Do you love raccoons? If so, you have to watch Raccoon Nation. You will learn more about raccoons than you ever wanted to know!
Originally from the tropics, where they could be found foraging along riverbanks, over time raccoons moved north, adapting to new environments, predators, and foods. In the process, they developed a real taste for big city life. As a result, raccoon populations have grown twenty-fold in North American cities over the last seventy years, and there are now fifty times more raccoons living in Toronto than in the same area in the surrounding countryside.
Following a family of urban raccoons over the course of six months as the young leave their den high in a tree and head down dark alleyways and haunts with their mother, high-definition cameras and intensive GPS tracking reveal new insights about a species that is far more elusive and wily than most people ever imagined, and more destructive.
A study on interspecies communication has demonstrated real risks associated with urban raccoons. Increased contact between animals rarely in such close contact can escalate exposure to contagious diseases and cause them to become more robust and infectious. Chicago is fighting outbreaks of parasites carried and transmitted by the raccoons that have overrun their city. I personally have had to have our dog vaccinated from this, and we have to do it once a year too!
North America is not the only place raccoons have populated and made their own. In Japan, where raccoons are not indigenous, a popular 1970’s cartoon made baby raccoons all the rage and thousands were shipped into the country. Then these tiny pets grew up, became far less appealing and were released into the wild, where they immediately found new accommodations that suited them well. Their new landlords, however, are less than happy. These tenacious tenants have caused damage to 80% of the ancient shrines and temples in the country and have proven nearly impossible to evict.
The city of Kassel, in central Germany, is home (aff) to the largest population of raccoons in Europe, nearly 300 per square mile, all descendants of a pair of raccoons imported in the 1930’s and some two dozen raccoons that escaped from a local fur farm. Using the drainpipes they found on every home (aff) in the area to climb up and in, raccoons have made su casa es mi casa their way of life. Scientists and engineers are left to take on their ever growing numbers, house by house.
It seems that the more obstacles you throw in their way, the smarter they get. In an effort to outwit raccoons, we may be pushing their brain development and perhaps even sending them down a new evolutionary path. One biologist who has been studying raccoons for 25 years believes the city life is in fact cultivating “über-raccoons,” ready to take over the world. But it looks as though they will continue to do so one small area at a time. At the end of a two-month radio-collar study, it’s discovered that city raccoons average a surprisingly small home range of only about three square blocks. Still, it’s all they need to live in comfort.
If you are wanting to learn more about raccoons, then Raccoon Nation will be right up your alley! I enjoyed watching it!