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Smart-Looking Raccoon to Become an Animal Gang Leader in Yekaterinburg Prison Zoo

Some Russian prisons use animals to rehabilitate inmates. Recently, raccoon nicknamed Semyon was checked into the Yekaterinburg prison zoo. There are already animals living in there: Chinese alligator, aquarium fish, rabbits, parrots and turtles. According to inmates, the raccoon feels comfortable. He investigates corners, meets visitors and eats cookies and dried fruits off hands. Inmates jokingly consider the animal to become the next prison gang leader. Position is currently held by the alligator.







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    Zoologist Clinton Hart Merriam described raccoons as “clever beasts”, and that “in certain directions their cunning surpasses that of the fox.” The animal’s intelligence gave rise to the epithet “sly coon”.[103] Only a few studies have been undertaken to determine the mental abilities of raccoons, most of them based on the animal’s sense of touch. In a study by the ethologist H. B. Davis in 1908, raccoons were able to open 11 of 13 complex locks in fewer than 10 tries and had no problems repeating the action when the locks were rearranged or turned upside down. Davis concluded they understood the abstract principles of the locking mechanisms and their learning speed was equivalent to that of rhesus macaques.[104] Studies in 1963, 1973, 1975 and 1992 concentrated on raccoon memory showed they can remember the solutions to tasks for up to three years.[8] In a study by B. Pohl in 1992, raccoons were able to instantly differentiate between identical and different symbols three years after the short initial learning phase.[8] Stanislas Dehaene reports in his book The Number Sense raccoons can distinguish boxes containing two or four grapes from those containing three.[10
    Obviously an inside job awaits this fellow.

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