The Atlantic

Kids, Go Catch a Raccoon

A decades-old book romanticizes a time when children were free to capture wild animals for pets.
Source: Jane Khomi / Getty

No one today could get away with publishing The Golden Book of Wild-Animal Pets. A popular children’s hardback throughout the 1960s, full of tips on the capture and care of snakes, skunks, hawks, prairie dogs, raccoons, and numerous other creatures, the book enthusiastically encourages kids to perform acts now deemed illegal under state and federal law. “The feathers of the baby screech owl are snow-white,” writes Roy Pinney, the book’s author and photographer. “The best time to take one from its nest is toward the latter part of May.”

As a source of instruction, is obsolete, to say the least. Most kids today don't prairie dogs riding around on their shoulders, and most parents would gag if they came upon their son or daughter bottle-feeding a raccoon. Still, the book is a gem,

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