"Raccoon has a bushy tail, Possum's tail is bare. Rabbit has no tail at all, 'cept a little bunch of hair." Verses about love, animals, anything at all: "Love it is a killing thing, Beauty is a blossom, If you want your finger bit, Poke it at a possum"

Supplemental text

  Partial text(s)

          *** A ***

Raccoon's Got a Bushy Tale

From Paul G. Brewster, Ballads and Songs of Indiana, p. 334.
Collected in 1935 from Edith Dell Hopkins of Boonville, Indiana.

Raccoon's got a bush tail;
  Possum's tail is bare;
Rabbit's got no tail at all --
  Nothing but a little bunch of hair.


Get along home, home, home;
Get along home, home, home;
Get along home, home, home;
  Down the riverside.

Someone stole my old 'coon dog;
  They'd better bring him back.
Chased the raccoon over the fence,
  And the rabbit through the crack.

(2 additional stanzas, both floating verses.)


As with all these floating-animal-verse songs, it's hard to tell where one begins and another ends. I group them as best I can.

It's interesting to note that both Randolph and the "A" text of Brown's "De Possum Am a Cunning Thing" share part of a chorus, "(Oh/Do) come along, Sandy Boy," even though this is clearly not integral to the song. Brewster's chorus is "Get along home, home, home (x3), Down the riverside." - RBW

Cross references


  • Pete Seeger, "Raccoon's Got a Bushy Tail" (on PeteSeeger08, PeteSeegerCD02)


  1. Randolph 260, "Kitty Cain't You Come Along Too?" (1 short text, 1 tune)
  2. BrownIII 162, "De Possum Am a Cunning Thing" (2 short texts plus mention of 1 more); also 163, "The Raccoon Has a Bushy Tail" (1 text plus 2 fragments; the "C" text has the chorus of "Cindy"); also 415, "Lynchburg Town" (3 texts plus 2 fragments, 2 excerpts, and mention of 2 more, all with the "Lynchburg Town" chorus, but "A" and "B" have verses from "Raccoon" and "Possum Up a Gum Stump and "D" and "E" are partly "If I Had a Scolding Wife" ("Lucy Long (I)"); only "C" seems to be truly "Lynchburg Town"); also 17, "I Wouldn't Marry" (7 text (some short) plus 6 excerpts, 1 fragment, and mention of 5 more, of which "A" appears to mix this with "Coming Around the Mountain (II -- Charming Betsey)" and "I Won't Marry an Old Maid")
  3. Brewster 83, "Raccoon's Got a Bush Tail" (1 text)
  4. Warner 186, "Raccoon" (1 text, 1 tune)
  5. SharpAp 225, "The Squirrel" (3 texts, 3 tunes)
  6. Sharp/Karpeles-80E 76, "The Squirrel" (1 text, 1 tune)
  7. Scarborough-SongCatcher, p. 11, (no title) (1 fragment, 1 tune on p. 385. A single stanza: "Jay-bird pulled a two-mule plow, Sparrow, why don't you...."; this verse seems to float but has been found in songs of this typle)
  8. Scarborough-NegroFS, p. 165, "Old Bee Make de Honeycomb" (1 text, with most of the verses appearing to go here even though it has the "Old Bee" stanza also); also p. 169, (no title) (1 text, with verses probably from "Raccoon," unless they just floated in, while the chorus seems to be "Po' Liza Jane"); also sundry stanzas on pp. 169-170
  9. Silber-FSWB, p. 398, "Raccoon's Got A Bushy Tail"; p. 401, "The Squirrel" (2 texts)
  10. ST R260 (Partial)
  11. Roud #3444
  12. BI, R260


Author: unknown
Earliest date: 1917 (Cecil Sharp collection)
Found in: US(Ap,MW,SE,So)