Toronto, Canada is known as the “Raccoon Capital of the World.” The city is built on a system of ravines that provide raccoons with access to plenty of fresh water. There are no natural predators living in the area. Toronto is estimated to have a population of 200 raccoons per square mile. Some grow as large as a medium-size dog because food is so readily available.
Raccoons are a serious problem in Toronto. They frequently tip over garbage cans to get to food and create messes in yards, driveways, and streets. They are also a concern because they can carry rabies and their feces can carry roundworm larvae that can cause illness in humans.
Wild male raccoons typically have ranges as large as 20 square miles. In Toronto, however, researchers found that raccoons have a home range of just three square blocks. They have all the food they need in a small area and do not need to cross any major roads.
Some people urged city officials to have some of the raccoons euthanized, but Mayor John Tory decided to take a different approach. The city has decided to purchase $25 million worth of raccoon-proof garbage bins.
The new trash bins are much larger than the ones the city has used up until now. In order to unlock them, it is necessary to use a twisting motion that is physically impossible for raccoons. The bins have been tested, and raccoons struggled for hours to open them, were unsuccessful, and gave up.