um, WRONG, ken jennings! (bet you kind of got used to hearing that, eh?) i'm here to tell you, and all the other people who were all "ooh, ooh, computers are so creepy and smart and they're going to take over the world, ooh, ooh" that there is something out there even CREEPIER and SMARTER and MORE LIKELY TO TAKE OVER THE WORLD. it's raccoons.
your new raccoon overlords, everyone
i'm guessing some of you don't believe me. some of you might be sitting all snug in your houses, thinking "that amy, she is totally wack, yo. those little guys couldn't be more adorable." well, my friend, let me tell you something. while you are sitting there on your couch watching the biggest loser or whatever the hell you're doing, that "adorable little guy" is SNEAKING INTO YOUR KITCHEN AND EATING ALL YOUR GOD DAMN FOOD. i know, i know, you're like "whatever, amy, you have a demonstrated history of raccoon-related issues. i do not trust you." well, now you don't have to trust me, you can trust DAVID FUCKING SUZUKI, because he devoted a whole episode of the nature of things to raccoons and their rapidly-growing evil empire. if you didn't happen to catch it last thursday, here's what you missed. DON'T SAY I DIDN'T WARN YOU.
- they can taste with their hands - people used to think that raccoons washed their food before they ate it. not so! they soak their hands in water because it makes them even more sensitive than they already are. according to scientists, it allows them to act "just like taste buds" so that the foraging raccoon can seek out food with their hands and free up their other senses for other things. like drafting plans to take over the world.
- they infiltrate countries with their adorableness - consider japan: raccoons used their adorableness (via a cartoon raccoon named "rocky") to manipulate thousands of japanese to import raccoons, which are not native to their country, to keep as pets. EVEN SCARIER, the raccoons (who clearly run the entire japanese animation industry) then made an episode of the cartoon in which rocky's family releases him into the wild, prompting the japanese pet raccoon owners to release thousands of raccoons into the wilderness of japan. IT'S DOWNRIGHT DIABOLICAL, YOU GUYS! like, literally, because after that the raccoons proceeded to systematically destroy an entire nation's worth of buddhist monasteries WITH THEIR FECES. "our monasteries have stood for thousands of years," one very sad monk said. "but once the raccoons came, it was all over."
- even german engineering can't stop them - there's a town in germany that has over 100 raccoons per square kilometer. the people in the town discovered that one way the raccoons were getting around was by climbing up drain pipes, so they developed this little drain pipe obstacle thingie that was supposed to stop the raccoons from climbing up. but in like a day the raccoons had figured out how to get around it. nice work, germans. i could have told you that. one time this raccoon kept trying to eat out of my dad's birdfeeder and so he stuck a roasting pan halfway up the pole. the raccoon basically laughed at him, climbed over the roasting pan, and ate all the birdseed. i'm not saying my dad's smarter than a nation of germans, but come on. at least you could have tried to run them over with a volkswagon or something.
- they can collapse their spines - i don't even know what that means! but i'm pretty sure if i collapsed my spine, i would die. advantage: racccoons.
- they are built like sumo wrestlers - apparently this means they have a low centre of gravity, and therefore they can push over objects that are several times their body weight. like garbage cans. or ME.
- they're omnivorous - this gives them an advantage because they can live anywhere because they can eat anything. and the last time i checked, "anything" included MY FACE. also, it means they are able to identify things as food that other species are not. in fact, they said that after a while, a city raccoon might not be able to recognize an actual fish that didn't come from a can. kind of like some people i know.
- they spend up to a year with their mothers - there's a correlation between how long a species stays with its mom and how smart it is (although i can safely say that my own studies have shown that the same does not apply to humans). raccoons learn everything from their moms, including how to collapse their spines. WHATEVER THAT IS.
- raccoon roundworm - raccoon roundworm is a parasite that raccoons carry, but are not affected by. the eggs are airborne and nothing kills them. how can you say they're not taking over the world? THEY ARE ENGAGING IN FUCKING BIOLOGICAL WARFARE.
- they can figure out our patterns - according to scientists, raccoons can figure out things like when we go to bed and what night garbage night is. i mean, come on. cory can't even figure out what night garbage night is. those crazy scientists. they think they're studying the raccoons. did it even occur to them that, obviously, THE RACCOONS ARE STUDYING US?!
- they've developed a secret system of highways - not only have raccoons figured out that cars = death, they've figured out a way around it by developing what the show refers to as "a secret system of highways" that includes traveling along fences, rooftops, and whatever else in order to get where they're going. when they do have to cross a street, they actually look both ways. do you know how long it took me to start looking both ways? let's just say i nearly died in england because i was only looking one way. and it was the wrong way. fine. i'm not the most shining example of my species.
- we didn't move in on them, they moved in on us - people think that there are so many raccoons in cities (like toronto, which is apparently the "raccoon capital of the world" -- had i known that a few years ago, my life would have turned out very differently) because the cities encroached on the raccoon's natural habitat and they had no choice but to adapt. not so. raccoons are fucking tropical. and one day they got bored and came north, and they got to toronto and were like, "hey, guys, check this out! plenty of comfortable, affordable living space! quality selection of dining establishments! an abundance of entertainment options! this place is MINT" and they just settled right in like little masked urban hipsters. we didn't take over their habitat, you guys. THEY ARE TAKING OVER OURS.
- they enjoy overcoming challenges - you guys, i watched with my own eyes as raccoons unzipped tent flaps, unhooked bungee cords from green bins, unlocked doors, opened fridges, and pulled the tops off of tupperware. they like solving puzzles, and the more we try to stop them from getting into our shit, the more puzzles that gives them to solve, and the smarter they get. and newsflash, unlike with the human race, it's the smartest of the species that are the most prolific procreators. in the words of a real live honest raccoon scientist: "we may be building the uber-raccoon so i think that in a few generations we will have really, really smart raccoons, and then we're doomed. they're just going to take over." i just got chills, you guys. SERIOUSLY. we're fucking doomed.