Raccoons – Latin name: Procyon lotor - are highly intelligent and curious creatures. Because of the urban sprawl in North America where they originate from, but in Europe (where you now find them too), humans have been encroaching on their natural habitat. They are considered a nuisance to homeowners. These nocturnal mammals can destroy gardens, make a mess by tipping over garbage cans, they can cause structural damage by gnawing through wooden and plastic construction material in search for food. They are often found in suburban and urban areas, making their homes in man-made structures like attics, sewers, barns and sheds. In urban areas, raccoons tend to stay much closer to their dens.
Raccoons are omnivores leaning towards a protein rich diet, but it is mostly an opportunistic diet; eating almost anything they can get their extremely dextrous paws on. In urban areas, where wildlife and fresh vegetation are limited, raccoons will be more likely to eat food left over by humans and invade rubbish bins.
Possessing an incredible capacity to learn, Raccoons can remember complex tasks for up to three years!
A fascinating habit that Raccoons have is that they prefer to wash or dunk their food before consuming it. In Afrikaans, they are known as was beer which means when literally translated “Washing Bear”.