Raccoons are omnivores and can live on almost any food. If you have raccoons in your yard, you may wonder what foods keep bringing them back or what they eat. In this article, I look at what they eat and how to keep them away from your property.
Raccoons are true omnivores and forage for vegetables, fruit, nuts, small birds, amphibians, reptiles, insects, and fish. Raccoons in urban areas will supplement their diet with food from trashcans and cat and dog food.
This article looks at the typical raccoon diet, how they find food, and how to keep them from coming around your home looking for food.
Where Do Raccoons Live?
Raccoons are widely distributed across North America, Central America, and Europe. They are found in various habitats and live in forests, woodlands, marshes, prairies, forests, urban and suburban areas.
They prefer to live close to water sources such as rivers and streams for easy access to food. Raccoons are also found in man-made structures such as barns, cabins, and sheds. They often take up residence in attics or chimneys when living near humans.
Raccoons build dens in hollow logs or tree cavities for protection from predators and the elements. In some areas, raccoons have adapted to human development by building dens on rooftops or under decks and porches. Raccoons are highly adaptable animals that can survive in various environments, from cold climates to hot deserts, making them one of the most successful species on Earth.
What Do Raccoons Eat In The Wild?
Raccoons are classed as true omnivores who eat a variety of foods. They have adapted well to living in many different habitats. Wild raccoons can eat many types of food in their natural environment. Raccoons are not vegetarians and eat many kinds of meat.
Being omnivores, a raccoon’s diet consists of both plants and animals. In the wild, raccoons eat various fruits, grains, nuts, vegetables, small mammals, amphibians, insects, and reptiles.
If they catch their food near a water source, then they can often be seen washing their food in the water. I have even seen them do this in a bowl of water.
What Kind of Vegetables, Fruit, And Nuts Do Raccoons Like?
Raccoons consume plenty of apples, blackberries, and cherries, which they find available in a mixed or deciduous forest. A large part of their diet consists of nuts such as acorns, especially in the colder months.
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 during the day and night to find a food supply. They do this to find raw vegetables, fruit, and nuts stores. Raccoons eat more vegetables when they can survive with 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. Nuts, fruits, and vegetables are considered their favorite foods in winter. Raccoons will eat various fruits and a wide variety of foods in general.
What Animals Do Raccoons Eat?
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. They often use their five slender fingers to catch prey like mice.
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 most small animals short work.
Raccoons catch small animals such as rats, squirrels, and snakes 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, snakes, frogs and toads, and birds like filter feeders and ducks are all food to a raccoon.
The raccoon is designed to be perfectly omnivorous. They are extremely intelligent and can adapt and survive in different habitats.
What Insects Do Raccoons Eat?
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. Insects and worms become an essential part of their diet in the wetter months.
Insects and worms represent easy meals for raccoons as they can quickly grasp them with their large paws. Raccoons like to eat many different kinds of food, but their diet depends on what is readily available.
What Do Raccoons Eat In Winter?
The food that raccoons eat in winter differs from what they eat in summer. In winter, raccoons eat winter fruits, insects, acorns, and corn. Due to the cold, many other animals do not survive, and carrion becomes a staple, with small waterfowl and other animals making up a large part of their diet.
Because there is not as much fatty food around in winter, raccoons need to stock up in the fall to survive the cold months.
Feeding is much more complex in winter, and they can lose up to half of their weight in these harsh months.
Raccoons have a constant metabolic rate throughout the year, but to survive, they lower their activity in winter.
What Do Raccoons Eat In The City?
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 food in less urban areas as it is more plentiful, although you will often see them foraging through garbage cans to find a meal.
What Human Food Can Raccoons Eat?
Raccoons can be found around dumpsters as it is an easy food source. The leftovers they find here become their diet in the city. With all kinds of rotten vegetables, fruits, and insects readily available at 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.
Which Vegetables Do Raccoons Eat?
Grains, corn, and vegetables form an essential part of their diet in the city, as it is an additional source of nutrition for raccoons. Grains and corn are much easier to get outside the town on farmlands. Many homeowners often find their vegetable patches decimated by raccoons. Raccoons will eat almost all vegetables.
What Is A Raccoon’s Favorite Food?
Although raccoons are omnivores and will eat almost anything, their favorite food is animals found near water. Clams, snails, small fish, crayfish, and frogs all make up a large part of their diet, and they will actively seek out small rivers and ponds to find these.
However, they also like the same food we eat, and sweets such as marshmallows, sugar, honey, and bacon are a nice treat for a raccoon digging through your garbage.
Why Do Raccoons Invade Homes For Food?
Raccoons are notorious for picking through garbage bins, but this is often how they survive in the city. They can usually be found rummaging through garbage and know where homeowners keep garbage cans by the smell of rotten food.
Raccoons will dive into open garbage cans for available food, so ensure they are always kept closed.
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 will forage for food wherever they can.
Raccoons can enter homes searching for pet food, which you need to consider when deciding where to keep their pet food. Pet food left outside at night will attract raccoons and other unwanted animals, including prey items such as mice.
Raccoons can be an absolute disaster to people who have chickens as they can eat both the eggs and the chickens.
Raccoons will hunt residential birds and other small animals to eat. They are skilled at using their paws and sharp claws to catch and kill small prey.
Pet food kept outside will also attract raccoons, and quality dog food is a prize for them. If you have an infestation of raccoons, then it may be wise to call pest control to trap and remove them humanely.
What Foods Are Toxic To Raccoons?
Although raccoons will eat almost anything, some foods are toxic to them. Macadamia nuts and raisins do not agree with them, and chocolate never goes down too well. Other foods to avoid include onions, garlic, scallions, chives, grapes, citrus fruits, and avocados.
I had seen a raccoon dig through my bins to get to some coffee, only to see the disgust on its face when it tasted it.
What Do Baby Raccoons eat?
Adult raccoons are omnivorous, but young raccoons can not gather food for themselves. The young are fed milk until five or six weeks when they will first try solid food.
Being omnivorous, the mother will introduce the kit to soft food that is easy to digest. Insects, fish, and frogs are all ideal starter foods for a kit in the wild.
They eat mushrooms, grasses, seeds, and even eggs. The mother will bring the food to the kits for them to eat. This is critical to their development as it teaches them what is safe to eat in the wild and how to identify food sources.