Raccoons are fascinating animals. While many feel they are a nuisance due to their habit of breaking into trash cans (which has earned them the nickname of “trash pandas”) and making their way into homes and attics, they are actually very useful animals to have around. They eat insects and other critters considered pests and are actually very resourceful and intelligent. Here are 20 cool facts about raccoons.

1. Raccoons are members of the family Procyonidae, which also includes other animals such as ringtails and coatis.

2. Raccoons are native to North America and can be found from Canada all the way down to Panama.

3. The name “raccoon” comes from the Algonquian word “aroughcun”, meaning “he who scratches with his hands”.

4. Raccoons are excellent climbers and can climb almost any surface thanks to their sharp claws and nimble paws.

5. Raccoons are nocturnal animals, meaning they are most active at night.

6. Raccoons have very good eyesight and can see in near-darkness.

7. Raccoons have a very sensitive sense of touch and identify many items through touch before using their other senses.

8. Raccoons will often “wash” their food in water before eating it.

9. Raccoons are omnivorous, meaning they will eat both plants and animals. Some of their favorite foods include fruits, nuts, insects, frogs, and small mammals.

10. Raccoons are excellent swimmers and have been known to dive for up to 30 seconds at a time in search of food.

11. Raccoons are one of the few mammal species that can open doors – thanks to their dexterous paws and opposable thumbs.

12. Raccoons are very intelligent animals and have been known to solve complex puzzles and escape from captivity.

13. Raccoons are one of the mammal species that can catch and transmit rabies. They can also carry and transmit canine distemper and leptospirosis.

14. In some areas, raccoons are considered a pest due to their habit of raiding garbage cans and gardens in search of food.

15. Raccoon pelts were once popular items for use in clothing, but this is no longer the case due to the decline in raccoon populations.

16. Raccoon babies are called kits.

17. The mask-like markings on the raccoon’s face reduce glare and help with their night vision.

18. Raccoons have excellent hearing, so good that they can detect even the movement of earthworms underground.

19. Raccoons can rotate their hind feet backwards to help them climb down trees head-first.

20. US President Calvin Coolidge had a pet raccoon in the White House named Rebecca. She was a regular at White House events and even had an engraved collar that said, “White House Raccoon”.

Raccoons are fascinating creatures but like any wildlife, they can be unpredictable and dangerous. If you have a problem with a raccoon that has taken up residence in your home or yard that needs removed, call Pee Dee Wildlife Control.