Raccoons have a reputation for mischievousness. They make themselves at home in people’s yards and attics, steal their garbage and munch on their garden veggies. While they can be a nuisance, they are also entertaining and cute enough that some people keep them as pets. Raccoons are also smart, perhaps smarter than you think! When you discover a raccoon that has outsmarted your attempts to keep it out of your attic, contact the experts in humane raccoon control Whitby. Here are five facts about raccoon intelligence that frequently allows them to outsmart humans.
1. Raccoons Have a High IQ
The masked bandit can pull off its mischievous antics because it has a high IQ. Humans, apes, monkeys, elephants and dolphins are among the most intelligent species on the planet, but raccoons are right up there, too! In fact, they often score nearly as high as monkeys on intelligence tests. In one experiment, raccoons were consistently able to learn how to pick a complex lock in fewer than 10 attempts.
2. Raccoons Intelligence Is Evolving
Raccoons can learn. They are capable of remembering solutions to problems they’ve solved in the past for at least three years, demonstrating that they have an incredibly good memory. They also consistently manage to figure out how to open garbage bins that have lids designed specifically to thwart them. This capacity for learning in novel situations demonstrates that raccoon intelligence is evolving to meet their needs in changing environments. More specifically, they seem to be coevolving with humans. They’ve learned that our species provides them with valuable resources, and when we change something about the way we live, raccoons adapt to those changes.
3. Raccoons Are Good Problem Solvers
Their evolving intelligence makes them capable of solving complex problems. Unfortunately, many of the problems they learn how to solve involve gaining access to food or shelter in or around our homes. It can be challenging to stay one step ahead of your neighbourhood raccoons! When these critters face a new obstacle, they use critical-thinking skills to overcome the barriers to whatever it is they seek. Since they have such good memories, they are also capable of building on knowledge gained from past experiences.
4. Raccoons Have Human-Like Hands
One of the anatomical features that set humans and other apes — as well as Old World monkeys — apart is our opposable thumbs. These digits, combined with a high level of intelligence, allow us to more easily manipulate our environment, which improves our survival skills. While raccoons don’t have truly opposable thumbs, their hand structure closely resembles that of humans. This gives them an edge when it comes to opening jars and garbage bins, as well as gaining access to the attic. When you pair their digits with their smarts, it’s no wonder they are so often successful in overcoming our efforts to keep them out of our trash and our homes.
5. Raccoons Can Make It Almost Anywhere
Given how prevalent the masked bandit is in urban areas, it is sometimes hard to believe that their natural environment is in the woods and preferably near a water source. Another trait that raccoons and humans have in common is the ability to live just about anywhere. Like us, these creatures adapt to a wide range of ecosystems and situations, allowing them to move out of the forest and into our cities.
Skedaddle technicians are trained in raccoon behaviours and biology. They have the training and skills to outsmart the masked bandit yet keep them safe so they can continue living a raccoon’s life in a more suitable environment! Contact our raccoon control specialists in Whitby to schedule services or for more information.