Toronto's trash pandas reach for the top
August 31, 2018 10:01 AM   Subscribe

Rocky, do you love trash? Are you eating? Say you'll never ever leave us. Amy Dempsey of The Toronto Star talked with a researcher weighing this year's racoonsicles, baited her neighbourhood's green bins with rotisserie chicken, painstakingly set up surveillance cameras, and got into prolonged discussions with city employees about the definitions of "raccoon-resistant" versus "raccoon-proof". Result? "Toronto built a better green bin and — oops — maybe a smarter raccoon."

There may be a commemorative tea mug.
posted by maudlin (31 comments total) 26 users marked this as a favorite
 
This is great storytelling -- truly the mark of a skilled racoonteur.
posted by Holy Zarquon's Singing Fish at 10:10 AM on August 31, 2018 [46 favorites]


Jeff Goldblum nods beatifically
posted by turkeybrain at 10:18 AM on August 31, 2018 [4 favorites]


this is very timely - a toronto-based relative has had racoon intruders using her (allegedly racoon proofed) cat door this week. anecdata and all but it seems to be true.
posted by Exceptional_Hubris at 10:24 AM on August 31, 2018


holy cow the videos in this are SO CUTE, thank you
posted by egypturnash at 10:24 AM on August 31, 2018 [4 favorites]


Raised in raccoon-free 1970s Edmonton...

So Alberta has managed to rid itself of rats, Ted Cruz, and raccoons?
posted by TedW at 10:26 AM on August 31, 2018 [7 favorites]


Mentioning that raccoons can grow up to 30lbs feels like burying the lede here.
posted by Space Coyote at 10:32 AM on August 31, 2018 [7 favorites]


Go raccoons!

With all the species whose habitats we've invaded, it's generally heartening to see some of them thriving in the new environment, inconveniences be damned.
posted by No One Ever Does at 10:42 AM on August 31, 2018 [9 favorites]


i love these pudgy lil jerks with their tiny people hands
posted by poffin boffin at 10:48 AM on August 31, 2018 [17 favorites]


30 lbs seems a bit low to me. We have some pretty big and fat raccoons in our neighbourhood that must be more than that.
posted by any portmanteau in a storm at 10:53 AM on August 31, 2018 [4 favorites]


Another success for the Raccoon Assistance Bureau for Intellectual Development (RABID)!
posted by TheWhiteSkull at 10:54 AM on August 31, 2018 [8 favorites]


I'm waiting for this article though.
MacDonald is also a volunteer animal behaviourist for the Toronto Zoo, where she once used a vial of Calvin Klein’s Obsession perfume to put Sumatran tigers in an amorous mood, an intervention that resulted in three tiger cubs. “It works for leopards, too,” she told me. “It’s like catnip.”
I care super deeply about raccoons getting one over on humans, but also about big cats and their perfume preferences.
posted by jeather at 11:14 AM on August 31, 2018 [22 favorites]


My friend swears a raccoon threw an apple at him.
posted by Damienmce at 11:23 AM on August 31, 2018 [10 favorites]


30 lbs seems a bit low to me. We have some pretty big and fat raccoons in our neighbourhood that must be more than that.

Big raccoons, you say?
posted by The Underpants Monster at 11:25 AM on August 31, 2018 [1 favorite]


That video of Attempt #3 is so hilarious. The raccoon turns to stare into the camera like "Did you see that? Okay now watch this!"
posted by ThatCanadianGirl at 11:53 AM on August 31, 2018 [4 favorites]


Raccoons: green bins :: apes: monolith

I reckon the only thing that will keep a determined raccoon out of a green bin is a combination lock. And even then, if it has seen someone unlock it, I give it 5-3 odds of getting in.
posted by ricochet biscuit at 12:08 PM on August 31, 2018 [1 favorite]


Raccoons don’t learn through teaching, she said, quashing my theory of genius raccoons leading seminars. They simply go to where they’ve had success before. “So it’s not like it’s suddenly going to spread like wildfire,” she said. “It may come up in little pockets throughout neighbourhoods.”

I dunno. I have witnessed them working in tandem.

