How smart are raccoons?

How Smart Are Raccoons?

Raccoons are captivating masked bandits of the animal kingdom. They have fascinated and confused us for generations. Raccoons are opportunistic scavengers and can eat from trash cans. As we see raccoons, we notice how well they search through our garbage or solve tricky puzzles, one question often comes to mind: “How smart are raccoons?” 

If you’ve ever wondered how clever raccoons are, you’re not alone. Many wildlife experts and raccoon enthusiasts often debate this question. You’ve reached the right webpage if you’re here with the same curiosity. In this article, I’ll explore raccoons’ intelligence and uncover their impressive skills and smarts. So, let’s read…

How smart are raccoons?

Raccoons (Procyon lotor) are highly intelligent creatures. Their brain-to-body size ratio is quite impressive, akin to that of some primates. Raccoons have lots of brain cells called neurons that help them process information and make connections. Raccoons have IQ levels lower than monkeys but higher than dogs and cats. Their intelligence is quite similar to that of monkeys.

  • Raccoons are not as smart as humans, but they are enough smart to perform various tasks about reasoning, memory, and planning, such as stacking blocks or retrieving food from a container with water.
  • Interestingly, they can understand some human words and gestures, such as no or yes. Urban raccoons are more intelligent as they learn a lot from humans by observing them compared to wild raccoons.
  • Recent tests on urban raccoons indicate that they’re smarter than your typical cat or dog, coming close to monkeys in IQ.

These raccoons are incredibly curious which makes them highly smart, adaptable, and creative.

Their intelligence is demonstrated in various ways:

Raccoons are intelligent creatures, and they show their smarts in several ways:

1. Problem Solving: 

Raccoons are excellent problem solvers. They can open doors, locks, and containers to access food. They are also good at figuring out puzzles and navigating spaces to get to their meals.

2. Memory and IQ:

Raccoons have a strong memory. They can remember where they’ve found food, even if they only visit those places occasionally. This memory helps them to survive in cities by returning to reliable food sources.

3. Tool Usage: 

Additionally, raccoons in the wild have been observed using tools like sticks. They use these tools to dig for insects or move objects to reach their food. This demonstrates their advanced problem-solving abilities.

4. Social Learning: 

Raccoons learn by watching the behavior of other raccoons. This social learning enables them to acquire new problem-solving skills. Interestingly, these skills make them unable to adapt to different environments. Thus, they learn to face the challenge

5. Highly Adaptable: 

Raccoons are highly adaptable animals that can adjust to live in a variety of environments, including urban areas. Thus, Their ability to adjust to changing circumstances and find new food sources is a testament to their intelligence.

6. Effective Communication:

Raccoons are good at communication. They communicate with each other through vocalizations, body language, and scent marking. Additionally, they also use physical contact and grooming to bond with their group. These communication methods highlight the cleverness and adaptability of these resourceful creatures.

7. Highly Curious nature:

Raccoons are one of the animals in the animal kingdom that possess an inquisitive nature. Consequently, their curiosity is a clear indicator of their intelligence. This curiosity causes them to explore and examine novel objects and environments. Thus, raccoons’ curiosity shows that they are smart because they can explore new things. 

Experiments about raccoons’ intelligence: The Clever Critters!

Scientists have conducted various tests to guess the raccoon’s intelligence. Here are the results of some experiments:

1. Water Displacement Test:

Raccoons were given a cylinder of water with a marshmallow just out of reach. Some raccoons figured out how to raise the water level by dropping stones, showing problem-solving skills.

2. Object Manipulation Tests:

Raccoons have demonstrated their ability to manipulate objects to reach food. For instance, they learned to use a stick to open a door for a meal.

3. Maze Tests:

Raccoons can navigate complex mazes. They were able to learn mazes with multiple turns.

4. Memory Tests:

Raccoons exhibited excellent memory by recalling the location of hidden food even after 24 hours.

So, it is proven that raccoons are smart and adaptable creatures. Consequently, they can effectively learn new skills and solve problems.


Raccoons are very smart and curious mammals native to North America. Their brain-to-body size ratio is quite impressive making them enough smart to deal with the challenges of their life. Raccoons’ brain cells called neurons help them process information and make connections. They have high IQs that help to solve the problems. Additionally, they have effective communication and are very adaptable mammals. All of these abilities of raccoons demonstrate that raccoons are very smart creatures.


Is A raccoon as smart as a dog?

Dogs and raccoons have different types of intelligence, and it’s challenging to say one is smarter than the other. Dogs are great at social and cooperative tasks, while raccoons are clever problem solvers. The comparison depends on the specific skills you’re looking at.

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