Raccoon Nation: The Story of Ontario's Own Pandas

Wednesday, February 5, 2020
This month raccoons will start breeding and I thought we could cover the good, the bad and the hilarious about our fellow city dwellers. I am more than aware that not everyone is a fan of raccoons, especially those that use or target bird feeders. They can definitely be destructive and hard to curb from our garbages, bird food storage and feeders. 
Image by: Dan Harnett (@harnettd)
However, that is because they are incredibly quirky and intelligent. They can certainly quickly solve a problem or any task at hand. I wanted to take some time to explore why raccoons thrive in urban environments, their origins and reasons why we should take a moment to adore them. 
It is always worth seeing the comedic value of a situation, in this YouTube video below you see a raccoon climb up a pole, over a baffle and onto a feeder, all while seemingly and knowingly looking at the filmer. The Mission Impossible music makes this even better. 



The reason that raccoons are so abundant in almost all habitat types is that they will eat just about anything, they are incredibly adaptable. They have dexterity nearly equivalent to that of a primate. They have an incredibly heightened sense of touch, which increases underwater. They are also skilled swimmers. Their scientific name Procyon lotor translates to "before-dog washer". When able to, a raccoon will examine an object or food underwater. You can imagine this particular raccoons surprise when it put its cotton candy underwater and it... disappeared?


They have figured out how to cope with new environments so well that they are more common in cities than in rural areas, where there is a plethora of food sources and almost no natural predators. It is this adaptability that has allowed them to occupy almost every type of habitat in North America.

It seems that people love to hate raccoons, but I think most of us have a sweet spot for them and their antics. They provide us with a lot of entertainment, such as this story from the summer of 2018 about raccoons who broke into a woman's home to "casually eat her bread in her kitchen", you can read the full article here. Raccoons have also been known to climb to insane heights without fear forging headlines such as "Daredevil raccoon climbs 700-ft skyscraper", you can read that article here.

Raccoons can often be spotted sleeping in trees, and it is adorable. Photo by Shayna Hartley

A popular podcast, 99% Invisible even did an entire episode about raccoons in the city of Toronto, called "Raccoon Resistance", detailing how devious raccoons can be and the ease at which they figured out the cities new green bins.
I hope you are able to laugh at their antics and intelligence.

Of course, we understand wanting to keep them away from your bird feeders. We have you covered! As you saw in the above video, small baffles are easy for raccoons to get around. If you have trouble with raccoons at your feeders, we offer larger baffles that are difficult for them to avoid. You can visit our webpage here.

Overall, I feel a sort of comradery with raccoons. They have really been able to make the best of an urbanizing world and have found ways to thrive in cities, all the while providing us with endless entertainment. I hope you were able to have a laugh and renew a sense of adoration for Ontario's very own pandas..... but keep your green bin secure.


Warmly, 


Heather

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