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.
Can baby raccoons survive without their mother? Baby raccoons rely on their mother for a long time. They wean gradually after about 12 weeks in the wild, but remain with her for close to a year, and den with her over their first winter. So, a fluffy little 8 week old, eyes-open baby, although mobile, is still totally dependent.
Do raccoons come out in the winter time? During cold spells they will curl up in a ball or lay on their backs, covering their eyes with their front paws and sleeping for days at a time. But if the cold weather snaps, it is not unusual for the nocturnal raccoons to come out in search of food.
Anyone who has had a garden, cooler, or garbage can broken into by one of these animals knows that they have some of the most dexterous hands in all of nature. The first people to notice their unusual paws were Native Americans. The Powhatan phrase aroughcun, which means "animal that washes with its hands," is where the English word "raccoon" originates. Similar thinking went into the naming of the raccoon by the Aztecs. Mapachitli, which means "one who takes everything in its hands," was its given name. Mapache is now a Spanish word that means "raccoon."
Do raccoons die from rabies? Raccoons—along with foxes (red and gray), skunks, and bats—are considered a primary carrier of the rabies virus in the United States. While any warm-blooded animal can carry rabies, these are the ones we call “rabies vector species.”
Do raccoons come out when it's raining? Researchers have shown that weather conditions may affect the movement of Austin raccoons, and they enjoy coming out immediately after the rain has stopped. Similarly, the movements of Texas raccoons are not hindered when it drizzles slightly, however, they can be shut inside their dens when the rainfall is very heavy.
Scientists believe raccoons to be intelligent animals, but people who live in cities may find that their local populations are particularly cunning. This might be the result of urban raccoons frequently having to overcome hurdles created by people. When Toronto-based psychologist and biologist Suzanne MacDonald fitted city raccoons with GPS collars, she discovered that they had learnt to stay away from significant intersections. The idea that raccoons accustomed to living among humans are better able to solve unusual challenges was validated by a second experiment. In both urban and rural areas, MacDonald hid food in trash cans. Most city raccoons could figure out how to open the tricky lid, but the country raccoons consistently failed.