Cong kisses a guest
You ever look at raccoon headlines in the news? They’re often amusing or interesting. Right now on Google News you’ll find the headlines “Raccoon Takes Out Power to Thousands” (Wisconsin) and “Burglary Suspect Turns Out to Be Raccoon” (Florida) and “Raccoon Moved, Twice” (Connecticut).
If you find any of those stories worth clicking on, then you’ll surely be interested in an establishment called Blind Alley in Seoul, South Korea, which counts among its primary features two live raccoons—their names are Cong (male) and Milk (female)—and patrons have the option of staying in the “normal room” (where food can be consumed) or entering the “raccoon room,” in which they can interact with the furry creatures.
The cafe has been a mecca for raccoon lovers for about a year and a half, when Han Song-hee took over the establishment gave Cong and Milk the run of the place. Those who are dubious about the whole concept of a raccoon cafe might be mollified to hear that one of the pair of raccoons was rescued:
I adopted Cong from a breeder. Cong’s family has been domesticated from his grandmother’s generation. Since he was alone, I wanted to get him a friend. Milk was one of those raccoons imported to China and destined for pelt or fur coats. I was able to adopt her from one of [the] animal importers.
In my experience, there’s not much middle ground on raccoons—either you find them super-cute or you detest them—and that’s If you don’t happen to have a debilitating fear of them. It’s clear who Blind Alley’s target audience is, anyway.
The author of the book on raccoons—literally, he wrote Raccoons, A Natural History—Sam Zeveloff isn’t sure the raccoon cafe is such a good idea: “Raccoons, like other wild animals, typically are not good pets, given that their behaviors are incompatible with ours. ... We should interact carefully with them, from a distance.” Not surprisingly, Zeveloff understands the attraction, however: “Their striking masks, impish faces, lustrous fur, and ringed tails are all aesthetically appealing.”
Milk on a walkway
More after the jump…