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  • Narrator: In 2016, Toronto spent $31 million

  • to fend off a raccoon invasion.

  • The masked critters were everywhere,

  • pooping on porches, stopping traffic,

  • and infesting attics, and they're not

  • just taking over Toronto.

  • Reports of raccoon vandalism have plagued cities

  • like Portland, Chicago, and New York City,

  • and as raccoon-ridden cities know,

  • we can't seem to stop them.

  • Between the 1930s and 1980s, the US raccoon population

  • increased twentyfold, and it's still going strong.

  • From 2014 to 2015, raccoon complaints

  • in Brooklyn nearly doubled,

  • so how are these masked bandits making it in big cities?

  • Well, for starters, they can digest just about anything

  • from fish and acorns in the forest

  • to dog food and pizza on the street,

  • and just like humans, raccoons usually prefer the pizza,

  • which is why they flock from woodland

  • to city in the first place.

  • In Brooklyn, for example, captured raccoons sometimes

  • get relocated to Prospect Park and nearby forests,

  • but wildlife biologists report they often head right back

  • to the dumpster-packed city streets.

  • It's just about impossible to stop them,

  • as Toronto discovered after it spend millions

  • on raccoon-proof waste bins.

  • Unlike traditional bins, the lids had special gravity locks,

  • which open when a garbage truck arm

  • turns the bin upside down.

  • The idea was that if you cut off their major food source,

  • they would skip town, but that didn't happen.

  • In fact, one year later, a wildlife-control business

  • reported that raccoon-related work had doubled.

  • Finally, a clever raccoon was caught on camera

  • jailbreaking the new bin.

  • How did she outwit an entire city?

  • Well, study after study has revealed that raccoons

  • are considerably smarter than your average medium-sized

  • critter. Turns out raccoon brains have more neurons packed

  • into their brains than other animals of the same size.

  • In fact, they have the same neuron density as primates,

  • who are notoriously smart, and their clever brains help

  • explain why raccoons can open complex locks,

  • solve puzzles with ease, and even come up with solutions

  • to problems that scientists didn't think of.

  • Add to that their ultrasensitive hands,

  • er, paws, which have four times as many sensory receptors

  • as their feet. This helps them to feel subtle textures

  • like special trashcan lids in Toronto

  • and even open locks without looking.

  • And unfortunately for us,

  • driving them away is a fool's errand.

  • Studies show that after mass removal,

  • populations tend to rebound

  • to their previous levels in a year.

  • After all, females can start giving birth

  • at just 1 year old and can have as many as eight kits

  • in a single year.

  • This quick breeding is also why experts say mass cullings

  • aren't a long-term solution.

  • And while they're awfully cute,

  • the damage they can cause is not.

  • When raccoons nest in buildings,

  • they can destroy insulation,

  • chew up wires, and tear holes through walls,

  • and it can cost you hundreds or even thousands

  • of dollars to repair that kind of damage.

  • One raccoon was even caught

  • destroying over $3,000 worth of artwork,

  • and just removing them can cost $300 to $500 a pop.

  • Plus, the poop they leave behind can contain roundworms

  • and other parasites, which can enter your lungs

  • when you breathe or get tracked into your home by your pets.

  • Even worse, raccoons can transmit diseases

  • like canine distemper and, in rare cases, rabies.

  • So it's understandable that cities are trying

  • to find some way, any way, to manage them.

  • Can't do a thing about it, just chase them off.

  • They come back.

  • Narrator: If nothing else, it's a lesson learned.

  • We may have built the cities,

  • but we don't necessarily rule them.

Narrator: In 2016, Toronto spent $31 million

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Why Cities Are Battling Raccoons And Failing

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    林宜悉 posted on 2020/10/24
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