Raccoons are widely regarded as pests. They root through trash, destroy property, and help themselves to wild crops on farmyard property. These critters can also be highly belligerent, attacking domestic pets – and even humans if they feel suitably threatened. As raccoons can carry a range of parasites and diseases, including rabies, that is far from ideal.
You may think that you don’t have to worry about raccoons. Maybe you have devised a home protection system that keeps them out. If you can’t outsmart a raccoon, you deserve everything you get, right? Not quite. Never underestimate the intelligence of raccoons. The nickname of ‘masked bandits‘ doesn’t just apply to the aesthetic rings around their eyes.
Yes, raccoons are smart. As smart as rhesus monkeys, in fact – the breed deemed so intelligent that scientists use them in laboratory experiments. Raccoons can pick locks, open drawers, and remember the solution to a brainteaser for around three years.
Take food as an example. Like all wild animals, raccoons take access to snacks very seriously indeed. Watch this video to see a raccoon’s problem-solving brain in action. In less than a minute, the critter works out how to access a treat beyond its reach using tools.
This intelligence stems from biology. Raccoons are diminutive, but they have enormous brains, especially compared to their physical size. They’re also agile and dexterous. Coupled with a curious nature and a love for problem-solving, this makes raccoons tricky to capture. Raccoons have outfoxed many Animal Control operatives. The animals are capable of unlocking traps before they can be escorted from the invaded property.
What’s more, although raccoons are primarily solitary, they’re also loyal. Raccoons have been known to hunt in packs, working together to achieve their goals. If you’re strolling into a raccoon’s territory with food on your person, don’t be surprised if you find yourself ambushed. The raccoons are not necessarily interested in hurting you. They’ll do whatever it takes to restrict your movement while they relieve you of your lunch, though.
The good news is that if you leave raccoons alone, they’ll generally return the favor. As we have established, raccoons are not dumb. They are fully aware that humans have a significant height, weight, and mobility advantage. They won’t pick a fight unless they feel like you are spoiling for a confrontation.
The flipside of this is that raccoons can set up a home on your property. If the raccoon is pregnant or nursing, in particular, your garage will look hugely appealing. They will work out how to get the lock open and set themselves up a nest.
You’ll need to call in professional help to deal with that particular infestation. Poking a raccoon with sticks has one of two results. You’ll get a vicious bite for your troubles, or the animal will assume you’re offering food and summon all of its friends to join the party.
Raccoons know who you are, know where you live, and can work out how to get into your home. Maybe it’s time to rethink how you treat these pesky varmints when they show up on your property! You may not want to be friends with a raccoon, but we’re sure that you don’t want one as an enemy.
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