Trapper gets unusual catch: Junior high student catches golden blond raccoon

Wednesday, March 26, 2008
NICE CATCH: The animal is golden blond in color and doesn't have any of the normal raccoon markings on its body. The raccoon also has neon green colored eyes.

Young trapper Eric Nagy was amazed when he checked a live trap Easter Sunday morning on his papaw's farm, located west of Linton about two miles from Greene-Sullivan State Forest.

Inside the trap, the 14-year-old Linton-Stockton Junior High School seventh-grade student saw something that he wasn't quite sure what it was.

In fact, he nor his papaw Greg Lacy had ever seen such a critter.

It is about the size of a raccoon, but isn't the right color.

This animal has a coat that is golden blond in coloration.

It has the same body shape and paw configuration as a raccoon.

By Nick Schneider Eric Nagy, a Linton-Stockton Junior High seventh grader, poses with the caged unique raccoon he trapped west of Linton.

The hissing and very agitated animal doesn't have any visible rings on its tail and there is no dark "bandit's mask," which has enhanced the raccoon's reputation for mischief, vandalism, and thievery.

Perhaps its most unusual feature is its eye coloration of bright neon green -- when the sun strikes them in the right alignment. Other times they are purplish red.

Ironically, the live trap was baited with orange-colored peanut butter crackers.

"He (Eric) didn't know what it was. He was tickled to death," Eric's papaw recalled. "I hadn't seen anything like it in my life."

When Lacy first looked at the animal, he thought it was an opossum.

Lacy said he's showed the catch to several experienced trappers, and none of them had seen anything like it.

He also talked to officials with the Indiana Department of Conservation and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service trying to find out if the animal is a raccoon and how rare it really is.

DNR Conservation Officer Mike Gregg talked with Lacy about the animal, but believes it might be a variation of an albino raccoon.

"It's just a color phase. Sometimes there are albinism there could be a color one that just got off color," Gregg said. "It's probably actually an albino and the color of it might just be because they are coming out from denning. It might just be from being in the den (over the winter months)."

By Nick Schneider The adult raccoon has none of the usual "coon" markings like a mask and ringed tail.

Gregg noted that even an albino raccoon is rare.

"Usually they don't survive long because with their color they get picked off by things," he added.

Lacy was told by a Fish and Wildlife official that it is very rare to find a raccoon of this color -- maybe 1 in 100,000 raccoons.

The unusual raccoon will probably meet a fateful demise very soon unless someone is found who would be interested in placing it in a zoo-like facility, Lacy said Wednesday.

"I'll probably have it for another day or two and then I'm going to have to get rid of it," Lacy added.

The Greene County man has contacted an official with the Indianapolis Zoo thinking it might be nice to donate it there so "kids could see it."

But after he explained what kind of animal he had trapped, he was told they probably wouldn't be interested.

"They said they were full up and didn't have room," Lacy said with a perplexed laugh. "I told the lady this is a rare coon. It's not a black and white with gray coon."

The doubting zoo woman said, "I've never heard of such a thing."

He replied to her, "I've got one."

Lacy, who lives near the intersection of County Road 150N and County Road 1375W, said he's been trapping the coons on his farm since last year. The pesky animals were regularly munching on his ground swine feed, which is pretty expensive in these days of $5-plus per bushel corn.

A 100-pound bag of feed costs Lacy $10 or $11 dollars.

"Them things (the raccoons) are aggravating you know," Lacy said. "They have been just moving in on me.

"Last year they (the raccoons) started moving in on our hog feed. They'd be in the hog feeders. You go out there at night and there would be feed strung out of the feeders. I went out there one night and there are 12 holes in a hog feeder and there was a coon in every feeder hole. They were in there eating that feed. They can eat a lot of feed and feed is expensive right now with $5.50 per bushel corn."

Looking into the wire cage that contained the unusual catch, Lacy said with a big laugh, "It is pretty for a coon. I'll have to say that."

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  • Raccoon trapping season ended Jan. 31. However, the Gradfather is quoted as saying the Raccoon will meet a fateful demise soon in the paper. If he's worried about it eating his feed, drive it 10-15 miles and let it loose somewhere else.

    -- Posted by Vote4NewCouncil on Thu, Mar 27, 2008, at 7:15 AM
  • You are allowed to remove nuisance animals year round. It doesn't matter if it is in season. I still have a hard time believing he would kill a 1 in 100,000 animal though.

    -- Posted by Vote4NewCouncil on Thu, Mar 27, 2008, at 7:20 AM
  • Don't kill him! Take him somewhere and turn him loose. I'll take him if no one wants him. I have several racoons in my woods.

    -- Posted by Cher on Thu, Mar 27, 2008, at 9:51 AM
  • Yeah. How 'bout we don't kill it.

    -- Posted by FloydtheBarber on Thu, Mar 27, 2008, at 3:57 PM
  • There are MANY animal rescue places. I trust that you will look to place it with someone or some organization that won't take it's life. That action would be a very humane thing to do, and you would deserve a prizey. I can only imagine that killing animals would be a hard habit to break. Good luck lil' rare racoon. I'll pray for you.

    -- Posted by FloydtheBarber on Thu, Mar 27, 2008, at 4:01 PM
  • Why don't you keep it and charge people to come see it and make your money back, then everyones happy.

    -- Posted by Dtown on Thu, Mar 27, 2008, at 5:05 PM
  • It should be released somewhere, its a special Raccoon, I hope it isnt harmed ! Id like to photograph it.

    -- Posted by bluenosegoober on Sat, Mar 29, 2008, at 5:39 PM
  • Teach your grandchildren well. Don't kill the coon Lace.

    -- Posted by dorindaJ on Mon, Mar 31, 2008, at 3:19 PM
  • If you kill that innocent animal you and your grandson will live with that thought the rest of your life. What a shameful mistake that would be.

    -- Posted by dorkey1 on Wed, Apr 2, 2008, at 1:52 PM
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