Racoons are omnivores. They eat both plant and animal matter just like humans do. They can do this because their teeth are able to chew through meat and plants. These teeth allow raccoons to be able to eat almost anything.
However, these animals may have a varied diet, but they aren’t able to eat everything. So, what do raccoons eat? This article looks into it.
Wild raccoons eat insects, worms, fruits, vegetables, reptiles, fish, seafood, amphibians, birds, nuts, seeds, leaves, flowers, small animals, and eggs. Urban racoons eat garbage, pet food, crops from farms or vegetable gardens, and roadkill. Captive or pet raccoons eat whole prey, fruits, vegetables, grain-free dog food, and eggs
What do raccoons eat, lists for wild, urban, and pet raccoons
(Examples of each further down in the article)
In the wild:
- Insects and worms
- Nuts and seeds
- Small animals
- Leaves and flowers
In urban areas:
- Grain-free dog food
- Whole prey
Raccoons in the wild:
Raccoons have access to healthy food in the wild, in turn, they eat more healthily. The availability of food options will change throughout the year and their diets will too, what they eat depends on what is available. This is what they usually eat:
Insects and worms: Insects and worms are easy prey for raccoons, examples of insects and worms that raccoons eat include snails, earthworms, beetles, mealworms, termites, slugs, grubs, roaches, and ticks
Fruits: Fruits offer raccoons a variety of nutrients, on top of that they are tasty. Fruits that raccoons eat include berries, prickly pear, apples, grapes, cherries, berries, plums, and peaches
Vegetables: Vegetables are a great and easy way for raccoons to get nutrients in their bodies. Vegetables that raccoons eat include potatoes, carrots, tomatoes, cucumbers, pumpkins, cabbage, lettuce, and peas
Reptiles: If a raccoon manages to catch a reptile it will surely eat it, reptiles that raccoons eat include iguanas, snakes, turtles, and lizards
Amphibians: Raccoons enjoy living close to water bodies, this gives them access to water and amphibians in the water. Amphibians that raccoons eat include frogs and toads,
Fish: Water bodies are home to amphibians as well as fish, raccoons enjoy eating fish. Fish that raccoons eat include minnows, koi, shallow-water fish, and goldfish
Seafood: Raccoons can live anywhere, if they live near the ocean they will eat seafood like oysters, clams, fish, crayfish, and mussels
Nuts and seeds: Nuts and seeds are a protein-rich source of food for raccoons, nuts, and seeds that raccoons eat include acorns, walnuts, safflower seeds, and sunflower seeds
Birds: Raccoons prefer to eat foods that are easy to catch, if a raccoon manages to catch and eat a bird it will. Birds that raccoons eat include ducks, chickens, and turkeys
Small mammals: If a raccoon manages to catch a small mammal it will catch and eat it. Raccoons will eat small mammals like rats, mice, squirrels, muskrats, injured rabbits, injured squirrels, injured gophers (injured animals can’t run away as quickly, they are easier for raccoons to catch and eat)
Leaves and flowers: If food is scarce in the wild, raccoons will eat a variety of leaves and flowers like mistletoe, cordgrass, wild mushrooms, greenbrier, water hyacinth, water lilies, and roses
Eggs: Eggs are a delicious and nutrient-rich food source for raccoons. These animals will snatch eggs right out of the nest. Raccoons enjoy eating chicken eggs, duck eggs, and turkey eggs
Raccoons in urban areas:
Because of the rise of urbanization, raccoons have been forced to live in close proximity to humans. This set up is undesirable to both humans and raccoons. They would much rather avoid being harassed by humans in the name of pest control.
This is what they eat in urban areas:
Garbage: If raccoons have nothing else to eat they will dig in your garbage and eat whatever is in there. They eat discarded fruits, vegetables, bread, pizza, cheeseburgers, and meats from your trash cans. They will rummage through your trash and even topple it to get food.
Dog food: Dog food is a good source of protein and other nutrients for both raccoons and dogs. Raccoons will sneak into your yard to eat this food
Cat food: Cat food is another pet food that raccoons will be attracted to in your yard. If you leave this food in cupboards or in unsealed trash cans, raccoons will definitely try to access it.
Crops: If you own a farm, or are growing vegetables in your garden, raccoons will be attracted to your crops. These animals will eat your tomatoes, peas, corn, and other grains.
Eggs and chickens: Raccoons are more than happy to find and eat eggs in coops, if you’re raising birds, raccoons will eat these as well. Eggs and chickens are defenses against raccoons
Roadkill: Roadkill is a convenient food for raccoons because it is a protein-rich meal for raccoons that does not require hunting and catching. Roadkill that raccoons will eat include bears, elk, moose, deer, armadillos, skunks, opossums, squirrels, and small rodents,
These animals can become a nuisance and a hazard to your property. If you want to get rid of raccoons click this link to find produce that will help keep raccoons away.
Captive or pet raccoons:
When raccoons are kept as pets or are kept in areas like zoos they are given a diet that matches the diet they would eat in the wild. This is to make sure they stay in their healthiest state so they can live a longer life.
Grain-free dog food: This is usually given to raccoons as a staple food if raccoon owners do not have access to all the foods that raccoons would eat in the wild.
