Unique & Rare Raccoons Facts - Part II
Did you know that raccoons have lived in the White House, have some of the most dexterous hands in nature, and have their black masks to help them see in the dark?
In our previous video about raccoons, we covered some of the more unique and rare facts that aren’t as well known about raccoons.
For example, one of the former Presidents of the United States owned a pet raccoon (watch that video HERE).
In today’s post, we’ll be following up to the previous post and share another set of unique, lesser-known facts about raccoons. Enjoy!
To watch the video version of this post complete with cute raccoon footage, you can do so HERE.
You can also download our rabies-free podcast by pressing the download button on the widget above.
Why Are Raccoons Everywhere?
Raccoons can be found all around the world, but go back just a hundred years ago, and that wasn’t the case.
Raccoons in many nations are considered some of the most invasive species. Their ability to thrive in urban environments and out-compete other animals has allowed them to thrive whereas other animals have been lost to extinction.
While they can now be found worldwide, raccoons are only native to North America.
In the late 1920’s raccoons were exported to Europe for fur farms, but naturally many of the raccoons eventually escaped.
Just 100 years later in 2020 and Germany estimates that there are more than 1 million raccoons in their country alone!
Raccoon populations have boomed all across Europe, thriving in their urban cities - and especially their ability to forage trash.
Raccoons have even found their way to Japan, where young children in the 1970’s suddenly became obsessed with raccoons and wanted pets of their own.
At its peak, Japan was importing 1,500 raccoons a month just in order to fill the demands!
These days it’s illegal to own a pet raccoon in Japan, and those early raccoons have exploded in populations.
Countries all over the world are now dealing with raccoon infestations.
Raccoons Thrive With Humans
Human expansion has led to the destruction of many natural environments, leading to the diversity of other creatures disappearing.
However, a lucky few animals have actually benefited from human expansion, and the raccoon is one of those species.
Raccoons are significantly more intelligent than most people know. Studies have shown that urban city raccoons possess more knowledge and intelligence than those found in the wild.
City raccoons learn quickly how to live in our cities, finding places to hide out in attics, between our walls, under our foundations, and in abandoned buildings.
Rural raccoons will eat fruit, insects, seeds, nuts, and birds, but city raccoons have learned how to forage through our trash cans and secure sustenance in that way.
In some ways our cities are like an intelligence training ground for raccoons. If they can figure out ways to sneak more food in and secure shelter, they will receive great rewards for it.
Mice and rats are commonly used for scientific experiments, but raccoons were tested quite a bit as well.
The naturally curious & intelligent raccoons make for great studies, however their curiosity and intelligence ending up being too much for most scientists to handle!
Raccoons could frequently be found hiding in air vents, escaping the researchers, pick-pocketing people, and chewing through their cages.
One of the more unique behavioral aspects of the raccoon is their extreme desire to explore, which is why they don’t make for good pets.
They are unlikely to develop a connection with anyone (especially a human), and love exploring, so those that have tried to tame raccoons (or breed a tame species) have been met with disappointment.
Give raccoons a puzzle and, as long as there's food involved, they'll usually find a way to solve it.
Raccoons are relentless and persistent, and will not give up when it comes to getting a tasty great food for the night.
In the early 1900s, ethologist H.B. Davis gave 12 raccoons a series of locks to crack. To access the treats inside the boxes, they had to navigate hooks, bolts, buttons, latches, and levers, with some boxes featuring more than one lock. In the end, the raccoons were able to get past 11 of the 13 mechanisms.
Some evidence and studies may suggest that raccoons are actually getting more intelligent - especially those living in the cities.
Raccoons that are more intelligent are more likely to survive and reproduce, AND raccoons are being forced to learn at a younger age which also allows them to get more intelligent during their lifetime (and repeating the cycle, passing down their intelligence to the young).
Raccoons among other wild animals are some of the most common wild animals to infest your home.
Wild animals infesting your home are seeking shelter and potentially a place to raise their young.
While great for them, this can lead to a host of issues such as risk of disease/health issues to yourself, damage to your home, and more problems.
When identifying an animal infestation, it’s always important to treat it as soon as possible, as the longer the animal is allowed to infest, the more expensive the damages will usually be.
It’s also important to hire an expert in case the creature is aggressive. If scratched or bit, there is a risk of a deadly disease like rabies transmitting.
We at Wildlife x Team International specialize in safe & responsible removal of wild animals and pests. When possible we return the animals to the wild, undo the damage, and prevent it from happening again!
If you think that you have a wildlife or pest-related problem, contact us at 855-WILDLIFE or by visiting www.wildlifexteam.com.
-Wildlife x Team International