Toronto’s Trash Pandas

Toronto has a love-hate relationship with raccoons. As I said in my previous post, we are the “Raccoon capital of the world” and trash pandas are the unofficial mascot of the city. They show up in souvenir shops, on T-shirts and are regularly featured in the news and on YouTube videos. From late night window shopping in tony Yorkville to stealthily stealing donuts from a Tim Hortons donut shop.

Not all raccoons are bandits. This little guy wanted to earn his treats and took a shift working behind the counter in downtown Toronto.

“Coffee with your Timmies?” he seems to say, “Double double? Coming up!”

From Narcity article “Trash Panada spotted working …” by Abby Neufeld, October 2020 Photo by shecallsmedrew | Twitter Mike Clegg | Dreamstime

Raccoons are nocturnal creatures. They roam the neighborhoods at night, sifting through garbage bins and (if you must lock it up) foraging for wild berries, nuts, frogs, eggs and grubs.

During the day they’ll retreat to dens in high places like tree hollows, if you’re lucky. If you’re unlucky (like me) they’ll pry open a loose roof shingle, slip into the attic and establish residence. Of course, there is the occasional raccoon who’ll take advantage of a conveniently placed couch on an open porch deck.

From Toronto Sun article – “Toronto raccoon caught lounging on couch” by Jenny Yuen, July 2020. Photo by @ABBYNICASTRO, @NICASTROHUGO / INSTAGRAM / 6IXBUZZTV

According to Google, raccoons are native to North America and live almost everywhere, except for Northern Canada and Alaska. Vancouver Island is purportedly their most northernly habitat, although I’ve never seen a trash panda there. Maybe because the trash bandits in British Columbia are a bit bigger than the average raccoon … but that’s a story for another post.

Toronto, Canada. March 2021

17 Comments

    1. Nice to meet you Anita! I discovered your blog today too, Thanks to Cady’s Just One Person post.

      Thanks for following me & I look forward to seeing more of you as well. 105 countries and counting – Wow!

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  1. They are on their way to colonise Germany we are told. I’ve never seen one in the wild but one summer night I heard the most amazing animal noises a few gardens down. I couldn’t identify them and searched through sound files on the net and was quite amazed to realise that I had been listening to racoons (washing bears, we call them).

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    1. I read somewhere that raccoons were brought to Germany in the 1930’s for their fur. I guess they’re getting back at you! That was very clever of you to identify them by sound. They must have been having a very loud raccoon rave 🙂

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    1. Absolutely bears. They are the garbage bin bandits of the west. Where raccoons use nimble fingers, bears use pure power. I will write another post about them as its quite a unique feature of living on the BC coast.

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    1. According to Mister Google, Toronto has the highest population of raccoons. I’m not sure what makes us so special. But I’m sure each city has it’s own urban pest. Sarah from UK says it’s foxes there. What’s in your city Neil?

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  2. I can understand what a nuisance they must be but they do look cute! We have a similar love/hate relationship with our urban foxes. I love to see one prowling the streets at night but I hate the mess they leave behind them when they mange to find their way into a rubbish bin or (worse) a food waste bin put out for recycling. The lids are supposed to be animal proof – they are not!

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