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17 Reasons Why Raccoons Are Undeserving of the Title of Trash Pandas

raccoon in trash can
By Rhododendrites - Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0,

Yes, raccoons are sneaky little creatures and often guilty of being trash thiefs. While this is true, these furry troublemakers also possess numerous skills and talents we too often overlook. Here’s 17 reasons why raccoons are actually undeserving of the nickname trash pandas!

#1 Incredible Adaptability

Image by Alexa via Pixabay

Raccoons have shown remarkable adaptability to various environments and turn essentially anything into a home. They can thrive in urban, suburban, and wild areas alike, which, although sometimes a nuisance to humans, showcases their resilience and intelligence.

#2 Dexterous Hands

Raccoon resting its head on a tree trunk. Image by Chalo Garcia via Unsplash.

Their highly dexterous front paws are almost as versatile as human hands. These handy hands allow them to open jars, unlatch cages, and even unlock doors. While this makes them good thiefs, it also demonstrates remarkable problem-solving abilities.

#3 Exceptional Memory

Raccoon hiding behind leaves. Image by Joshua J. Cotten via Image by Joshua J. Cotten via Unsplash

Raccoons possess an excellent memory, particularly for tasks involving complex solutions. Studies show that they can remember a solution to a problem for as long as three years. After all, how much do you remember from three years ago?

#4 Night Vision

Baby Raccoon on Grass. Image by Gary Bendig on Unsplash.

Equipped with a tapetum lucidum, raccoons have superior night vision that aids in their nocturnal activities. This yet another impressive trait that also add to their sneakiness, making them efficient foragers in the dark.

#5 Expert Climbers

By California Department of Water Resources – California Department of Water Resources, Public Domain,

With strong limbs and sharp claws, raccoons are skilled climbers, able to ascend trees and buildings with ease to escape predators or find food.

#6 Swimming Skills

raccoon in trash can
By Rhododendrites – Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0,

While it’s hard to image considering their often very chunky appearance, raccoons are actually very adept swimmers. They are capable of crossing rivers and streams to find food or escape threats, using their swimming abilities to thrive in various habitats. It also particularly helps them when looking for their fave food – crustaceans.

#7 High Intelligence

Raccoon (Procyon lotor), also known as the North American raccoon. Image via Depositphotos

Demonstrating problem-solving skills and the ability to learn from experiences, raccoons are among the most intelligent of all mammals. It’s all too often overlooked that they’re quite brainy animals with and cognitive abilities comparable to those of primates.

#8 Social Creatures

By Rhododendrites – Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0,

While often seen as solitary, raccoons can form tight-knit communities. In these little raccoon families, they can be seen sharing food sources and living spaces, especially in urban environments.

#9 Communication Skills

Man Rescues Raccoon from Lake
Image by Anna Hinckel via Pexels

Raccoons communicate with a variety of sounds, including purrs, whistles, and screams. This is more than just noise, it’s an indication of a complex social structure and emotional range.

#10 Foraging Expertise

mom saves daughter from raccoon attack
Image by Gonzalo Guzman via Pexels

Their natural curiosity and intelligence make raccoons excellent foragers, able to find food in the most unlikely places. This might be their most important tool that ensures that they are true survivors.

#11 Sensitive Touch

raccoon scaling a skyscraper
Image via Pixabay

Raccoons have highly sensitive touch receptors in their paws, especially when wet, a skill which allows them to identify and manipulate food and objects without seeing them.

It is for this reason that they’re often seen “washing their hands” – which in fact is not with the purpose of cleaning them, but rather to allow them a more accurate feeling in their paws.

#12 Cleanliness

mom saves daughter from raccoon attack
Image via Pexels

Contrary to popular belief, raccoons often wash their food before eating, a behavior that indicates a level of cleanliness not typically attributed to them.

#13 Protective Mothers

raccoon hiding in tree log
Image by jggrz via Pixabay

Raccoon mothers are fiercely protective of their young. In the wild, they teach their kits survival skills and care for them for a long time until they are independent.

#14 Seasonal Adaptation

Image by Gonzalo Guzman via Pexels

Raccoons can adapt their diet and behavior based on the season – in other words, they’re nothing but picky eaters. It showcases their flexibility and ability to thrive under varying conditions.

#15 Tool Use

Image by Gabriel Tovar via Unsplash

In captivity, raccoons have demonstrated the ability to use tools to access food, indicating a level of problem-solving ability and intelligence. Anyone who’s ever had a raccoon problem can definitely attest to this.

#16 Longevity

Raccoon's Dunkin' Donuts Drive-Thru Adventure Goes Viral
Image by Joshua J Cotten via Unsplash

In the wild, raccoons can live up to 5 years. This relatively short lifespan is unfortunately attributed to them frequently falling victim to either rabies or vehicle collisions. But in captivity however, they have been known to live over 20 years.

#17 Cultural Significance

raccoon masked animal
Image by Vincent Doring via Unsplash

Raccoons hold a place in the folklore and mythology of various cultures, often revered for their intelligence and mischievous nature, indicating a deep-rooted respect and fascination with these creatures.

Why Raccoons Are Undeserving of the Title of Trash Pandas: Conclusion

Image by Dusan Veverkolog via Unsplash

As you can see from all of these (some more unexpected than others) impressive attributes and skills seen in raccoons it’s clear that these creatures are often underestimated and unfairly labelled as trash pandas.

Because of their unfair reputation as pests and troublemakers, we tend to overlook what an incredible species this actually is.

Thank you for reading this article about why raccoons are undeserving of the title as trash pandas! For more posts like this one, take a look here:

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