Raccoons are generally thought of as a mischievous, somewhat irritating neighborhood pest. However, in recent years, scientists have discovered that raccoons are incredibly intelligent and are continuing to adapt and evolve their intelligence alongside humans. Read on for some interesting facts about raccoons and just how smart they really are!
One of the most interesting facts we discovered about raccoons is that they rank above cats and just below monkeys on the mammal IQ scale. Monkeys are generally considered to score just below humans and great apes on IQ scales, which means that raccoon intelligence is not as far behind us as we might like to think.
2. Evolving Intelligence
Based on several experiential studies based in Canada, scientists saw that raccoons tended to use situations to advance their intelligence. A series of trash can lids were developed with the intention of keeping raccoons out, and with each progressive round, they managed to figure out the contraption and eventually open up the trash can. This indicates that as humans have evolved into more urbanized settings, raccoons have evolved with them, and are able to learn and store information from new experiences.
Raccoons have proven capable of domestication, which is no simple feat for the average animal. Not only are they able to be domesticated, once they are domesticated, their owners are often able to teach them skills the average human toddler would possess. One such raccoon, Melanie, has learned how to ride a bike, clap, dance, and ring a bell.
4. Lab Rat
Raccoons were once considered alongside rats, mice, and monkeys as the ideal animal for lab testing due to their notable intelligence. However, they were determined to be too strong-willed and even too smart for lab testing purposes. They would often outsmart the lab techs and escape to hide in air vents, and turned out to be very defensive when they felt threatened.
5. Survival Abilities
Raccoons can survive and even thrive pretty much anywhere across the globe, so long as there is a source of running water nearby. They are found throughout Europe, North America, and Asia, and are well known for their ability to protect themselves and for their resourcefulness. This level of intelligence and adaptability is not found in many other creatures and is yet another characteristic of raccoons that makes them stand out.
While it might seem unsettling that raccoons are so intelligent, it also explains why they're so adept at getting into trouble and sneaking into the trash. They might not quite be smarter than humans, but they're definitely not far behind; so if you find yourself dealing with one, don't try to outsmart it; call in a professional.