Do raccoons have eyes like a hawk or are they as blind as bats? Familiar expressions such as these are not always accurate descriptions of an animal’s abilities. When it comes to a raccoon’s vision, what you believe may depend on stories you heard growing up or on your own experiences at attempting raccoon removal. Here is some of what Skedaddle Humane Wildlife Control knows about raccoon eyesight and the other senses and abilities this furry mischief-maker uses to navigate your neighborhood.
Scientists have done surprisingly little to separate facts from myths about raccoon eyesight. The few research papers that do exist suggest raccoons are nearsighted and have only partial color vision. However, the position of their eyes in the front of the face indicates good depth perception, similar to that of other predators. A reflective membrane covers the back surface of their eyeballs to enhance their night vision, and the black fur on their faces also may absorb available light and reduce glare. However, regardless of good or poor visual acuity, raccoons primarily rely on their other senses to gather information.
A clue that raccoons rely heavily on their sense of hearing is the extensive vocal repertoire they use to communicate with each other. Scientists have documented over 51 sounds that raccoons make in a variety of social situations. A raccoon’s hearing is more sensitive than a dog’s and slightly less than a cat’s. When you consider that a dog can hear from 80 feet away what you can detect from 20 feet, you will begin to understand why raccoons always seem to hear you coming. The good news is that their sensitive ears make it easier to scare them away with loud sounds.
Raccoons also communicate with odors, suggesting that smell is an important sense for them. They mark their territories with a pungent chemical in their urine and have the ability to identify individuals by scent alone. Interestingly, one research study indicated that they cannot make the same distinctions based on the smell of feces. Like most mammals, raccoons follow their shiny black noses to food. They can smell an acorn buried 2 inches underground and detect the odor of dog food through a closed pet door. When they start raiding trash cans or coming indoors in search of something that smells good to eat, it is time to call for wildlife control in Milwaukee.
Compared to other predators and even other members of the raccoon family, raccoons have amazing manual dexterity that allows them to pick up and manipulate objects in a way similar to primates. They also have a highly developed sense of touch that lets them perceive what the objects are as they roll them around between their sensitive paws. People once believed raccoons washed their food before eating, but we now know that holding items in water enhances the ability to feel them, helping the animals to discern what is edible and not in low-light situations. They extend their front paws as they explore, touching their surroundings as they go.
Skedaddle Humane Wildlife Control
If you have raccoons on your property, then you probably have already witnessed some of their amazing skills of perception as they made off with your food or other items. Don’t try to outwit them on your own. Nearsighted as they may be, they have quite a few other tricks up their sleeves that don’t depend on eyesight. Skedaddle has years of experience dealing with these sneaky critters and is ready to put our knowledge to work for you. Call us today or fill out our online form to schedule a home inspection.