What animal washes its food?

The raccoon washes or soaks its food before eating, and it was the original “dunker.” It holds the food in its fore paws and shakes it in the water. The coon generally lives near a stream and much of its natural food consists of frogs, crawfish, stranded fish and similar creatures captured in shallow water. It is supposed that the raccoon acquired the habit of dunking or washing its food from the necessity of rinsing the mud and sand from its aquatic prey. If water is not at hand a coon will generally carry its food to the nearest water and [389] wash, it thoroughly. Some raccoons have been known to go hungry, rather than to eat food that they have not been permitted to dip in water. They are not willing to let somebody else do the dunking for them. This instinct is so strong that the animals will usually go through the motions of washing their food even when no water is accessible. Because of this habit the Germans called the raccoon Waschbaer (“wash bear”), and the second word in the scientific name of the raccoon, Procyon lotor, signifies “washer.” But in other respects this animal is not particularly characterized by cleanliness.