One addendum to that story. We had the largest size of Toronto grey (i.e., garbage) bin depicted here. I shooed off the lid-holding raccoon with the butt end of a shovel (I literally had to poke it in the belly to get it to go away), and then sat down on the front steps to wait to see what the other raccoon was going to do. If it couldn't get out I was going to tip over the bin and let it wander away. A few minutes later I saw the lid move, and a paw emerge from the gap. It eventually squeezed itself out. The bin was pretty much empty, and its inner sides were sheer and smooth plastic, and it had managed to shimmy its way up and out.

They find a way, man.
posted by mandolin conspiracy at 12:13 PM on August 31, 2018 [10 favorites]


Oh, so this post isn't about a New York Dolls-inspired noise band from Toronto named The Trash Pandas that has somehow charted a single? Bummer
posted by NoMich at 12:29 PM on August 31, 2018 [2 favorites]


As a design engineer and a raccoon fan, I love this article. It should be taught in design school. When the sales rep says "Your brand new lid was probably also broken" I just had to laugh. I'm betting that a look at their contract with the city would perhaps reveal why they are reluctant to do a root-cause analysis on their garbage lids.
posted by muddgirl at 12:34 PM on August 31, 2018 [3 favorites]


It might just be easier to see which corporates in the municipal plastics industry donated to the current mayor and which of those got the green bin contract …
posted by scruss at 12:49 PM on August 31, 2018 [1 favorite]


The new green bins are great though. Raccoons were getting into our old one almost daily and I was the one who had to clean it up. Since getting the new ones it hasn't happened once.
posted by any portmanteau in a storm at 2:26 PM on August 31, 2018 [1 favorite]


Since nobody else has mentioned it, I'll just say I see what you did there, and now I've got that dang song in my head. Interesting article, thanks!
posted by misozaki at 3:07 PM on August 31, 2018


See, this is why you should do your user testing before you ship your product.
posted by carter at 5:10 PM on August 31, 2018


how do you actually do that on this kind of thing, though? do they have raccoon consultants getting 1099s for spending all night outside the factory trying to break into the test bins?
posted by poffin boffin at 7:22 PM on August 31, 2018 [2 favorites]




I dunno. I have witnessed them working in tandem.

OMG Now I need to see them riding around the rim of the dumpster on a tiny bicycle built for two.
posted by The Underpants Monster at 7:47 PM on August 31, 2018


[restaurant]

RACCOON (in trench coat): one egg

WAITER: one egg? *suspicious* you’re not from around here, are you?

RACCOON: t-two eggs?

WAITER: ah yes, that’s a normal quantity of eggs

RACCOON: *excitedly* five eggs!

WAITER: *eyes narrow*

by clean slate @PleaseBeGneiss - twitter
posted by sebastienbailard at 9:10 PM on August 31, 2018 [5 favorites]


Next step up in raccoon evoloution: Your job is taken by a raccoon.
posted by Daddy-O at 5:41 PM on September 1, 2018


reach for the top

This is where I went with that:

Soundtrack.

Context.
posted by mandolin conspiracy at 11:53 AM on September 2, 2018 [1 favorite]


How do you actually do that on this kind of thing, though? do they have raccoon consultants getting 1099s for spending all night outside the factory trying to break into the test bins?

If they hired me, I imagine I could figure out a test procedure involving, oh, green bins, movie cameras, and rotisserie chickens. I know a town that has the raccoons.
posted by Gilgamesh's Chauffeur at 3:38 PM on September 2, 2018 [1 favorite]


This is all part of a scheme for Toronto to elect a raccoon mayor by 2050.
posted by mhum at 10:02 AM on September 4, 2018 [1 favorite]


I live a wee bit north of "The 6ix" and have a plain old latch on green bin. Fortunately I have a garage so bin stays in there and I don't dare put it out the night before collection day.

My "blue bin" lives on back patio. If I put anything in it that might be coon bait (cat or dog food tin, empty McDonald's bag) I place a bbq propane tank on top to try to thwart them. Sometimes it works.

Gotta respect the clever little bastards but few things suck worse than "getting cooned". Studies seem to show approx. 200/square mile in Toronto area. That's crazy, and probably conservative.
posted by raider at 1:11 PM on September 4, 2018 [1 favorite]


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