Raccoons: Handle With Care

Some mammals have mastered the art of adapting to the urban world, and among these are coyotes, raccoons, and rats. Coyotes tend to range mainly in the warmer climates of the southwestern U.S., but have also successfully adapted in places like New York City.  Rats live in almost any climate, all over the world.  Raccoons, much like rats, have always survived in a variety of places – but they are arguably better adapted to cities than any other creature besides humans.

The reason for their remarkable skill at thriving in city life is due to their food gathering skills.  Like humans, they are omnivores who will eat anything.  Also like us, they are experts at finding and accessing food in almost any location.  Urban-dwelling raccoons will eat wild foods, like fruits, but are even better at opening trashcans and removing leftovers.

Raccoons are both clever and dexterous.  They use their hands, which have extremely sensitive touch, to find and wash their food, as well as to open almost any container.  Their manual dexterity, when combined with problem-solving ability, makes them trash harvesting artists.

Although well adapted to living in the human world, they have never been made into suitable pets.  Unlike dogs, raccoons haven’t been tamed through breeding.  The cute babies, called kits, grow into large and aggressive adults.  They seek and find refrigerators, trash and any other container, and can wreak daily havoc in the lives of owners.

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