Intelligent, omnivorous, and highly adaptable, the raccoon originated in North America and now is found in Europe, the Caucasus, and Japan. The mammal is known for its mask-like facial markings and dexterous hands, here holding a jar of pilfered peanut butter. Pam Royal/Zuma Press/Newscom/File
A family of young raccoons perches on a garage in Toronto in 2009. The Canadian city has become known as the raccoon capital of the world, much to the chagrin of its human residents. One man was arrested for allegedly hitting a baby raccoon with a shovel. Zuma Press/Newscom/File
Raccoons in San Francisco gather outside a city bus in anticipation of a meal in 2009. Zuma Press/Newscom/File
Renald Ferland, a Quebec trapper, shows a captured raccoon during his daily rounds with Operation Raccoon in Saint Angele de Manoir, Quebec, in 2007 as part of an effort by the Quebec government to trap and vaccinate raccoons south of Montreal. Peter McCabe/AFP/Getty Images/Newscom/File
Sioux Falls animal control officer Jennifer Trotter releases a raccoon near Great Bear Recreation Park that she caught in Sioux Falls, S.D., on April 14. Elisha Page/Argus Leader/AP
Dawn Ladd is licensed by the state of Florida to care for small wild animals that are permanently injured and can't be returned to the wild. She has raccoons, foxes, and other critters. Here, a raccoon that can't be returned to the wild likes to lie on its back in its cage. Jim Damaske/Zuma Press/Newscom/File
A baby raccoon is fed at a breeding station in Frankfurt on April 18. Police found six two-week-old raccoons in a fireplace in a house in Frankfurt. Alex Domanski/Reuters/File
Raccoons come around when there are campers, or picnickers, or their trash left behind. Here, a very bold raccoon approaches a family as they eat their meal at a Fort De Soto, Fla. campsite. Pam Royal/Zuma Press/Newscom/File
A raccoon scurries away. Their top speed over short distances is 10 to 15 mph, and they can swim with an average speed of about 3 mph and are able to stay in the water for several hours. David Ponton/Design Pics/Newscom/File
Of the 6,940 documented rabies cases reported in the United States in 2006, 2,615 (37.7%) were in raccoons. Only one human fatality has been reported after transmission of the rabies virus from a raccoon. John Pitcher/Design Pics/Newscom/File
The Democrat Party, which lost the last election, is resigning its seats in protest at an "illegitimate" government. Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra said she was ready to hold a snap election.
Todd Pitman, Associated Press /
December 8, 2013
Thailand's main opposition party resigned from Parliament on Sunday to protest what it called "the illegitimacy" of an elected government with which it can no longer work. The move deepens the country's latest political crisis one day before new street demonstrations that many fear could turn violent.