Cute but Cunning: Lessons Learned from Living with Urban Raccoons in Toronto

Welcome to the wild side of city living! In the concrete jungle where skyscrapers reach
for the sky and taxis honk incessantly, a group of mischievous creatures has perfected
their survival skills. Yes, we’re talking about those fluffy yet cunning urban raccoons that
have taken Toronto by storm! These sly critters have managed to adapt seamlessly to
our bustling metropolitan lives, leaving many Torontonians in awe (and sometimes
irritation). Join us as we dive into the world of these adorable troublemakers and
uncover some valuable lessons learned from cohabitating with them. From trash can
heists to late-night rendezvous on balconies, get ready for an eye-opening adventure
filled with cuteness, surprises, and maybe even a few ransacked garbage cans along
the way. Hold onto your hats (or rather, your recycling bins) as we embark on this witty
escapade through Toronto’s raccoon kingdom!

Living with raccoons in Toronto

Toronto, the bustling city known for its diverse culture and vibrant urban life, is also
home to a large population of raccoons. These furry creatures have adapted well to the
city’s landscape and can be found roaming the streets, parks, and even backyards of
this metropolis.

While many may find raccoons as cute and harmless animals, living with them in
Toronto has taught residents some valuable lessons about coexisting with these urban
dwellers. In this article, we will delve into the realities of living with raccoons in Toronto
and share some important insights on how to peacefully share our space with them.
Firstly, it is essential to understand that raccoons are wild animals and should be treated
as such. Despite their adorable appearance, they possess natural instincts that make
them cunning and adaptable creatures. They are scavengers by nature and have no
fear or hesitation when it comes to searching for food in urban settings.

This bold behaviour often leads them into residential areas where they can easily
access garbage cans and compost bins. It is not uncommon for homeowners to wake
up to overturned trash bins or scattered garbage due to raccoon activity during the
night. This can be frustrating for homeowners but understanding why these incidents
occur can help us find ways to prevent them from happening again.

Furthermore, many Torontonians have experienced firsthand the damage caused by
raccoons who have made their way into attics or crawl spaces of homes. Raccoons are
skilled climbers, making it easy for them to enter through openings such as chimneys or
damaged roofs. Once inside a warm and cozy attic, they may start nesting or causing
destruction by tearing apart insulation or chewing on electrical wires.

Living with raccoons also means learning about their habits and behaviours. For
instance, these creatures are nocturnal animals which means they are most active at
night when humans are asleep. They also hibernate in the wintertime, so their presence
may be reduced during that season.

It is crucial to remember that raccoons are still wild animals and should not be
approached or fed by humans. Despite their cute appearance, they can become
aggressive if they feel threatened or cornered. It is essential to respect their space and
admire them from a safe distance.

Living with raccoons in Toronto has its challenges but also offers valuable lessons on
coexisting with wildlife. By understanding their behaviours and taking preventive
measures such as securing garbage bins, we can peacefully share our urban spaces
with these cunning creatures. In the following sections of this article, we will explore
some important tips on how to deal with common raccoon-related scenarios in a
responsible and humane manner.

Understanding Urban Raccoons: Facts and Figures

Urban raccoons have become a common sight in many cities across North America,
including Toronto. These nocturnal creatures have adapted to urban environments and
are often seen rummaging through garbage cans or roaming the streets at night. While
they may seem cute and harmless, it is important to understand some facts and figures
about these clever critters.

Appearance & Behaviour

Raccoons are medium-sized mammals with distinctive masked facial markings and
ringed tails. They can weigh anywhere from 8-20 pounds and measure up to 3 feet in
length including their tail. These animals are highly adaptable and have an omnivorous
diet, which means they can eat both plants and animals. In urban areas, raccoons often
feed on, discarded food items, pet food left outside, insects, fruits, vegetables, eggs,
and small rodents.

Social Structure

Contrary to popular belief that raccoons are solitary animals, they actually have a
complex social structure. They live in groups called “bands,” which include mothers with
their young offspring known as kits. The size of a band can vary depending on the
availability of food resources but typically consists of 4-5 individuals.

