"None of us had ever seen anything like these creatures. [...] They were black, white, and gray, with black around their eyes and white around their muzzles. They walk on four legs like we do, but they can stand on their hind paws like a Twoleg. And they can grip things like a Twoleg, with their front and back paws. Their ears are like ours, but they have short, pointed muzzles like a fox. They're very vicious."
Raccoons are medium sized,fox-like animals that currently live near SkyClanterritory. They originally were pets of Twolegs before they escaped and now live in the wild.
Raccoons are medium-sized mammals native to North America. Although originally from forests, they are adaptable to live in all sorts of environments, including mountains, marshes and urban areas. Although once thought solitary, they are now known to live in gender-specific groups and can share very large territories.
They are black, white and gray with black rings around their eyes and white around their short, pointed muzzles. Their claws are long and flexible, similar to Twoleg forepaws, and can grip with both forepaws and backpaws. They walk on four legs but can walk on their hind legs. Their ears are similar to those of cats.
They are usually nocturnal, but sometimes forage for food in the daytime. They eat both plants and animals, but only occasionally eat mammals and birds. It is possible for them to live for over twenty years in captivity, but most wild raccoons live no longer than three years due to hunting and monsters.
Relation to Clan cats
Raccoons attack Clancamps in groups and are very vicious fighters, presenting a huge danger for cats. They are capable of killing cats (Honeytail was killed and Leafstar lost a life) and fight with their claws and teeth. They are usually in groups but when caught alone, they still attack cats. They fight not as viciously though, and are susceptible to flee sooner.
When raccoons escape from their Twoleg captives, they live in the wild nearby SkyClan territory. Twolegs keep their kittypets shut in to keep them safe from the raccoons when they were loose. The raccoons attack SkyClan twice, and come in greater numbers the second time.
When the patrol from the quest to find ThunderClan returns to SkyClan unsuccessfully, they find the atmosphere in camp to be tense, with fewer cats around. The questing cats don't find Leafstar in her den, but as they continue down the trail to look for her, Hawkwing catches a whiff of a strange and familiar scent. He at first can't remember where he smelled it before, then recalls that it was the same scent that he and Ebonyclaw picked up on the border on the day Duskpaw died. Hawkwing wonders what happened, and if that animal was somehow involved. The young warrior is dismayed at realizing that he never reported the strange scent to Leafstar due to the fire and Duskpaw's death, and he guesses that his mentor hadn't reported it either.
The questing cats find Leafstar in the Echosong's den, where the medicine cat herself is injured. Leafstar and the questing cats leave the den to talk, and Leafstar explains that while they were on their journey, the camp was attacked by a group of animals. Blossomheart questions if they were badgers, but Leafstar confirms that it wasn't, and notes that none of them had ever seen anything like the creatures. She describes that they were black, white, and gray, with black around their eyes and white around their muzzles. The Clan leader explains that they walked on four legs, but could stand on their hindpaws too, as well as grip things with their front and back paws. She goes on that they have ears similar to a cats', but have shortened, pointed muzzles like a fox. The tabby she-cat finishes with a shudder that they were very vicious. Waspwhisker asks if that was how Ebonyclaw was injured, and Leafstar confirms, adding that Harveymoon was injured too. Hawkwing notes that it must have been their scent that he and Ebonyclaw smelled on the day of the fire, but Leafstar reassures him that the black she-cat did report it, but it didn't make a difference, as they couldn't have prevented the attack. Pebblepaw questions where Harveymoon is, and Leafstar replies that he is with his Twolegs now, as most of the daylight warriors' Twolegs have been keeping them inside their dens since the strange animals moved in.
Leafstar goes on that Honeytail was killed in the attack too, and the Clan held a vigil for her. When the Clan leader learns about Billystorm's death, she asks StarClan why so many terrible things are happening to the Clan, including the strange animals who attacked, the failed quest, and the fire. The SkyClan leader calls a Clan meeting. During the meeting, Hawkwing accuses Darktail for giving false directions to the questing cats, but most of SkyClan defends the rogue's honor since he fought hard against the strange creatures. Darktail explains that these animals are called raccoons and they are sometimes kept as pets by Twolegs. Some managed to escape though and are now living wild.
