Wrong Ride for a Raccoon

Here's your nightly math! Just 5 quick minutes of number fun for kids and parents at home. Read a cool fun fact, followed by math riddles at different levels so everyone can jump in. Your kids will love you for it.

Wrong Ride for a Raccoon

June 26, 2015

When small animals see an alligator, usually they steer clear. Alligators will eat just about anything that fits in their jaws: birds, turtles, fish of any size, even a small deer. So you can imagine the surprise of the Florida raccoon in this picture. When it heard people walking nearby, it jumped into the river onto what it thought was a rock, only to find it had landed on a gator! The raccoon didn’t stick around for a ride — it jumped right off — but Richard Jones acted quickly and got a picture with his camera. Raccoons weigh only between 8 to 20 pounds, while the average gator weighs about 800 pounds. But thankfully the raccoon jumped away safely. Now we’re left with one happy raccoon, and one hungry, confused alligator.

Wee ones: Who would be a heavier ride for that gator, you or an 8-pound raccoon? Find out how much you weigh in pounds!

Little kids: How many legs do that gator and raccoon have together? (Hint if needed: They’re both 4 legged animals.)  Bonus: If raccoons are about 2 feet long, while your regular gator is about 11 feet longer, how long is the gator?

Big kids: How many 2-foot raccoons would have to line up end to end to be as long as a 13-foot alligator?  Bonus: If this were a full 20-pound raccoon, how many raccoons would have to band together to match an 800-pound gator? (Hint if needed: How many would match an 80-pound baby gator?)




Wee ones: You weigh more, unless you really were just born yesterday.

Little kids: 8 legs.  Bonus: 13 feet long.

Big kids: You’d need 7 raccoons, since 6 would stretch only 12 feet.  Bonus: 40 raccoons.

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About the Author

Laura Overdeck

Laura Overdeck

Laura Bilodeau Overdeck is founder and president of Bedtime Math Foundation. Her goal is to make math as playful for kids as it was for her when she was a child. Her mom had Laura baking before she could walk, and her dad had her using power tools at a very unsafe age, measuring lengths, widths and angles in the process. Armed with this early love of numbers, Laura went on to get a BA in astrophysics from Princeton University, and an MBA from the Wharton School of Business; she continues to star-gaze today. Laura’s other interests include her three lively children, chocolate, extreme vehicles, and Lego Mindstorms.

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