Nocturnal Habits

One interesting fact about urban raccoons is that they are primarily nocturnal creatures.
This means they sleep during the day in dens such as tree hollows or burrows
underground and come out at night to forage for food. However, due to their adaptability
to urban environments where there is a constant light source from streetlights or
buildings’ glow; some raccoons may also be active during dusk or dawn.

Disease Carriers

While adorable-looking creatures like these may seem harmless,
raccoons can carry diseases that can be harmful to humans if not handled properly.
One such disease is rabies; although cases of rabies in urban raccoons are rare it’s still
important to take precautions. Raccoons can also carry parasites such as fleas, ticks,
and roundworms, which can be transmitted to pets or humans.


According to the Toronto Wildlife Centre, it is estimated that there are over 100
raccoons per square kilometre in urban areas of the city. This high population density is
attributed to the abundant food sources available in cities compared to their natural
Understanding some facts and figures about urban raccoons can help us coexist with
these cunning creatures peacefully. While they may cause mischief by getting into
garbage cans or making a mess in our yards, it’s important to remember that we have
invaded their natural habitat and it’s up to us to find ways to peacefully coexist with

The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly: Pros and Cons of Having Raccoon Neighbours

Raccoons are a common sight in urban areas, and for many, they can be both charming
and troublesome. While there is no denying that these masked creatures have a certain
cuteness to them, their cunning and mischievous nature can make them challenging
neighbours to live with. In this section, we’ll dive into the good, the bad, and the ugly
aspects of having raccoons as your close neighbours.

The Good:

One of the main advantages of having raccoon neighbours is that they play an essential
role in maintaining a healthy ecosystem. As omnivores, they eat a variety of foods like
insects, fruits, rodents, and other small animals. This makes them crucial for keeping
these populations under control and preventing overpopulation in urban areas.
Additionally, when foraging for food in gardens or garbage bins, their paws act as
natural rototillers by aerating and fertilizing the soil.

Another benefit of living with raccoons is that they are incredibly intelligent animals.
Their problem-solving skills are impressive as they have been observed finding creative
ways to access food sources or solve puzzles set by researchers. This intelligence also
makes them great learners as some studies have shown that they can even recognize
shapes and patterns.

The Bad

Despite their positive contributions to the environment, raccoons can also create
numerous problems for homeowners. One major issue is property damage caused by
their curious nature and sharp claws. They may rip through screens on windows or
doors in search of food or shelter; dig up lawns while searching for grubs; or damage
roofs while looking for potential entry points into attics.

Additionally, raccoons carry various diseases such as rabies, salmonellosis,
leptospirosis which can be transmitted to humans and pets through scratches or bites
from infected animals. They also leave droppings which contain harmful bacteria that
can contaminate soil or plants in your garden.

The Ugly

Raccoons are notorious for their love for trash. With a keen sense of smell and nimble
paws, they can quickly rummage through garbage bins to find their next meal. This not
only creates a mess but also poses a potential health hazard.

Moreover, they can become quite aggressive when guarding their food sources or
feeling threatened. This can be dangerous for small pets or children and may require
professional intervention to remove the raccoon safely from your property.

While having raccoon neighbours may seem cute at first glance, it’s essential to
consider both the pros and cons of coexisting with them in urban settings. While they
play an important role in maintaining the ecosystem, their troublesome behaviours and
potential risks must be taken into account when living alongside them.

Tips for Coexisting with Urban Raccoons: How to Keep Them Away From Your Property

Raccoons have become a common sight in urban areas, and while they may be cute
and entertaining, they can also cause havoc in your property. From rummaging through
trashcans to damaging gardens and even breaking into homes, raccoons are known for
their destructive behaviour.

However, there are ways to coexist with these clever creatures without causing harm or
inconvenience. Here are some tips on how to keep urban raccoons away from your

1. Secure All Trash Cans

Raccoons are notorious for their love of raiding trash cans in search of food. To prevent
them from creating a mess in your yard, make sure to secure all trash cans with tightfitting
lids or bungee cords. You can also opt for animal-proof garbage cans that have
locking mechanisms or heavy-duty lids.

