Just How Smart are Raccoons Exactly?

A lot of people mistake raccoons for being clueless, brainless creatures that just want to ravage a trash bin for some human food. 

That couldn’t be further from the truth. Raccoons are surprisingly quite intelligent. 

Recent intelligence tests of urban raccoons suggests that they are significantly more intelligent than your cat or dog, ranking just under monkeys for IQ. 

They are extremely curious & persistent creatures, leading to them having a high degree of adaptability and creativity. 

Here are some of the cool facts about the intelligence of raccoons. 

By the way, the video version of this post includes incredible footage, such as a raccoon learning how to roll or ride a bicycle. Watch it now by clicking HERE. 

The podcast version of this post can be downloaded using the podcast widget. 

Raccoons Escaping From Science

Raccoons are quite creative & intelligent, and considered by some scientists to be excellent for scientific experiments on animals. 

The problem? 

They kept escaping! They would frequently find ways to escape from the lab, often hiding in air vents or other secret places for long periods of time before attacking when caught. 

Raccoons aren’t typically used for experiments or studied as much as they could be for this very reason. 

When a raccoon feels defensive, they become extremely aggressive. They are capable of harming you with bites & scratches, and in the case of wild raccoons, they may even transmit rabies or other deadly viruses to you. 

When They Can Be Studied

Raccoons, when they can be studied, show an excellent level of intelligence, far better than that of a smart dog. 

Raccoons can learn how to pick locks, open containers, and find other creative solutions. 

In some experiments, raccoons were taught how to obtain food by repeating certain actions. 

Instead of repeating those actions, raccoons often broke the experiments, finding creative ways to get their food faster, quicker, or in higher quantities, often by cheating the system. 

In one study about raccoons, they had to undo a lock in a very specific order. Not only were they persistent enough to find their way, they did it in remarkable time. 

Scientists then upped the ante, requiring 4 locks to be picked in a certain order (or actions to be complete, in order to break free the food). If it wasn’t done in the correct order, it would re-lock everything. 

Raccoons were able to figure out how to undo the system, getting to their food. What stunned scientists most was after 1 year they had retained the ability to beat this particular system, showing that they have an excellent memory! 

In the case of some rare domesticated raccoons, they can be taught to roll over, ride mini-bicycles (with training wheels), and complete other impressive tasks. 

They typically can’t be domesticated though, as they can carry diseases and are often strong-willed explorers that don’t want to be confined to one person or one home (more on this later). 

Urban Raccoons & Learning

Urban raccoons have learned by observing humans, other raccoons, and by natural selection, as more intelligent raccoons are more likely to reproduce. 

Raccoons found in nature are significantly less intelligent, understandably so. Some scientists have suggested that our modern cities & suburbs are “training grounds” for raccoons to increase in intelligence. 

Unintelligent raccoons die off, whereas smart raccoons reproduce in great numbers, as they have access to near-unlimited food supplies and shelter in between our walls or in the attic. 

Total World Domination

We humans aren’t the only ones to have taken over the world- some other animals, such as raccoons, have followed suit and taken over with us! 

Raccoons were originally native to North America, but have since spread all around the world.

They even have less competition in some places, such as Europe, which has led to severe raccoon infestation problems in the UK & Germany. 

Raccoons continue to spread at an alarming rate as they find unique ways to steal our food, and unique hiding places within our architecture. 

The Dangers? 

Raccoons often carry rabies, and also leave a nasty bite/scratch. If they are infesting your home, they are also more aggressive, leave waste, and damage your home. 

Animal Infestation

If you think that raccoons or any animals or pests are infesting your home, make sure to contact us immediately. We safely restore the raccoons to the wild where they belong, and restore any damage they may have caused to your home. 

Contact us by calling 855-WILDLIFE or by visiting www.wildlifexteam.com

Thanks! 
-Wildlife x Team International 

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