Friday, November 20, 2009

Empirical observations of raccoon intelligence

We have a huge problem with wild critters and the ranch is crawling with furry varmints of every type:

Muskrats, coons, squirrels, foxes, all love our ranch

But the worst are the raccoons, and they are insanely difficult to trap alive. Hardly a week goes by that Jen3 does not have to bury a raccoon road pizza:

Racoon disposal test

I used a Have-a-Hart trap baited with a fresh egg, and night after night, old Mr. Coon managed to get the egg out without springing the device.

I finally did trap the smelly beast and relocated him far out in the woods, where he could steal our eggs no more.

Raccoons are also problematic because they have no fear of dogs, and the dogs hate them with a passion:

Racoons have no fear of dogs

But how smart are the coons? I found this golf ball, out in the word, about a quarter mile from my golf area:

Racoon-chewed golf ball

As we can see, old Mr. Coon mistook the ball for an egg treat and scurried off into the words with his prize. He did not give-up too easily either, and judging by the teeth marks, he spent quite awhile trying to crack-open this strange new egg.

It's interesting that the recoon appears to have an instinctual desire to covet round white objects, hardwired perhaps . . .