7 Astounding Abilities That Make Raccoons the Perfect Pest
Raccoons are often compared to bandits due to the way they forage through your property for food. But there’s more to these masked marauders than meets the eye.
Raccoons have many unique abilities that make them formidable pests, and quite a hassle to get rid of.
In today’s post, we’ll be sharing seven of these abilities so you are more aware of these furry masterminds and their tricks.
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#1 - Raccoons’ Masks Help Them See
The distinctive black markings around their eyes make raccoons instantly identifiable. But these masks are actually an adaptive trait that helps raccoons see, both in daylight and in darkness.
These black markings absorb light that would otherwise shine directly into the raccoon’s eyes from all directions.
This minimizes blinding glare during the day and eliminates distracting light sources at night, allowing them to easily tell objects apart.
#2 - Raccoons’ Paws Are Adapted for Rummaging
Raccoons’ front paws are surprisingly well adapted to rummaging through unlikely food sources.
Although they do not have thumbs and must use both paws to grab objects, their paws are strikingly similar to human hands, especially for animals of their type.
It is believed that these dexterous hands evolved so raccoons could forage for unseen food buried in mud or underwater.
#3 - Raccoons Can “See” an Object By Touching It
Raccoon paws have an impressively strong sense of touch. About 75% of a raccoon’s sensory abilities are concentrated on touch, and they have 4-5 times more sensitivity in their paws than most animals.
The only animals that come close to those numbers are humans and other primates!
Raccoons use this ability to perfectly visualize an object without even seeing it, just by feeling around it with their hands.
People often say raccoons “wash their hands” before eating, but scientists believe that wetting the food actually enhances the raccoon’s abilities to visualize what it is.
#4 - Raccoons Can Quickly Adapt to New Environments
Raccoons can adapt to pretty much anything. We’ve torn down their natural forest habitats to build cities, so they needed to quickly learn to forage for food in an unfamiliar world.
Urban raccoons have become very clever, especially compared to raccoons that live isolated in forests.
For instance, a 2014 study found that urban raccoons were quick to open the top of a trash can to reach food at the bottom.
In contrast, rural raccoons smelled the food at the bottom but could not figure out how to reach it.
Raccoons, like other displaced animals (like rats and pigeons), have come up with ways to adapt to city life much quicker than evolution would typically allow in nature.
#5 - Raccoons Are Fast Learners
Raccoons are not only adaptable in behavior; they are just clever in general.
For example, in nature, raccoons wouldn’t need to understand how to raise the water level in a cylinder to reach food floating at the bottom, right?
As it turns out, the raccoons in a 2017 study quickly figured out that dropping stones into the water would bring the treat up to them within reach.
#6 - Raccoons Can Eat Just About Anything
In nature, raccoons are omnivorous, feasting on fruits, insects, and other animals. They prefer to scavenge rather than hunt, but they have been known to hunt fish and frogs near rivers.
Raccoons’ teeth are very strong to allow for this omnivorous diet. Coupled with their preference for foraging, raccoons have adapted to eat almost any food you leave behind.
If you are concerned about a raccoon infestation, make sure your food sources and garbage cans are secured, so raccoons cannot get inside.
#7 - Raccoons Have Cat-Like Reflexes
Raccoons have been known to fall from heights of up to 40 feet without getting hurt. And like cats, they also typically land on their feet.
Raccoons and outdoor cats have even been seen eating from the same bowl in some cases! However, it is NOT recommended that you test this yourself.
Raccoons can be possessive of their food sources, much like cats. In addition, raccoons carry many diseases that could easily transmit to your cat, most commonly rabies.
For this reason, most animal control specialists advise against feeding your cats outside if there’s a possibility that raccoons are lurking nearby.
Got a Pest Problem?
Raccoons are astonishingly clever and adaptable creatures, so it takes special care to make sure they leave and never return to your home.
Don’t put your property or your family at a risk of raccoon infestation.
Please contact us at 855-WILDLIFE or visit www.wildlifexteam.com for more information.
Thanks for reading!
-Wildlife x Team International