University of Wyoming Raccoon Project

Learn More:
Check out these links to learn more about our study and what a typical day is like for UWRP researchers.
Article: UWRP Researchers to Begin Trapping
Article: From Pests to Puzzle Solvers
Video: From Pests to Puzzle Solvers

(From left to right) Rachel, Emily, Dr. Benson-Amram, and Lauren with the first Laramie, WY, raccoon capture, August 2015.

Unlike many animals, the common raccoon (Procyon lotor) is considered to be especially resilient when faced with human-induced changes to the landscape. Interestingly, during a time when the earth is experiencing a large-scale biodiversity loss, raccoon populations have increased and expanded in range. What is it that makes the raccoon such an adaptive and widespread animal? To investigate this question, the University of Wyoming Raccoon Project (UWRP) is studying the raccoon population in Laramie, WY. Dr. Benson-Amram, the founder and director of the UWRP, oversees the work of the 2 graduate students and 7 undergraduate students working on the project.

(From left to right) UWRP members Renee, Emily, Rachel, Sarah, Dr. Benson-Amram, and Lauren.

The information that UWRP researchers gather will help us understand the cognitive factors that may influence the success of the raccoon. We are interested in exploring topics related to the innovation, learning, and behavioral flexibility of raccoons. Researchers will also gather valuable demographic information on the Laramie, WY, raccoon population to allow us to better understand their diet, home range size and sociality. These data will help us assess the current condition of this unique, high altitude population. For more information on the types of data we gather, check out Tracking Raccoons.

Images from an Aesop's Fable experiment with raccoons, conducted by PhD student Lauren Stanton.

Another important goal of the University of Wyoming Raccoon Project is to reach out to the public and provide the community with information about our research. We do this by holding fun, educational events at schools, libraries and community gatherings. Learn more about how you can Get Involved with the UWRP!

Outreach event at Beitel Elementary School.