First it’s trash, then it’s temples

Raccoons have launched an assault on the famous Byôdô-in Temple in Kyoto, leaving scratch marks all over the ancient wood work (warning: link might be Not Safe For Work-exercise your own caution). For those of you who haven’t heard of it before, the temple is a national treasure akin to our Lincoln monument, except much older. Given that the structure dates back to the 10th century, there is actually some real cause for concern.

Strangely enough, Japan has sort of brought it upon themselves. Being that raccoons aren’t indigenous to Japan, you’d think some foreigner might be responsible for unleashing them, however that’s simply not the case.

Apparently, during the 1970s they became popular after appearing in an anime, and people had the bright idea of importing them from the US as pets. Yeah, that’s a good idea, as they were apparently importing close to 1,500 of them a year at one point. Needless to say, it didn’t take long before the government decided to place a ban on importing or even attempting to domesticate them.

Honestly though, how could anyone have ever thought that they’d make a good pet in the first place? I wonder how many of them attacked their owners before someone realized that keeping something with razor sharp claws and a nasty pair of fangs was a terrible idea. They’re not exactly cats and dogs, after all.