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The Raccoon that Dumpster Dives

On sister site MNN.com, Christian Cotroneo tells us how raccoons can teach us about tolerance. In his subhead he asks: “Urban anarchists or lovable rogues?” Christian describes the situation in Toronto, where he and I both live; “where an estimated 100,000 raccoons live, brazen acts of banditry and dumpster diving have led to a particularly prickly co-existence with humans.”

Now, as the photo on top demonstrates, I have an up close and personal relationship with urban raccoons. There is no question that I would much rather share the city with them than the baby-sized rats poor Melissa has to deal with in New York City. But all of our raccoons are baby- and toddler-sized, and they have better hand-eye coordination than most children.

The problem in Toronto comes from the fact that there are lots of trees for them to hang out in, ravines to cavort in, and most importantly, the entire city as been turned into a raccoon delicatessen since the “green bin” organic recycling program began, where every homeowner in the city puts their food waste and leftovers in a plastic container that they quickly learned how to open.

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