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Raccoons are really smart animals. They are well known to be much smarter than many of us give them credit for. Don’t they always outsmart us too? Getting into our attics and setting up home without us knowing, or regularly tearing through garbage cans even through you were sure you put the lid on tight.
During the early part of the twentieth century, raccoons were regularly used in experiments and studies, and they often did rather well, exceeding scientists expectations. So much so, in fact, that they often managed to break free from their enclosures. In the end, we had to admit that the raccoons were too smart for us!
Early scientific studies, although not really scientific at all, have shown that raccoons could even be smarter than dogs. During memory performance studies, these masked critters remembered things for longer periods of time than other animals, even dogs, and dogs are meant to be one of the best animals for remembering stuff!
Along with being super smart, most raccoons are adorably mischievous. As well as breaking free from their enclosures, they’re well known for breaking INTO places they shouldn’t, and even finding sources of food that you would think impossible. This is what makes them rather poor pets. Taming them is the easy bit, but keeping them tame and not behaving like a naughty toddler can be quite the challenge. Despite this, it is legal to have a pet raccoon in over twenty states.
Raccoons have thrived on this planet, despite falling prey to danger every day, and they have learned to coexist quite nicely alongside humans, living in the spaces they rarely visit and eating the foods that they deem not good enough to eat themselves. They have learned how to knock garbage cans over to disrupt latches and get to the leftover human food inside. In fact, residents in Toronto were faced to look for a new garbage can design that would actually keep the masked rogues out.
Doors and windows are also proving to be no tricky business for raccoons, and those that live in more human environments - in the city, for example, are generally known to be smarter than their rural cousins. City raccoons have learned to open doors, windows, and much more besides. One raccoon in Canada was spotted using a plant pot to stand on, to reach a door knob, which it then fiddled with for about five to ten minutes before getting it open and sneaking inside. Rural raccoons have not yet mastered the art of grasping and turning items, it would seem, whereas these city-living raccoons do.
Not only are raccoons in the city much smarter than their rural cousins, they’re also more stubborn and determined. If a raccoon living “in the wild” were to find a food source that it couldn’t get to, it would soon give up and move on. A city dwelling raccoon, on the other hand, will work around a problem systematically, for hours on end in some occasions, until they finally get to whatever it is they want.
When it comes to protecting yourself against will animals, you’ll need to step up your game. These creatures are smart enough to learn how to open garbage cans, doors and windows, and that means that you will need to add an extra layer of protection if you live in an area rife with wildlife.
For more information, you may want to click on one of these guides that I wrote:
How much does raccoon removal cost? - get the lowdown on prices.
How to get rid of raccoons - my main raccoon removal info guide.
Example raccoon trapping photographs - get do-it-yourself ideas.
Raccoon job blog - learn from great examples of raccoon jobs I've done.
raccoons in the attic