What Do Raccoons Eat In The Wild

Feeding Habits of Raccoons

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Raccoons (Procyon lotor) are some of the most physically distinctive wildlife around, with their memorable darkly masked visages; thick, ringed tails; and frequently rotund, squat physiques. The furry mammals are hard to miss, often seen right next to human establishments, usually busily looking around for their next meals.

Basic Information

Raccoons generally have brown, reddish-brown or gray coats. Mature raccoons usually grow to anywhere between 24 inches and 38 inches long. Weightwise, these creatures tend to be between 14 and 23 pounds. Female raccoons are generally smaller than males. Raccoons can adjust easily to many different types of living environments. Not only are they fixtures in damp woodsy areas, swamps and meadows, they also are abundant in urban settings. Nearby water is a must for their successful survival.

Raccoon Diet

These omnivores are far from picky eaters, as they practice opportunistic dining styles. A lot of what raccoons consume is directly influenced by what’s around them. Some of the forms of sustenance that raccoons routinely feast on include fruit, vegetables, nuts, seeds, other plants, amphibians, fowl, clams, snails, carrion, bugs, rodents, slugs, worms, crayfish and eggs from both reptiles and birds. Sweet corn specifically is a raccoon preference. It isn’t uncommon for raccoons to scour for food amidst human trash. They also frequently eat pet food that is left outdoors.

Eating Patterns

Most raccoon feeding takes place in the nighttime, as they are nocturnal creatures. Daytime endeavors are rare for them. Raccoons forage with the assistance of their lengthy fingers and speedy, skillful paws. When raccoons are close to bodies of water, they frequently immerse their findings in it — a means of simultaneously checking for random things that might be stuck on the food, and also of making the sustenance have a smoother texture. When no water is to be found, however, they abandon this behavior. As far as lifestyle goes, raccoons are usually pretty independent. If a lot of food is accessible in a specific spot, however, you might find lots of raccoons congregating together.

Avoiding Feeding Raccoons

If you have raccoons around your home, offering them food might not be a safe option — not only for your household, but for the rest of the people in your neighborhood. When raccoons receive food from people, they become extremely relaxed in the presence of humans. When the raccoons don’t get the food they want, however, they sometimes turn fierce in behavior. Be smart and safe. Don’t allow this scenario to happen.



North American Raccoon

This animal is not on exhibit in the habitats. It is one of our Animal Ambassadors and is used in public and school programs.

Latin Name

Raccoon History at CuriOdyssey

One of our female raccoons was a former pet and was eventually turned over to a Wisconsin wildlife rehab center. Another female was found under someone’s porch and hand-fed and handled by the residents. She was eventually given to the Chattanooga Zoo in Tennessee. Both females were deemed unreleasable because they were habituated to humans, and both came to CuriOdyssey in 2013. The two male raccoons were both captive born at the Audubon Zoo in Louisiana.

See also:  Where Do Raccoons Live In The Winter

Birth Date

The two females were born in 2010 and 2013. Both males were born in 2014.

Fun Facts about Raccoons

Although their Latin name lotor means “one who washes”, raccoons do not actually wash their food. Raccoons have a heightened sense of touch. In the wild, they will rub, feel, and dunk, using their highly dexterous and sensitive front paws in order to locate and capture aquatic prey.

What do Raccoons eat?

In the wild, North American Raccoons eat eggs, berries, fruit, acorns, seeds, crustaceans, and insects. They will also occasionally prey on small vertebrates like rodents, small birds, and baby rabbits.

At CuriOdyssey, our North American Raccoons enjoy dog kibble, mice, rats, beef, rabbit, chick, quail, insects, bones, hard boiled egg, fruits, and vegetables.

How long do Raccoons live?

In the wild North American Raccoons live up to six years. In captivity life-span range from 10 to 13 years.

Where do Raccoons live?

North American Raccoons are found almost everywhere. They prefer damp areas like parks, farmland, cities, and suburbs. They like large tree cavities for dens.

They range in North America from southern Canada to Panama.

Are Raccoons endangered?

