Raccoons use their sense of touch to find food, as opposed to the majority of animals, who either use their senses of sight, sound, or smell. Their front paws are extremely agile and have nearly four times as many sensory receptors as their back paws, which is similar to the proportion of human hands to feet. When they are feeding at night, they need to be able to distinguish between items without being able to see them. Raccoons can increase their sense of touch by a process known as dousing. In reality, animals are soaking their paws to stimulate the nerve endings, even though it may appear to people that they are washing their food. A raccoon can feel more than it would otherwise be able to because water on its hands provides it additional sensory data to work with, similar to how light does for human eyes.
How do I keep raccoons out of my garden? To keep raccoons at a distance, try scattering blood meal around corn plants. Also try sprinkling wood ashes around your plants. Grind up garlic, mix it with an equal portion of chili powder, and spread it around the garden.
Can a raccoon drown a dog in water? Raccoons may look cute, Jagendorf says, but they're quite capable of defending themselves. Even with two dogs against a single raccoon, the tussle was a standoff. "Later an animal control officer told us that a raccoon can drown a dog in two inches [five centimeters] of water just by holding its nose under water."
More recently, scientists gave the Aesop's Fable test to some raccoons. Researchers have adopted the well-known parable of a crow throwing stones into a pitcher to cause the water level to rise as a benchmark for animal intelligence. Raccoons were put in a space with a water cylinder, marshmallows floating on top, and stones strewn about it. They had to raise the water level first by dumping the stones before they could get to the sweet treats. Two of the eight raccoons imitated the action after being shown how to do it, but a third approached the issue differently and knocked the entire structure over.
Do raccoons kill rats? Raccoons also eat insects, slugs, dead animals, birds and bird eggs, as well as fruits, vegetables, nuts, and seeds. Around humans, raccoons often eat garbage and pet food. Although not great hunters, raccoons can catch young gophers, squirrels, mice, and rats.
How smart is a raccoon? While raccoons are intelligent animals, Melanie is particularly gifted for her species. “All raccoons are pretty smart,” said Suzanne MacDonald, a professor of animal behavior at York University in Toronto. “Back in 1913, this guy named Walter Hunter wanted to see if raccoons are smarter than dogs.
What can you do to keep raccoons away? Leaving pet food outdoors is a sure way to attract a local raccoon. Trash cans are another lure for these masked bandits. Use locking lids, or keep your garbage secured in the garage. Bird feeders are easy pickings for raccoons, so clean underneath the feeders daily, or consider taking them down at night.