Another quest is taken to attempt to find ThunderClan, but they fail again. When they return to the gorge, they notice the border scents are not fresh. They reach camp to discover SkyClan has again been attacked by raccoons, with more of them in numbers. They have also taken one of Leafstar's lives. It is noted that the scent of raccoon still remains, mingling with the smell of blood. There's also the fact that raccoons' marks of their teeth and claws are still on the SkyClan cats. Hawkwing thinks that SkyClan has enough trouble dealing with the raccoons and wonders how StarClan could expect them to follow the prophecy as well.
Leafstar adopts a new plan to keep the raccoons away. She makes patrols larger so the raccoons would not think there are not many cats left and they would be an easy target. Cloudmist notes it will be difficult but worth it if it keeps the raccoons away. Darktail's loyalty is questioned but Hawkwing defends him this time, reminding them of how hard he fought against the raccoons.
During patrol, Hawkwing is alert for any signs raccoons returning, but never meets any. Leafstar extends the SkyClan border and it is thought that it's because she wants to deter the raccoons. Hawkwing notices Darktail leaving Twoleg food over SkyClan territory and decides not to mention it because Leafstar and Sharpclaw are already stressed about the raccoons.
During another patrol, Waspwhisker tells the cats to duck and Hawkwing wonders if it's the raccoons again. It is only rogue cats though. When they report this back to camp, a cat mentions first they had to deal with raccoons, now rogues. Some cats want to attack the rogues but Firefern points out they lost their daylight-warriors due to the raccoons and aren't that strong now.
Hawkwing talks to Cherrytail, stressing the Clan will always be looking out for attacks, including from raccoons. The warrior starts to relax though since there has been no trace of raccoons or rogues for a while. However, Hawkwing is woken by noises and wonders if the raccoons have returned, but it is the rogues. He thinks that the rogues must have figured SkyClan is weaker since their daylight-warriors were shut in because of the raccoons.
SkyClan is driven out of the gorge and separated. Hawkwing, Pebblepaw, Echosong, Fidgetkit and Curlykit come across a raccoon and Hawkwing is amazed at it. He notes it's coloring and it's long curly claws, like Twoleg paws. He doesn't doubt how dangerous it is. As Echosong stares at it, the raccoon darts towards her, sinking its teeth into her shoulder. Hawkwing is hesitant to react since he never fought one before, questioning what raccoons can do and how they fight. Pebblepaw leaps at the raccoon, tearing at it's thick fur. The raccoon lets go before turning to Pebblepaw, ferociously hissing. It is barreled into by Hawkwing and lashed it at the muzzle. The raccoon grunts in pain before spinning around, scattering blood from their muzzle. It flees, disappearing into the undergrowth.
Pebblepaw mentions that the raccoon wasn't as vicious as they were when they attacked the gorge. Hawkwing suggests they are not as brave when they are alone, and it seemed surprised. He guesses that it probably accidentally came across them and was not looking for a fight. Hawkwing is still relieved the fight wasn't worse, and he and Pebblepaw weren't injured by the raccoon.
As Pebblepaw and Hawkwing hunt, the apprentice mentions to keep an eye out for raccoons. She adds that it is strange how they suddenly have appeared in the territory often, especially when they've never been seen before. Hawkwing remembers how Darktail scattered Twoleg food and thinks he did it to lure the raccoons into the territory. Pebblepaw says she saw Darktail leave half-eaten prey outside camp, probably to lure the raccoons to the gorge. After the rogues drive SkyClan out of the gorge, they shelter in Ebonyclaw's garden as she was let out since no kittypets have been attacked by the raccoons.
Several moons into SkyClan's journey to find ThunderClan, Hawkwing wants to stay behind to wait for Pebbleshine to return, since she was captured by Twolegs and put in a monster. Echosong reminds how he and Pebbleshine drove off the raccoon when it attacked her and the kits after the rogues drove them out of the gorge. After SkyClan has trouble with Twolegs at their new home beside a lake, Parsleyseed states at least Twolegs are better than raccoons since they are more predictable.