As of this moment, North American Raccoons have no special wildlife conversation status. Raccoon hunting is prevalent during September-December each year, especially in eastern North America. High fur prices ($25-$50 each) during the 1970’s intensified the interest in hunting and trapping raccoons. Nighttime hunting with specially bred hounds has a long tradition, second only, perhaps, to that of English fox hunting. Over four million raccoons are harvested annually this way or by trapping, and many others die each year on roads.

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What do racoons eat in the wild ?

Wiki User
November 13, 2015 7:28AM

Anything they can find. For example: plants and animals. Plant

examples: Berries, acorns, and grapes. Animal examples: Baby mice,

baby birds & eggs, frogs, crayfish, fiddler crabs, fish, and


What Do Raccoons Eat in the Wild?

Raccoons are omnivores and eat foods from both plant and animal sources; their diet is highly dependent on the food available where they live. According to PBS.org, a raccoon’s typical diet includes fruits, nuts, plants, insects, berries, eggs, frogs and crayfish. The largest volume of their diet comes from plants and invertebrates. In urban areas and campgrounds, humans often see them scavenging through garbage cans looking for discarded food.

The original habitat of the raccoon was in the tropics, where riverbanks provided plenty of opportunities for foraging for frogs and crustaceans. They lived in burrows or cavities in trees of the forests of North America. Predators for raccoons included coyotes and foxes.

Over time, raccoons moved north. Barns and other human outbuildings provide raccoons shelter from the cold weather, allowing them to survive in areas far from their origin. This migration has lead to sightings as far north as Alaska.

This migration took them from the forest to urban areas, where they do very well. Raccoons find shelter under homes and in storm sewers. The garbage and pet foods of humans provide a constant supply of food, even when their natural sources are scarce. Additionally, the city is relatively free of predators and laws restrict human hunting or trapping of these animals.


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What Do Raccoons Eat in the Wild?

Raccoons that live in the wild tend to settle down in forests as near as they can get to a body of water. However, some wild raccoons also live in rural and urban areas. Housing and business development destroy forestry, and so the raccoon must adapt to a new environment. So, what does a raccoon eat in the wild, whether living in the forest or among rural and urban living conditions?

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Forest Food

Raccoons are scavengers, so they will eat nearly anything. If they manage to live undisturbed in the forest, they will seek out some of their favourite dietary preferences. Raccoons that live in the forest have a fondness for foods that come fresh from the water, which includes snails, frogs, fish, clams, and crayfish.

When living in the forest, raccoons will also seek out additional food options, such as slugs, insects, bird eggs, and even birds. They also really like vegetables, fruits, seeds, and nuts. If necessary, a raccoon will sustain itself by eating dead animals.

Rural and Urban Food

When a raccoon must live in rural and urban settings, their wild food diet will shift. Instead, they will end up seeking out food left in garbage bins or they will much on pet food left for outdoor pets. Although they are not great at hunting, the raccoon will also make an attempt to catch and eat mice, rats, and squirrels.

Method of Survival

Although foods scavenged from trash bins does not provide a balanced diet like that of raccoons living in the forest, it is enough to help them survive. Raccoons will eat nearly anything to ensure their survival.

Raccoons in the wild tend to live approximately two to three years, yet captive raccoons can live up to thirteen years. Typically, adult raccoons do not die of starvation because they are such great scavengers. Instead, it is human and predator activity that shortens their lifespan in the wild.

Raccoons are often targets for hunters and trappers. They also die getting hit by a vehicle while crossing the road. They may also suffer from diseases introduced either naturally or by human encounters. Certain predators can also pose a threat, such as cougars, coyotes, and domesticated dogs.

When it comes to starvation, young raccoons are far more susceptible because they are not old enough to have a well-developed layer of fat. Adult raccoons with a developed layer of fat can draw from their fat reserves when scavenging for food proves difficult.

A Word of Advice

If you see a raccoon, whether in the wilds of the forest or in your rural or urban neighbourhood, do not attempt to feed it. They are good scavengers for a reason. Raccoons carry diseases that are harmful to humans, so it is best to avoid a raccoon at all costs. If you stay out of their way, they will move along and not bother you.