2. Do Not Leave Pet Food Outside

Just like humans, raccoons love food and will take advantage of any opportunity to get
their paws on some tasty treats. If you have outdoor pets, make sure to bring in their
food bowls after they finish eating. Leaving pet food out overnight will only attract
raccoons and other wildlife.

3. Clean Up Fallen Fruits & Nuts

If you have fruit trees or nut-bearing plants in your yard, collect fallen fruits and nuts
regularly. These can serve as an easy meal for hungry raccoons and also attract other
animals like squirrels.

4. Use Motion-Activated Lights/Sprinklers

Raccoons tend to avoid well-lit areas as they prefer darkness when scavenging for food
at night. Consider installing motion-activated lights around your property’s perimeter or
near potential entry points like decks or sheds.
Similarly, motion-activated sprinklers can startle raccoons with bursts of water when
they come near your home, sending them scurrying away.

5. Eliminate Potential Dens

Raccoons look for warm and dry areas to build their dens, which can include spaces
under decks, near sheds or firewood piles, and even inside attics. Regularly inspect
your property for any potential den sites and seal off entry points like open crawl spaces
or gaps in your roof.

While it may seem challenging to coexist with urban raccoons, following these tips can
help keep them away from your property. Always remember to never feed or approach
raccoons as they are wild animals and can become aggressive if they feel threatened.
When in doubt, seek professional help from a licensed wildlife control expert. With
proper precautions and education on how to peacefully coexist with raccoons.

You CAN Live in harmony with Raccoons in the Greater Toronto Area!

Raccoons may seem like pesky pests to some, but by understanding and respecting
their place in the urban ecosystem of Toronto, we can learn to coexist with these clever
creatures. As we have explored in this blog post, there are many lessons to be learned
from living with raccoons in our city.

First and foremost, it is important to remember that raccoons are wild animals and
should not be treated as pets. This means avoiding any attempts at feeding or handling
them. While they may appear cute and friendly, raccoons can become aggressive if
provoked or feel threatened. It is also crucial to ensure that all garbage bins and
composts are secured properly to discourage raccoons from rummaging through them
for food.

Another important lesson is to recognize the value of biodiversity in urban areas.
Raccoons play a crucial role in keeping our city clean by scavenging for food scraps
and other waste left behind by humans. They also contribute to plant dispersal through
their diet of fruits and seeds, helping maintain a healthy balance in our environment.
Additionally, learning about the behaviour and habits of raccoons can help us better
understand how best to live alongside them. For example, knowing that they are most
active at night can help us plan when to put out or bring back in our garbage bins. We
can also make small changes around our homes such as sealing potential entry points
like chimneys or holes under decks, preventing raccoons from entering our homes.

We must acknowledge the importance of respectful coexistence with nature.
Urbanization has greatly impacted natural habitats for wildlife like raccoons who have
adapted to thrive in urban areas as a result. As humans continue to expand into their
territories, it is crucial that we take responsibility for creating livable spaces for both
ourselves and native species like raccoons.

Living with raccoons in the Greater Toronto Area may have its challenges but by
respecting their role in the ecosystem, taking preventive measures, and learning to
coexist with them respectfully, we can find a balance and truly appreciate the beauty of
these sneaky creatures. So let us continue to observe and learn from these cute but
cunning animals as we

Reviewed By Matthew Sawyer

Matthew is the founder and business director of TruTech Pest & Wildlife Control. A Structural Exterminator with government licensure and training from Guelph University. As a dedicated member of both the Canadian Pest Management Association and the Structural Pest  Management Association of Ontario, he takes great pride in his profession.

Matthew’s extensive experience has made him a valuable and forward-thinking  member of the pest control community. He consistently strives to improve the  effectiveness and environmental impact of pest and wildlife control methods.

Construction Zone Defense

Pests in Toronto Construction Zone