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Raccoon Paws: What Handy Hands!



Raccoon Paws: What Handy Hands!

A Short Reader

Reading Level
     edHelper's suggested reading level:   grades 4 to 6
     Flesch-Kincaid grade level:   5.28

Vocabulary
     challenging words:    cortex, hypersensitive, cerebral, identify, sensory, immerse, downright, handy, actually, however, helpful, remove, fact, dangerous, interpret, sense


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Raccoon Paws: What Handy Hands!
By Erin Horner
  

1     Raccoons are four-legged mammals. Their front paws, however, look a lot like human hands, and these "hands" sure do come in handy! A raccoon's paws are hypersensitive. A raccoon can identify an object just by touching it. When a raccoon touches something, special hairs on its paws send a message to its brain. Two-thirds of the raccoon's cerebral cortex is used just to interpret these sensory messages! Scientists have not studied any other animals that use so much of their brain in this same way.
 
2     This sense of touch really comes in handy when a raccoon is getting ready to eat. Before eating, a raccoon will closely examine its food. But not with just its eyes-- with its paws! Raccoons dip their food in water before eating it, but they're not washing it. Many people think that raccoons dip their food to clean it. Experts, though, think that raccoons are actually just checking out their future meal. A raccoon's super sensitive paws are even more sensitive under water. By wetting their food and paws, a raccoon can more carefully examine .....
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