Raccoons and Moonshine

A photo of a raccoon in front of a moonshine distillery that says "raccoons and moonshine"

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Raccoons and Moonshine

For those who are unaware: I have a raccoon named Moonshine who lives in the spare bedroom of my apartment. (Side note, don’t keep a raccoon in an apartment. You will not have the same results I do. It only works for me because I have a professional background in animal behavior.) Now when people on the internet hear her name, many respond with the question “Is she named after Moonshine Cybin from NADPODD?” I then have to awkwardly respond with “Haha no… her name is uh…an inappropriate reference to male raccoon genitalia.” 

So what exactly is this reference? What does moonshine have to do with raccoon genitals? Bare with me while I explain. 

a photo of a raccoon lounging on a closet shelf in an apartment
My beautiful, sweet, angel baby Moonshine who I named in reference to a raccoon's penis bone
Moonshine Cybin, a character from a DnD podcast who people keep asking me about (Art by Xedotic)

What do raccoons have to do with moonshine?

Moonshine, for those unaware, is illegally distilled alcohol. It’s a tradition steeped in American history, particularly in the Appalachian Mountains. Raccoons are widespread around here, so naturally they were a major source of food and fur for people living in the area for hundreds of years. Moonshiners were no exception when it came to using raccoons as a resource, and they tried to use as much of the animal as possible. The use of one particular bone, however, is where I got my raccoon’s name–the baculum. 

What is a baculum?

A baculum, for those unfamiliar with mammal anatomy, is a bone found in the penis of many male mammal species. This bone, which is not present in humans, varies significantly in size and shape between species. For example, raccoons have a notably long and hooked baculum, while fox and coyote baculums are rather flat and straight. The primary function of the baculum is to provide structural support during mating.

A photo of various animal baculums
Various animal baculums (Source: News24)

How was the raccoon baculum was used when making moonshine?

As I mentioned earlier, historically, sustainable hunting was the norm. You didn’t just hunt an animal for fun and then just stuff it or throw it away–you tried to use as much of the animal as possible. With that in mind, moonshiners found a unique purpose for the raccoon baculum. Because of the bone’s distinctive curve, it worked perfectly to guide the flow of moonshine when moving the drink between vessels.

Source: Nick's Wild Ride


So there you have it! The use of a raccoon’s penis bone in making moonshine is a testament to human creativity and resourcefulness, finding use in the unlikeliest of objects. It also shows that I have the sense of humor of a nine year old boy.  While modern moonshiners might have upgraded their tools, the use of raccoons in the historical production of moonshine is still an interesting historical fact. 

So the next time you’re enjoying a glass of moonshine, be thankful we live in a day and age where we no longer use raccoon penis bones to get turnt! 


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