Raccoons, like humans, eat a variety of foods. Raccoons, like humans, have teeth that can grind plants or tear meat. They are excellent problem solvers and are skilled at manipulating objects with their paws and fingers, which aids in their ability to adapt to changing environments.
Raccoons find it relatively easy to open latches, unlocked doors, and garbage cans. They also inspect their food with their paws and fingers, removing any unwanted pieces before eating it. It is common for raccoons to douse their food in water as well, but the reason for this is debatable. Is it washing their food, softening it, moistening it to make it easier to swallow, softening their paws to better feel their food, or simply playing in water? Only the raccoons are certain.
Raccoons are intelligent and resourceful creatures. They can survive, eat, and even thrive in a variety of environments. They can be found in cold climates, warm climates, cities, and the countryside. Raccoons eat what? Raccoons eat berries and other fruits, as well as nuts, grains, and vegetables. Insects, eggs, poultry, rats, squirrels, small livestock, birds, fish, snakes, crawfish, worms, frogs, and mollusks are also eaten. Raccoons will also consume pet food, carrion, and human waste. Raccoons enjoy a wide variety of foods, but what they eat often depends on what is available. As expected, the foods available to raccoons in rural areas differ significantly from those available to raccoons in urban areas.
What do raccoons eat in the wild?
Because of their varied diets, raccoons thrive in a wide range of natural environments. Raccoons eat birds and other mammals in the wild, but they prefer to hunt for easier meals if they are accessible. Nuts, berries, insects, and eggs are among their favorite foods. If their denning site is near a body of water, they will also catch fish, shellfish, reptiles, and amphibians.
Raccoons in the wild are skilled at catching fish, stealing eggs or hatchlings from bird nests, and picking fruit with their paws. They will also raid a vegetable garden, a chicken coop, a pet’s food bowl, or a garbage can. They will catch rats, squirrels, small livestock, snakes, frogs, chickens, crawfish, worms, and mollusks, but prefer slower-moving, easier-to-catch prey. Berries, acorns, and other tree nuts are favorites.
What do raccoons eat in cities?
Their regular meals are heavily influenced by where they live. For raccoons in urban areas, this means foraging for food in garbage cans, gardens, including inside homes and other structures. The animals are notorious for rummaging through garbage cans and landfills, causing havoc and earning their pest status.
Raccoons find it more difficult to find all of the foods they might normally eat in densely populated areas. Birds, bird eggs, rodents, and squirrels can still be found in some areas, but they are not as plentiful. As a result, city raccoons will scavenge dumpsters, garbage cans, and even road kill. They will steal pet food and fish from ornamental or backyard ponds. They occasionally become brave enough to approach humans and beg for food as well.
Raccoons’ willingness and ability to obtain, eat, and digest such a diverse diet has helped them survive climate extremes and ever-changing environments that would be more difficult for a less adaptable species. Raccoons can live in captivity for more than 20 years, but they have a much shorter life expectancy in the wild. Although raccoons do have natural predators, the number of adult raccoon deaths from predation is relatively low. The majority of adult raccoon deaths in the wild are caused by distemper outbreaks, hunters, and being hit by cars.
Raccoons as pets
While raccoons are not your typical pet, but they can be very fun pets to have. That is if you do not mind a little mischief! There are many areas where it is illegal to have raccoons as a pet so be sure to check your local and state laws. Other states you will likely have to have a permit or acquire the raccoon from a licensed breeder.
It is not a good idea to take in a wild raccoon as a pet. Typically you want to acquire one at an early age from a breeder, although breeders can be hard to find in most states. You want your raccoons to be accustomed to being handled by people from a very early age because raccoons are prone to biring, especially when threatened.
Pet raccoons can live about 10-15 years so it is a long commitment if you want to a raccoon as a pet. They do not integrate well into the wild if you decide you do not want to keep it. You need to make sure you are committed before you get it. It might also be difficult finding a veterinarian who can treat your raccoon even if you live in a state where they are legal pets. Before getting your pet raccoon I would call a few local veterinarians to see if they will treat your raccoon and ask about any necessary vaccinations for things like rabies.