Raccoon mom and offspring form procyonid chain to rescue cub

All I can say is that we’ve had videos similar to this one before, and they show that raccoons (Procyon lotor) are a lot smarter than we think. (See, for instance, herehere, and here.) Below is the YouTube caption of a video posted just two days ago:

Occurred June 16, 2016 / Camdenton High School, Camdenton, Missouri, USA

“I am a Police Officer in Camdenton Missouri and was working security one evening at the local High School. I saw the mother raccoon on the wall with one of her babies as she was attempting to get her other baby over the wall. The mother raccoon leaned over the wall as the baby held onto her legs so she could reach out and grab the other baby and pull him up. Great example of a mothers love and teamwork!” -Chris Williams

Now how did the baby at the top figure out to hold its mother’s legs? Another question: why aren’t scientists studying raccoon cognition as avidly as they study porpoise cognition?

h/t: Anne-Marie


  1. GBJames
    Posted June 20, 2016 at 3:05 pm | Permalink


  2. gary
    Posted June 20, 2016 at 3:17 pm | Permalink

    The little one holding her legs is a pretty good example of problem solving. I’ll venture they learn from tree climbing.

    • gravelinspector-Aidan
      Posted June 20, 2016 at 3:24 pm | Permalink

      Fair hypothesis.

  3. Heather Hastie
    Posted June 20, 2016 at 3:25 pm | Permalink

    This is so cool!

    We humans are so confident about our own smarts we often don’t even notice that of other animals.

    The Big Question: do raccoons need a god to make them look after their babies so well and if so, what does it look like, and did this raccoon thank Him for His help here? Is there a raccoon anti-Christ, and did he overcome the god for long enough that the baby went over the edge in the first place? Or did the god make it happen to make the family remember Him and worship Him.

    And if these are stupid questions to apply to raccoons, why aren’t they stupid to apply to humans?

    • HaggisForBrains
      Posted June 21, 2016 at 5:07 am | Permalink


  4. Randall Schenck
    Posted June 20, 2016 at 3:26 pm | Permalink

    Raccoons are very smart and also full of it. They love to take breaks on my balcony deck, kind of wish I had not put stairs on it. Sometimes they bring fish up there to eat and leave some behind.

    Also, must bring the suet or any corn for feeding the birds or squirrels in at night or the coons will get it every time. Creatures of the night.

    • Posted June 20, 2016 at 3:42 pm | Permalink

      I would love raccoons on my deck (if I had one), even if they made a mess. In fact, you should put a ramp up there for the handicapped raccoons!

      • Diana MacPherson
        Posted June 20, 2016 at 3:48 pm | Permalink

        Ramp?! An elevator!

        • Randall Schenck
          Posted June 20, 2016 at 4:04 pm | Permalink

          So next I should put in a bathroom for the raccoons and that would solve my other problem. Do I need separate male and female facilities?

          Let me also say that Emma, the cat gets a little irritated when she sees them out there.

          • Diana MacPherson
            Posted June 20, 2016 at 4:13 pm | Permalink

            Don’t forget a place to clean their food and maybe a little bathing area (don’t skimp on the clean towels!)

      • Posted June 20, 2016 at 4:55 pm | Permalink

        Never gonna happen. They’ll get no assistance from me. Raccoons are evil. They kill chickens, drown cats, take dumps on my deck, and eat any bird food/suet they can get their dirty little paws on. Give me your address and I’ll send you the next one I trap and we’ll see how enamored you are with it after, let’s say, a week, but I’ll bet you don’t last 3 days. 😉 If you want more than one, let me know. I can provide.

        • Randall Schenck
          Posted June 20, 2016 at 5:20 pm | Permalink

          Please, take a deep breath, relax. We might sometimes call this humor. I don’t see any in your comments. The raccoons have as much right on your deck as you. Evil raccoons? Do they go to church or something?

        • Posted June 20, 2016 at 5:56 pm | Permalink

          I will not have the desire to kill animals paraded on this website as some kind of joke. They’re doing what natural selection made them do. If you don’t like it, fine; go flaunt your bloodthirstiness at some hunting website.

          I would like you to leave this website, as that kind of humor is sick. And you have the temerity to put a smiley face on your vile post! Even an apology won’t make this right, because, after all, you’re serious.

        • Posted June 21, 2016 at 7:59 am | Permalink

          I’m assuming this is a humane trap. We have one of those for catching feral cats.

    • Karen Bartelt
      Posted June 20, 2016 at 3:55 pm | Permalink

      We haven’t had raccoons in the area for years; then this spring, “Ricky” appeared. He humbly ate whatever the birds dropped from the feeder. Then we went on a trip and loaded up four hummingbird feeders. When we got back, they were all drained, and several had been unscrewed from the bottom. After figuring out that Ricky had developed a sweet tooth, we bring the feeders in every night.

  5. gravelinspector-Aidan
    Posted June 20, 2016 at 3:27 pm | Permalink

    why aren’t scientists studying raccoon cognition as avidly as they study porpoise cognition?

