Proof that Toronto really is the Raccoon capital of the world

Proof that Toronto really is the Raccoon capital of the world

Photo by Neil McIntosh

Local media was abuzz when NPR repeated the claim that Toronto is the world’s raccoon capital. Below, we look at some of the year’s weirdest raccoon-related news:

The raccoon obesity crisis
Toronto’s raccoons seem to have no empathy when it comes to wreaking havoc on our homes and backyards, but we’ve been unknowingly dishing out revenge all along. A 2018 study by Laurentian University found that the city’s raccoons are fatter and have higher blood glucose than their counterparts in other parts of the province. The reason? Our garbage diets. Turns out tossing that unfinished burger could give an unsuspecting trash panda diabetes. 

The raccoon that treated a woman’s home like a pantry
Recently, a masked bandit busted into a Toronto woman’s kitchen and ate all of her bread. (Which isn’t that surprising. City raccoons pretty much always act like starving college kids home for Thanksgiving.)

The raccoon that got itself in a sticky situation
Earlier this year, the Toronto Wildlife Centre’s team saved a racoon that managed to get its head stuck in a jar. The entire ordeal, featuring the angry little guy being slam-dunked into a net (as part of the rescue mission), was captured on video. 

The raccoon attack
Global News warned viewers in February that aggressive racoons may have distemper—a virus that can spread to pets. A Scarborough man found out the hard way after he was bitten and chased down the street on a Sunday morning. Toronto Animal Services, however, reported that the raccoon only made contact with his shoe.

The raccoon home invasion 
Like something out of a Toronto-themed horror movie, an east end couple spent two years dealing with a full-scale raccoon assault on their home. One night, they heard scratching coming from behind the wall of their master bedroom. The sound got more intense until, eventually, a racoon busted through the drywall. 

The raccoon that shut down a school
Ryerson University briefly closed part of its campus in May after a raccoon decided to take a breather on top of a sign in one of the buildings.

The raccoons that outsmarted the city 
Toronto decided to up its defence in 2016 when it started distributing “raccoon proof” green bins—a project that cost the city $31 million. But beaches resident Graeme Boyce was among the first to discover that the bins might not be as secure as the city claimed. Later, Toronto Star reporter Amy Dempsey—armed with a special camera and a whole bunch of chicken—was determined to find out the truth about the new green bins. She ended up proving that the raccoons have outsmarted us again.