Fruits: Fruits are given to raccoons to supplement the animal’s diet. Fruits that raccoons eat include berries, prickly pear, apples, grapes, cherries, berries, plums, peaches,
Vegetables: Only giving raccoons grain-free dog food and fruits will not be sufficient, vegetables are also needed. Vegetables that raccoons can eat include potatoes, carrots, tomatoes, cucumbers, pumpkins, cabbage, lettuce, and peas
Insects: This is another source of protein for raccoons, insects that raccoons eat include mealworms, gut-loaded crickets, and earthworms,
Whole prey: Raccoons in captivity can be given whole prey like day-old chicks, small birds like quail, rats, rabbits, and mice.
Mother’s milk: Once a baby raccoon is born, the mother starts to create milk for her baby, this is what the baby eats until it can eat solid foods. The mother eats more food than usual in order to produce enough food
Milk replacer: If a baby raccoon has become orphaned because its mother was killed, then veterinarians and wildlife rehabilitators will feed baby raccoons a kitten milk replacer. Baby raccoons can also have a specialized formula like this one
How much food do raccoons eat:
If you own young raccoons you should let them eat as much food as they feel they need. This is the stage where they are most active, they need food for fuel and to keep growing. Their high rate of activity will burn off the excess fat.
When the raccoon gets older it becomes necessary to keep an eye on how much food the raccoon is eating. Start this at around 6 months old.
These animals should be eating a well-balanced diet to avoid gaining weight. If they start gaining weight the natural waistline will become less and less visible. This means you are feeding them too much and need to reduce the food portions.
If you are feeding them dog food, give them 1/8 of a cup of dog food three times a day, remember to serve them tablespoons of veggies and fruits as well.
If you are having a raccoon problem on your property it would be best to get rid of it as soon as possible. They can attack humans in some situations. If you see a raccoon on your property or while out and about, here is a guide on what to do.
What is a raccoon’s favourite thing to eat?
Raccoons are known to eat pretty much anything and everything (including food from the trash), still they prefer foods from nature. They like what they usually eat out in the wild. These foods give them energy and keep their health in check
Their favorite foods include nuts, berries, insects, and eggs. They also enjoy food such as shellfish, amphibians, and reptiles.
What food is bad for raccoons?
Raccoons cannot eat any and every food, foods that raccoons can’t eat include:
- Cows milk
- Macadamia nuts
These foods can cause adverse effects like derailing the animal’s nervous system, making them irritable, making them aggressive, causing vomiting, diarrhea, anemia, heart congestion, seizures, and even causing liver failure in raccoons.
This article is a deep dive into what raccoons can’t eat. Click to read more
Are raccoons predators or prey?
Raccoons are both predator and prey. They are predators to smaller animals such as invertebrates and they sometimes eat larger prey as well.
They prey on fish, amphibians, worms, insects, and bird eggs, they occasionally will hunt and eat larger animals such as birds and mammals.
Raccoons are prey to bigger animals such as cougars, larger domestic dogs, coyotes, and bobcats. Even large owls and eagles will prey on raccoons if the raccoon is young enough.
Raccoons usually, stay away from larger predators by staying in their dens during the day and coming out to look for food at night.
Do raccoons eat cats?
In desperate times, yes, raccoons do eat cats, well they eat kittens. If food is really scarce raccoons will prey on kittens.
If a raccoon attacks your adult-sized cat this encounter can be life-threatening for your cat. Raccoons are much larger than a typical house cat so the raccoon will have the upper hand.
If the raccoon is being mild and timid, and the cat is not acting aggressively towards the raccoon, then the raccoon won’t attack your cat, in fact, the two can even become friends and can be seen eating pet food side by side.
That being said, raccoons are wild animals and you should be wary of them around your cat. Small kittens have a higher chance of being attacked and eaten by raccoons. A house cat will probably get a bite or a scratch from the wild animal.
Read more on whether raccoons will attack and eat kittens by clicking on the link.
Will a raccoon attack and eat a human?
It is unlikely that a raccoon will attack a human. Generally, because of a human’s large size, raccoons will keep away from humans. Raccoons know their place in the food chain.
Even though raccoons have long claws and strong jaws they are quite docile creatures that won’t attack humans. They see humans as predators.
They will only attack humans if they are provoked, are backed into a corner, have rabies, or is a mother raccoon protecting her young from what she sees as a threat.
If the raccoon is rabid then you may get attacked by the raccoon for no apparent reason. Rabies affects the raccoon’s mind, body, and behavior making it more aggressive than it would usually be. Rabid raccoons attack humans and animals unprovoked.
They lose their fear of humans once the virus infects them.
In conclusion, raccoons will eat whatever food is available to them.
Raccoons in the wild will eat insects, worms, fruits, vegetables, reptiles, fish, seafood, amphibians, birds, nuts, seeds, leaves, flowers, small animals, and eggs.
Raccoons in urban areas will eat discarded foods from the garbage, pet food, crops from farms or vegetable gardens, and roadkill.
Pet raccoons and captive raccoons are generally fed whole prey, fruits, vegetables, grain-free dog food, and eggs.
This animal’s food intake needs to be monitored to avoid them from becoming overweight.
Foods that are bad for the animal include coffee, chocolate, cocoa, onions, candies, cows milk, macadamia nuts, and raisins,
They are both predator and prey, they can eat kittens but they don’t eat cats and they definitely don’t eat humans.
I hope you enjoyed this article looking at what raccoons eat.