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.
What will scare away raccoons? Repel® Granules, which is a dog and cat repellent, can be sprinkled around any area where the raccoons gather, be it roof, attic, trash area etc. Keep BBQ grills clean or stored in a secure place. When you see a raccoon in the yard, turn on the lights, run outside yelling and swinging a broom and scaring them off.
How aggressive are raccoons? Aggressive raccoons. While a normal raccoon wouldn't attack a person, they will sometimes “bluff” if they feel threatened or cornered. Raccoons may huff, grunt, or “charge” at you, but they're just trying to scare you off so you'll leave them alone.
Raccoons are one of the few extinct species that have profited from the spread of humans. Despite the devastation of much of the creatures' natural habitat over the past few decades, populations in North America have skyrocketed. Raccoons are versatile enough to thrive successfully in suburban, urban, and rural settings. Raccoons scavenge for trash and pet food in residential areas while eating birds, insects, fruits, nuts, and seeds in woodlands. Some raccoons forage in areas where people live and then spend the day sleeping in the woods. Others live in buildings, both occupied and unoccupied.
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.”
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.
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.