Ontario Raccoons Are Getting Fat And A Study Proves It's Entirely Our Fault
Wildlife living in cities are beginning to get the same health problems as humans.
Living in the city comes with advantages, like accessibility to shops and goods, plus a delicious variety of restaurants. While being a city-dweller is rewarding in some regards, it does cause some strain for the wildlife trying to make a living in the concrete jungle.
A recent study found that for raccoons in Ontario adapting to city living is actually having negative effects on their health. Due to such a high consumption of human food, blood sugar levels in the furry creatures have been increasing, as well as putting on excessive weight.
Albrecht Schulte-Hostedde, an evolutionary ecology professor at Laurentian University in Sudbury, Ontario, was inspired by the "fat raccoon" trope that has taken the internet by storm in recent years.
Since urban centres provide great habitat for the raccoon species, Schulte-Hostedde wanted to see what greater effect it had on them.
The professor's research found that wildlife living in cities are getting the same health problems that humans do, due to eating a similar diet. These health problems include obesity, diabetes, and metabolic syndrome.
Suzanne MacDonald, a York University professor has been weighing dead raccoons from Toronto for the past two years. She said she isn't surprised with this news, as the heaviest raccoon she's seen weighed 15 kilograms (33 pounds) and was over a metre long.
Macdonald said, "they're eating high fat, high salt, just like we are. It's not surprising that raccoons are mirroring what humans in cities look like."
While Macdonald says she's concerned about the raccoon diet, she did add that it is still more likely that these garbage loving critters will be killed in traffic than any diet-related diseases.