    A corollary – why does such complex, intelligent, planned behaviour come as a surprise? Does North America have a habit of disparaging these animals, when it’s pretty obvious to those on this side of the pond (either pond ; either side) that they’re remarkably intelligent and adaptable animals.

    • darrelle
      Posted June 20, 2016 at 6:59 pm | Permalink

      “Does North America have a habit of disparaging these animals, when it’s pretty obvious to those on this side of the pond (either pond ; either side) that they’re remarkably intelligent and adaptable animals.

      I can’t say for the Canadians, but in the US ‘coons have a reputation of being very smart. I have never been a hunter but from what I have read knowledgable hunters are very careful with their dogs when hunting racoons because apparently racoons sometimes kill the dogs if the dog gets too far ahead of the hunter for the hunter to intervene if things go south. An alledgedly common tactic is the racoon leads the dog into water and then climbs onto its head and drowns the dog.

      They are also legendary for their ability to get your food no matter how carefully you try to safeguard it.

      • Diana MacPherson
        Posted June 20, 2016 at 8:41 pm | Permalink

        Yes they are known as being smart in Canada as well. I think theCity of Toronto has coon proof garbage containers but I could be misremembering. The smart little things can open anything with those nimble, human like fingers.

        • Merilee
          Posted June 20, 2016 at 11:05 pm | Permalink

          I think you may be right about the garbage containers and after all, Toronto is the raccoon capital of the world🐾🐾

  6. Posted June 20, 2016 at 3:36 pm | Permalink

    Now hold on, they’re not that smart. Don’t forget about this one who tried to wash its cotton candy.😉

    • Posted June 20, 2016 at 3:37 pm | Permalink

      • keith cook + / -
        Posted June 20, 2016 at 4:04 pm | Permalink

        Like humans at times this racoon outsmarted itself.

      • Merilee
        Posted June 20, 2016 at 11:07 pm | Permalink

        He forgot to read the washing instructions: dry clean only.

  7. Merilee
    Posted June 20, 2016 at 3:42 pm | Permalink


  8. Michael Scullin
    Posted June 20, 2016 at 4:16 pm | Permalink

    Just last night a raccoon who had been a previous visitor to our bird feeders on the back porch brought her two raccoonlets or cubs to a sunflower feast. As raccoons they are obliged to wash at least some of the sunflower seeds in the water basin. I have talked to her before about not getting up on the deck, and she and I have a pretty good relationship (no growling or other signs of nastiness). So I went out to remind her. One cub was hanging from one sunflower feeder which had swung away from the railing so when Mom and one cub went down the stairs the other cub was stranded. I went out and swung the feeder back to the rail and the young one (showing no panic) climbed onto the rail and followed Mom.

    We had no sooner sat down than my wife (more attuned to sounds than I) looked at me so I got up and there they all were. I shooed them off, and they took their time but decided to call it a night. I brought all the feeders inside because they really do make a big mess. But they are all cute as can be and barely intimidated by my urging their departure. They will be back.

    We have an Hidatsa Indian garden (39th season for me), and raccoons will take a significant shock from the electric fence we put up to keep out the deer and raccoons. They are more determined than daunted.

  9. Posted June 20, 2016 at 4:56 pm | Permalink

    Not to be a downer, but I think the “chain” here is an illusion. It looks like Mama is holding the edge of the wall with her hind legs and her other ‘coonlings are just trying to be close to mom. The young’ns are moving around a bit too much to be doing anything effective and you can clearly see mama clinging onto the wall with her legs.

    Good job by mom though.

  10. Herb Hunter
    Posted June 20, 2016 at 7:22 pm | Permalink

    One thing that impressed me about raccoons I’ve observed is their inclination to assess the situation when they unexpectedly encounter me rather than reflexively flee.

    The first time I noticed that analytical response was one night when my wife awakened me to say that someone was on the roof. I went outside and startled three raccoons as they began to descend from the roof. They started to retreat then gingerly peered over the eves to see if it was really necessary to run for it.

    Since then I’ve seen similar behavior several times as when I’ve happened upon them as I walked past a dumpster.

  11. Posted June 20, 2016 at 11:45 pm | Permalink

    I had a staring contest with a young one in the backyard tree just yesterday.

    they are furry ninjas

    I remember reading bout a gang of 30 in seattle that were eating small dogs and cats….

  12. Posted June 21, 2016 at 7:57 am | Permalink

    Last night, I saw one run across the road a couple of houses down, to my next door neighbour’s yard. I thought to myself that s/he’ll be at the cat dish any minute now – the cat dish that I fill with kibble for the feral cat who visits us daily. So I scooted to the backdoor and there was the feral cat waiting to be fed his cat pâté. Not far behind was the raccoon who made a beeline for the dish under the table. So I had to make up another dish with kibble and pâté, and place in at a safe distance for our feline friend who was clearly skittish coz of a very hungry and assertive raccoon. I’ve never seen that kitteh eat so fast!

  13. John Dentinger
    Posted June 21, 2016 at 11:47 am | Permalink

    Folks at my club often forget the locking bar on our club dumpster, so I keep a log nearby as a ‘coon elevator when I find one in the (almost) empty bin. It’s strange to me that they’re smart enough to figure a way IN, but not out.

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