Bandit Raccoons

Trash Can Bandits
The other weekend I encountered a group of distraught campers at my evening campfire. A raccoon stole their entire supply of marshmallows. This is not the first group I have encountered with this dilemma. This little bandit developed a taste for bland sugar balls.

Raccoons (Procyon lotor) are smart and cunning little fellows. Their impressive dexterity allows them to access a varied diet. These generalists will eat basically anything and live anywhere, making them a common sight all throughout North America. Raccoons feast on anything from aquatic critters to trashcan leftovers. The latter part of their scientific name means washer in Latin. Raccoons often dip their food in water before they eat it. Some hypothesize this is to improve their sense of touch. Others think it due to their preference for aquatic animals. Either way this behavior is pretty darn cute.

Many consider these nocturnal mammals a pest, however I am impressed by their adaptability. The populations of many species suffer from the habitat destruction caused by humans yet raccoons thrive in urban spaces. I think they are an interesting and exciting animal.