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Raccoons are impressive creatures once you get to know them a little. We recommend that you do, before taking any action to remove them from your property. You will find out a fun fact or two, and some of those fun facts will even assist you in your quest to get rid of them.
Raccoons have a couple of really great tools as their disposal — two very dextrous paws. In captivity, as sad as it is, raccoons have shown humans to very adaptable, very smart, and quick-thinking, often using their dextrous paws to enable them to get out of difficult situations. Even in captivity raccoons have shown pretty impressive skills. In certain areas, these scavengers have been observed actually uses latches and handles to open doors and windows from the outside.
In the defense of the raccoon, they've had no choice but to adapt in this way. They have found it necessary to evolve over hundreds or thousands of years, to a point where they are able to use their paws in a way that very few other animals have mastered. The animal has shown to almost dunk its food in water, although it is dunking or washing the food at all, despite what it looks like. They use their paws to feel around under the water (and above it), making it appear to dunk.
Being incredibly smart animals, the raccoon has started to learn how to use “human” items and tools. Not only have they been observed opening doors and windows, but they've been watched pushing over garbage cans to get to what's inside, as well as physically removing garbage can lids, by the handle.
Raccoons do use tools, but only when it works in their favor to do so. You probably couldn't make a wild raccoon do anything it wanted to do, tools or otherwise, without some kind of food incentive, and they probably still wouldn't do it on demand.
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 - what to do to solve the problem.