of America. 

To watch the video version of this post complete with incredible raccoon footage, click HERE right now. 

To watch the audio-only podcast, click the download button above. 

But First: How Raccoons Got Their Names

Raccoons have some of the most dexterous hands in nature. They are capable of picking locks, opening doors, cupboards, trash cans, climbing, and other cool tricks. 

Our urban cities are like training grounds for these creatures. They are able to learn quickly, and combined with their hands, able to perform some impressive feats. 

Native Americans were the first to name the raccoons after their unique paws, calling these creatures “aroughcun,” which later turned into the English word “raccoon.” 

The direct translation of “aroughcun” (from Powhatan) means “animal that scratches with its hands.” 

The Aztecs down in South America were thinking in a similar line too. They named it “mapachitli,” which means "one who takes everything in its hands."

Little Bandits

Raccoons are also famous for the black stripe around their eyes, making them look like bandits or bank robbers. 

Given their unique ability to infest and steal food without detection (or with a hasty escape), equating them to such isn’t a bad comparison. 

However, nature didn’t give raccoons these black stripes to look like robbers. 

The black stripes help to absorb incoming light, reducing glare so that the raccoons can see more clearly, especially in the dark. This is an effect similar to that of the black sticker stripes under the eyes of athletes. 

Less peripheral light as a result of this black stripe allows raccoons to see better in the dark because they can then perceive contrast in objects that they are focusing on! 

While these black stripes weren’t intended to make them look like thieves, it does help raccoons see better especially in the dark, helping them to steal and invade urban human areas while we are asleep, so calling raccoons “little bandits” is still true! 

Many Varieties

There are six raccoon species native to North and South America. The most common and well known one is Procyon lotor, which is found in the United States. 

Other species can be found farther down South or inhabiting tropical islands that have evolved due to the separation. 

Adopting a Raccoon in the White House

In November 1926 a live raccoon was sent to the White House from Mississippi to be slaughtered for a Thanksgiving dinner for President Calvin Coolidge. 

Upon seeing the raccoon, President Coolidge decided instead to “pardon” the raccoon’s life and make it his pet! 

President Coolidge was a well-known animal lover, having received animals from all across the United States and even the world for his appreciation. 

The raccoon would soon accompany the President on walks around the White House in the evening.

However, all was not okay in the White House. The raccoon was famous for tearing things up, escaping people constantly, and one morning the President emerged with bandages on his wrist and the raccoon was banished to a Zoo. 

One week later Newspapers reported that the raccoon was back in the White House. 

While President Coolidge adored the creature, the raccoon constantly would escape even the Secret Service, and keeping the raccoon was a rather difficult and wasteful expenditure of time and money. 

Raccoons are notoriously curious creatures and do not normally develop attachments similar to that of cats and dogs with humans. 

Eventually the raccoon got to be truly too much, and was donated to the National Zoo, where it would spend the rest of its life. 

Secret Service vs. One Raccoon 

Even the Secret Service struggled with keeping a single raccoon (and a few other animals) under control inside of the White House. 

Dealing with wildlife and pests is a delicate and sometimes dangerous activity that should only be performed by professionals. 

We’ve learned a lot about the dangers of wildlife and pest infestation since 1926, one of the biggest concerns being rabies transmitted. 

While President Coolidge ended up okay, had the raccoon been a transmitter of rabies, he would’ve ended his presidential term quite early and arburtly. 

Besides disease other problems that can arise from pest infestation include damage to your home, reduction of air quality, and wasted time. 

If you think that you have a wildlife or pest related problem, we at Wildlife x Team International specialize in safe & responsible removal of wildlife & pests. 

We identify the problem, remove the animals safely, return them to the wild, undo the damage caused, and prevent the problem from happening again. 

Get a free inspection report now by calling 855-WILDLIFE or by visiting for more information. 

-Wildlife x Team International 

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