Date

1-4-2017 12:00 AM

Major

Biology and Animal Ecology

Department

Natural Resource Ecology and Management

College

College of Agriculture and Life Sciences

Project Advisor

Mike Rentz

Project Advisor's Department

Natural Resource Ecology and Management

Description

Considered generalists, raccoons are extremely adaptable and often regarded as nuisances due to their tendency to scavenge in dumpsters and garbage cans. Because the relationship between humans and raccoons is not unilateral, it is important to study the effect human-dominated environments have on raccoon ecology. In order to better understand these anthropogenic influences, raccoon problem-solving characteristics were evaluated in both suburban and natural settings. To do this, baited puzzle boxes were provided to the raccoons and motion-activated cameras were set to record any disturbance. The study found that raccoons from the natural site solved the food puzzles in fewer nights, in less time per attempt, and in fewer interactions with the box than raccoons from the suburban site, although these results were not statistically significant. This suggests that further research is necessary to determine the mechanism driving this relationship and whether the relationship applies universally to raccoon ecology or whether the results are only an isolated incidence.

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Apr 1st, 12:00 AM

Anthropogenic Influences on Raccoon Problem-Solving Characteristics

Considered generalists, raccoons are extremely adaptable and often regarded as nuisances due to their tendency to scavenge in dumpsters and garbage cans. Because the relationship between humans and raccoons is not unilateral, it is important to study the effect human-dominated environments have on raccoon ecology. In order to better understand these anthropogenic influences, raccoon problem-solving characteristics were evaluated in both suburban and natural settings. To do this, baited puzzle boxes were provided to the raccoons and motion-activated cameras were set to record any disturbance. The study found that raccoons from the natural site solved the food puzzles in fewer nights, in less time per attempt, and in fewer interactions with the box than raccoons from the suburban site, although these results were not statistically significant. This suggests that further research is necessary to determine the mechanism driving this relationship and whether the relationship applies universally to raccoon ecology or whether the results are only an isolated incidence.