Raccoons are easily recognized by the black fur around their eyes that resembles a bandit’s mask. They are members of the Procyonidae family and are nocturnal creatures, coming out only at night to hunt or scavenge for food.
It is well-known that raccoons terrorize our trash cans — and peace of mind — at night, but what do they seek in the dump? What do raccoons eat? In this article, we answer these questions and more.
What Do Raccoons Like to Eat? (Favorite Food)
Raccoons are omnivores which gives them quite an extensive diet range like other omnivores. They consume 40% of vertebrates, 27% of invertebrates, and 33% of plants.
Because they are opportunistic animals that would eat virtually any food they find, their diet varies based on the prey and vegetation available in their habitat. However, their favorite foods include:
- Bird eggs
- Dead carrion
What Do Raccoons Feed on in the Wild?
Raccoons’ common prey in the wild are clams, snails, turtles, snakes, fish, and crayfish. They balance their diet by also consuming apples, berries, and other plants available around their den.
Raccoons are inefficient hunters and only hunt prey that is easy to catch. In the wild, they usually live close to water bodies which gives them a preference for seafood.
What Do You Feed A Pet Raccoon?
Feed a pet raccoon fish, eggs, live worms, fresh vegetables, and fruits as supplements. Whole prey, like mice, can also be offered. Pet raccoons are just as curious, and voracious as their wild counterparts. It would be best to feed your pet raccoon varied meals but maintain a dry diet like dog kibble.
What Do Raccoons Eat in the City?
In cities, Raccoons eat birdseed, pet food, fruits, vegetables, and trash can leftovers. Raccoons have adapted remarkably well to human presence. They would eat almost anything provided it is not rotten, and they have thrived among humans.
While wild raccoons usually weigh 30 pounds, city raccoons can reach up to 60 pounds.
What Do Baby Raccoons Eat?
Like adults, baby raccoons eat almost anything they find, including fruits, vegetables, grubs, and insects. But in the first three weeks after birth, they depend solely on their mother’s milk.
What Can Raccoons Not Eat? (Toxic Food For Raccoons)
Cocoa products such as chocolate and coffee are harmful to raccoons. Onions, garlic, and spices are also toxic to animals due to their high disulfide and sulfoxide content. Raccoons cannot eat raisins, and lipid-containing foods like nuts and processed sugar harm their health.
How Often Do Raccoons Eat?
Raccoons are nocturnal creatures, so they only come out at night to feed. In the wild, they can eat up to 5% of their body weight in meat, fruits, vegetation, and trashcan leftovers. However, you can feed pets a handful of pet food daily.
Is It Ok or Bad to Feed Raccoons?
It is not good to feed raccoons. Although human food is safe for raccoons, you shouldn’t feed them. Raccoons often return to visited food sources and may set up a home in your yard. Such an adjustment may lead to you accounting for losses on damaged pipelines, electrical wires, and ductwork.
Also read: What Eats Raccoons? Their Top 12 Predators
How Long Can A Raccoon Live Without Eating?
Raccoons can live for three weeks without eating. Their survival depends on multiple factors, such as weather conditions, age, and access to water. Under worse conditions, they can only survive for a week before starving to death. Their average lifespan in the wild is 16 years, but captive raccoons can live up to 20 years.
How Long Can Baby Raccoons Live Without Food?
Baby raccoons are called kits and would survive solely on their mother’s milk until they are six weeks old. During this period, they can only go hours without food, but older kits, in general, can only live for a few days without food.
Why Do Raccoons Wash Their Food?
A typical raccoon behavior is dousing their food in water or rubbing off unwanted parts with their paws. Researchers believe they might not be washing their food but getting information like size, texture, and temperature using their highly sensitive forepaws.