Raccoons Figure Out Toronoto’s Secure Trash Bins In A Matter Of Weeks

Grace Higgins | September 24th, 2019

When it comes to Toronto the raccoons or the trash pandas as the world affectionately calls them are known to be uber raccoons. They are more intent on getting into your trash than anywhere else in the world, and well there are hundreds of them. Toronto has been called the raccoon capital of the world.

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In fact, the raccoon infestation was so bad that the city spent over CA$31 million on creating raccoon resistant organic green-colored waste bins in 2016. It was the latest development in what Canadian media have dubbed the Raccoon War. At first, there were worries that the fat raccoons had become so used to stealing and eating people’s trash that they would simply starve to death once the trash bins were in place.

However, an animal behaviorist and raccoon expert Suzanne MacDonald had been studying the situation for some time, measuring and weighing dead raccoons. MacDonald had been doing this since a year before the green bin rollout, as a way to check if the raccoon’s body mass index changed. And well she confirmed that they were not starving to death, in fact, she thought they were not losing weight at all.

The secure bins use a rotating handle on the lid that opens a gravity lock on the inside, so the bin can be opened by the rotating latch or by turning the bin upside down by 110 degrees. The latter is there to allow garbage trucks to easily open the bins when they collect the trash. And in all the company’s testing, the raccoons were unable to open the bins as they do not have opposable thumbs.

Yet stories came out during the testing phase that just days after the secure bins were put in place that some were being opened by the raccoons. City officials and the bin maker blamed faulty bins for the break-ins, and replaced them, only to find the raccoons broke in again. And a couple of months later, as if the raccoons had posted a manual on how to open these new bins, the whole raccoon population of Toronto knew how to do it.

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