What Do Raccoons Eat?


Raccoons can live on almost any food and are not picky about their diet. If you have raccoons in your yard, then you may be wondering what foods keep bringing them back, or you may just be wondering what they eat. In this article, I look at what they eat and how to keep them away from your property.

Raccoons are omnivores and eat vegetables, fruit, and nuts, along with small birds, amphibians, reptiles, insects, and fish. Raccoons in urban areas will supplement their diet with food from trashcans, along with cat and dog food.

These lovable, but pesky critters can cause a lot of damage to a property, so please read on to find out more about what they eat.

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Raccoons Are Omnivores

Classed as omnivores, raccoons have a varied diet that includes almost anything. They have adapted well to living in many different habitats. Wild raccoons have the advantage of eating many types of food in their natural environment.

Being omnivores, a raccoon’s diet consists of both plants and animals. When in the wild, raccoons eat various fruits, grains, nuts, and vegetables, along with small mammals, amphibians, insects, and reptiles.

Vegetables, Fruit, And Nuts

Raccoons consume plenty of apples, blackberries, and cherries, which they find available in a mixed or deciduous forest. A large part of their diet, especially in the colder months, consists of nuts such as acorns.

Raccoons have adapted to life in forests easily due to their bodies. They have long tails to help them balance and large hands for climbing. This allows them to jump from tree to tree in search of fruit.

Raccoons will travel at night and during the day to find a food supply. They do this to find new stores of raw vegetables and various types of fruit and nuts. Raccoons eat more vegetables when they are readily available to survive during periods when there is less food.  They can also eat fresh leaves.

Due to the almost unlimited supply of fresh vegetables, fruits, and nuts in the wild, these make up a large part of their diet In the winter seasons, nuts, fruits, and vegetables are considered their favorite foods. As different vegetables and fruits grow throughout the year, raccoons have a varied diet.

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Animals

Raccoons are also predators. Raccoons are skilled at using their paws and sharp claws to catch and kill small rodents and even wound larger animals.

Raccoons are suited for survival in the wild as they have modified teeth to tear meat. This allows them to tear into a small animal’s flesh. Once they manage to catch their prey, raccoons make short work of most small animals.

Raccoons catch small animals such as rats, squirrels, and snakes by using their large hands. They mostly hunt small, slow moving animals as they are not quick enough to escape.

Raccoons also feed on aquatic animals. Raccoons are adapted to survive in marine environments by hunting small fish. Fish, along with small reptiles such as snakes, amphibians such as frogs and toads, and birds like filter feeders and ducks, all help feed a raccoon.

The raccoon is designed to be perfectly omnivorous. They are extremely intelligent and they can adapt and survive in different habitats.

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Worms And Insects

A majority of the raccoon’s diet consists of worms and insects. They will eat what is available, and worms and insects make up a large part of their diet in the winter seasons. In the wetter months, insects and worms become an essential part of their diet.

Insects and worms represent easy meals for raccoons as they can get a grasp of them quickly using their large paws. Raccoons like to eat many different kinds of food, but their diet depends on what is readily available for them.

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What Do Raccoons Eat In Urban Areas?

In urban areas, raccoons are restricted to living around humans. In densely populated areas, they are disadvantaged as it is more difficult for them to find their regular food. Raccoons will move around the city in search of food, just as they would in forests. Raccoons prefer the food in less urban areas as it is more plentiful.

Human Food

Raccoons can be found around dumpsters as it is an easy source of food. The leftovers they find here becomes their diet in the city. With all kinds of rotten vegetables, fruits, and insects readily available in these sites, raccoons are drawn to them.

Raccoons adapt quickly to these environments as they are adept at manipulating trashcans with their paws and fingers. They can get all kinds of rotten pieces of food with their sharp claws.

Vegetable Patch

Grains, corn, and vegetables form an essential part of their menu here in the city, as it is an additional source of nutrition for raccoons. Grains and corn are much easier to get outside of the city on farmlands, but the raccoon will find it if he can. Many homeowners often find their vegetable patches decimated by raccoons.

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Why Do Raccoons Invade Homes For Food?

Raccoons are notorious for picking through garbage bins, but this is how they survive in the city. They usually know where homeowners keep trashcans by smelling the odor of rotten foods. Our trash is a raccoons banquet.

Raccoons will even go to the extent of exploring the home to eat their regular food.  A raccoon will typically target trash cans and search for food, but if they can get into a home for an easy meal, they will.

Raccoons can enter homes searching for pet food, something you need to think about when deciding where to keep their pet food. Pet food left outside at night will not only attract raccoons but also other unwanted animals such as rats and mice.

Raccoons can be an absolute disaster to people who have chickens as they can eat both the eggs and the chickens.

Raccoons will go to the extent of hunting residential birds and other small animals to eat. They are skilled at using their paws and sharp claws to catch and kill any small prey.

Since Raccoons will quickly adapt their diet to whatever environment they find themselves in, finding suitable food for them in the city is not a problem.

If you have ever wondered if raccoons are dangerous, you are in luck. I have written an article, which you can find here.

Bryan Harding

Bryan has spent his whole life around animals. While loving all animals, Bryan is especially fond of mammals and has studied and worked with them around the world. Not only does Bryan share his knowledge and experience with our readers, but he also serves as owner, editor, and publisher of North American Mammals.

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