If, however, you notice one living on your property or even nesting up in your attic, you should call a pest control company immediately. Do not attempt DIY raccoon removal. Raccoons and other wildlife are under the protection of Canadian wildlife that prohibits cruel and unusual methods of removal. A professional raccoon removal knows best how to handle proper methods of raccoon removal.


Questions and Answers

What do raccoons eat in the wild ?

The raccoon animal is omnivorous and the diet is completely dependent on the season. Raccoons eat in nature different foods. The basis of nutrition is various insects, reptiles, eggs of birds, rodents, fish, crabs, crabs, lobsters and other small animals. Also, in warm climates or summer, raccoons prefer to eat fruits, berries, nuts, and acorns.

Raccoons living near people do not disdain to swarm in garbage in search of scraps.

Raccoons are well tamed and therefore they are increasingly started as pets.

The ration of the animal must be competently matched, this directly determines the life expectancy of the pet.

To feed the raccoon, you should use the products that it feeds in the natural environment: eggs, fish, low-fat meat, fruits, various nuts, vegetables and cereals. You can use for food and feed for cats and dogs, but only in special cases, when the raccoon does not get enough vitamins from the usual diet.

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Feed the animal 3 times a day. In the morning at 8:00, in the evening around 18: 00-19: 00 and at night at 23:00.

Raccoon in captivity is most often very discriminating in food. Therefore, their tastes are quite different, for example, one will gladly eat fish, and the second and close to it will not do. In this case, you should study your pet’s favorite treats.


What Do Baby Raccoons Eat?

Baby raccoons, or kits, in the wild drink their mother’s milk until they are approximately eight or nine weeks old, after which they begin to eat solid foods such as plants, nuts, berries, insects, frogs and rodents. Raccoons residing in urban areas are also known to sift through trash cans for food.

Following a gestation period of two months, a female raccoon gives birth to a litter of four to six kits. The young raccoons are unable to open their eyes for three weeks and do not stand on their own until they are four to six weeks old. The kits typically spend their first two months high in a tree hole or other structure.

Orphaned baby raccoons that have been rescued by wildlife rehabilitation specialists are typically fed a milk-replacement formula until they are eight weeks old, followed by solid foods such as kitten food, dry dog kibble, fruits, vegetables, dog biscuits and minnows. When orphaned raccoons reach 18 to 20 weeks of age, they are released back into the wild.


Foods That Raccoons Eat

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Raccoons have distinctive black masks and ringed tails, making them easy to identify. They are basically nocturnal, though they do sometimes come out in the daytime to search for food. In winter, raccoons spend a lot of time in their dens but never truly hibernate. They are omnivores who consume many different kinds of foods, typically adjusting their diets to take into account what’s available locally, especially if they live near humans.


Fruit is important for raccoons. They consume plenty of apples, blackberries and cherries when these are available. They rely on nuts such as acorns and beechnuts to get them through the cold winter months, and they eat many kinds of seeds and grains. In areas where humans have planted fields or gardens, raccoons typically add corn to their diets when they find it. Many times they come to depend on this important staple, stealing and eating corn whenever they can.


Raccoons consume aquatic animals such as frogs, turtles and crayfish. They also eat many different kinds of small mammals, including mice, bats, voles, muskrats and rabbits, and they’ll eat ducks and other birds if they can catch them. Other types of animals that make up the raccoon’s diet are snakes, fish and freshwater mussels. Typically raccoons focus on eating animals in the spring consume mostly vegetation in the summer and fall.

Other Foods

Since raccoons are opportunistic feeders, they will eat almost anything they can find. Turtle eggs, duck eggs and any other eggs they can find offer a ready source of nutrients. Earthworms and insects are another important part of this animal’s diet, especially in the spring, before fruit, nuts and grains are available. Raccoons who live around people supplement their diets by visiting nearby homes on a regular basis, looking for their share of any dog and cat food that has been left out.


Raccoons who live near humans scavenge for discarded human food, eating from garbage cans. They will break into tents or other campsite shelters if they can, and they’ll make their way into houses to steal. Dead animals represent easy meals for raccoons; carrion makes up an important part of their diets, sometimes leading them to the dangerous practice of scavenging along the side of the road.


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