Raccoons are common in many local wildlife populations around the world. These wily creatures are among the most adaptable of animals, able to survive both in the wild and in urban environments, as well as on many different continents - a feat not seen in many species. Thanks to their adaptability, they are one of the few species that have actually benefited from the exponential growth of the human race.

HOW SMART ARE RACCOONS ? Interesting Facts I Bet You Never Knew About !

They have learned to scavenge and coexist with humans, using their resources and remains to survive. Suburban raccoons are often even smarter than their wild counterparts. These urban dwellers have evolved to constantly out-perform and bypass human inventions, such as traffic and garbage cans.

A York University psychologist equipped several raccoons with GPS and observed that they learned to avoid major intersections and open secure garbage cans to get food. Their intelligence and resourcefulness showed a growth rate parallel to that of human invention. Humans are constantly re-evaluating ways to deter raccoons, and these intelligent mammals continue to meet the challenges they face.

The name of the species itself comes from the skillful use of these creatures' hands. The word raccoon comes from the word Powhatan aroughcun, which translates as "animal that scratches with its hands". Their front paws are an important part of their survival. They have four times as many sensory receptors as their hind legs. This sensitivity enables them to find food and meet other basic needs, especially at night.

Their "vision" with their hands can be compared to the use of sonar by a dolphin or the exceptional sense of smell of a dog. As nocturnal animals, they are more active at night and can use their sense of touch to determine whether an object is edible or not.

Are raccoons smarter than cats and dogs?

Intelligent and cunning, raccoons have an IQ that is higher than that of a cat and just below that of a monkey on the mammalian IQ scale. Monkeys generally score just below that of a human, making them the second highest scorer on the IQ scale.

This suggests that raccoons are closer to human intelligence than might be expected.

Recent studies have considered the number of neurons in the cerebral cortex as a factor in assessing intelligence. Researchers at Vanderbilt University studied the brains of cats and dogs and found that dogs had about twice as many neurons as cats, with 530 million. In comparison, humans have about 16 billion neurons.

By studying raccoons, considered by many to be vermin, the researchers found that if we looked only at brain size and number of neurons, we could assume that we were identifying a small primate - mammals that are, as mentioned above, just below humans on the IQ scale. Based on the number of neurons and an IQ test, raccoons are smarter than cats and dogs.

In several problem-solving experiments conducted, researchers have found that raccoons often solve the test in innovative ways. The classic Aesop fable test determines cause and effect by observing whether animals can learn to move water to get food.

For example, a container contains a marshmallow that floats on water levels too low to access. Researchers show the participating animals that dropping stones into the water raises its level, making the treat accessible. Several raccoons have observed and replicated this situation, while some have simply circumvented the "recommended" method, by inverting the container to catch the marshmallow.

Do raccoons have a good memory?

Another experiment tested memory in several different species. It was shown that a delicious treat was placed behind one of the three doors, followed by a waiting period before encouraging the animal to decide which door the treat was behind. Dogs and rats often chose correctly, but only if they were able to concentrate on the door for the duration of the delay. Raccoons and young children, on the other hand, could remember the correct door even when they were distracted during the break.

Raccoons have been considered pests for many years by humans. Although they sometimes appear invasive, these animals are intellectually beyond common pests, such as cockroaches or small rodents, and have shown that their intelligence is an important part of their species' growth and survival. Their level of intelligence has proven to be quite surprising, not far behind that of primates, and therefore humans. This brain capacity combined with their ingenuity has allowed this incredible species to flourish throughout the world.

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