Raccoons are clever and useful creatures, and since they aren’t a threat, they are plentiful. They are in all regions of North America. Although they can be fun to watch, they’re not the safest creatures. Learn more about the reasons to be the cause of these and more interesting facts about the intelligent raccoon.
1. They Are Opportunistic Eaters
Raccoons are omnivores, as well as opportunity eaters. This means that they consume what they find most convenient. Their diets can consist of berries, nuts, fruit, acorns and fruits, rodents, grasshoppers and frogs, insects, small mammals, ground-dwelling birds, and eggs. Raccoon is also proficient in scavengers. They search through garbage bins and compost piles, and they also steal pet food that has been stored outside for the night. They climb over bird feeders and feast on birdseed in addition.
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2. They Seem to Wash Their Food Before Eating It
Procyon Lotoris The Latin name of the raccoon -the word lotor refers to “the washerman.” If you look at raccoon dining, you’ll see that they usually clean their food before dining. However, in the absence of water, they’ll still do the same routine by moving their forepaws over their food and moving it upwards and downwards. But research indicates that it’s not a habit of cleanliness that drives this behavior.
Wildlife biologists believe that raccoons possess extremely sensitive nerves in the fingers on their front paws. When they hunt to find food in the water, the animals can feel with their paws to gather sensory information. In the study of 136 raccoons of Nova Scotia, wetting the skin could increase the responsiveness of these nerves. However, even if there’s no water available, the dunking process aids them in gripping their food and bringing it into their mouth.
3. They Live Nearly Anywhere
Raccoons are found throughout the continent of the U.S. except for parts of the Rocky Mountains and the deserts, as per the International Union for the Conservation of Nature. They’re also present in Canada as well as Central America. They don’t care about their home so long as there’s water close by.
They build their homes in the ground, hollow trees or crevices of rocks. In cities, the animals venture into homes and build their homes in chimneys, attics, and crawl spaces beneath homes.
4. Their Masks Are Anti-Glare Devices
Raccoons are renowned for their bandit-like masks that are dark. The theory goes that distinct dark markings can block sunlight’s glare and improve night vision. Certain researchers have proposed that dark-colored masks assist animals in shielding the eyes of predators. A research study that was published in Biological Journal concluded that the dark patterns are likely anti-glare mechanisms.
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5. They Are Intelligent Animals
Raccoons are extremely intelligent. Researchers have suggested that their abilities to discern are comparable, if not better, that of the domestic cat. 5
In a study published in 2017 in the Journal of Animal Cognition, researchers assessed eight raccoons kept in captivity to assess causal understanding. The raccoons were given the cylinder filled with water with a marshmallow too low to grab. Researchers then showed that if they dropped small stones into the container, the water level was raised so that the treatment would be within raccoons’ reach.
Two raccoons learned to drop stones to grab the sweet treat. Another discovered a more efficient method: she flipped over the tube to gain quicker access to the marshmallow. Researchers concluded that the Raccoons are “innovative in many aspects of this task. ”
6. They Are Very Handy
Raccoons have five toes in their back and front feet. The forepaws of their forepaws are extremely adept and appear and function like humans’ hands. 7 They utilize their tiny finger-like toes for holding and manipulating food items, as well as various objects like latches, lids, jars and boxes, and doorknobs.
This is why they appear capable of climbing almost everywhere and easily removing the tops of garbage cans and even opening various containers.
7. They Stick to Themselves
Raccoons are primarily individuals. Since they are nocturnal animals, they don’t venture out during the day and prefer to remain close to their home and only travel long enough to obtain the food they require and drink.
Sometimes female raccoons gather together. However, each female can separate from the group when they are ready to breed and rear her young. Females are with their infants (called Kits) until they’re about a year old. Males can stay with females for up to a month before breeding but leave when they have their child.
8. They Face Few Threats
While numerous animal species have decreased due to increasing human populations and urbanization, the raccoons have adapted to living in a community with humans. According to IUCN, the Northern Raccoon is one of the specie that is of “least concern,” and the population is growing. 3
Although there aren’t any major threats to the existence of raccoons however they do encounter dangers, they are hunted to do sport and are snatched in their fur. In areas of suburbanization and near water bodies, raccoons are among the more frequent victim of the killings on the roadsides.
Additionally, the raccoons are captured, hunted, and poisoned by homeowners and farmers who view them as an annoyance. In other human-friendly environments, they are often considered pest control, such as in San Diego Zoo. San Diego Zoo, where they assist in managing the population of rodents.
9. They Carry Diseases and Parasites
Following bats, raccoons rank as the second most often recorded rabid wildlife species in the opinion of the CDC. But human cases of rabies are extremely rare across the United States. From 2009 to 2019, just 25 human rabies cases were documented across the U.S., and just two of them were linked to the raccoon.
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Raccoons may also be carriers of roundworm in the raccoon, a fatal illness that can lead to neurological injuries. It can be spread through ingestion of soil or other contaminated substances by an infected raccoon’s waste. Additionally, raccoons can carry distemper and leptospirosis. To keep your family members and pets safe, clean your hands after being outdoors, instruct children to avoid putting dirt in their mouths, and ensure that your pet is immunized.