Raccoons, like humans are omnivores and have teeth designed to grind plants or tear meat. They are normally nocturnal, though they do sometimes come out in the daytime to search for food, especially in urban environments and on garbage days.
Fruit is important for raccoons. They consume plenty of apples, blackberries and cherries when they 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. They also eat insects, eggs, poultry, rats, squirrels, small livestock, birds, fish, snakes, crawfish, worms, frogs, and mollusks. Additionally, raccoons will eat pet food, dead animals, and human garbage. Raccoons like to eat many different kinds of food, but what they actually eat often depends on what is available. As expected, the foods available to raccoons in the country are frequently different from the foods available to raccoons in urban areas.
Raccoon diets in wild environments:
Raccoons in the wild are skilled at using their paws to catch fish, to steal eggs or hatchlings from bird nests, and to pick fruit. 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. Further, they will raid a vegetable garden or a chicken house. They will catch squirrels, small livestock, snakes, chickens, crawfish, worms, and mollusks, but they prefer the slower-moving, easier-to-catch prey. Other types of animals that make up the raccoon’s diet are snakes and freshwater mussels. 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.
Raccoon diets in urban environments
City raccoons will scavenge dumpsters, garbage cans, and sometimes even road kill. They will steal pet food and take fish from decorative or backyard ponds. Backyard gardens are a favorite as well. Occasionally, they become brave enough to approach humans and beg for food too.
Typically raccoons focus on eating animals in the spring and consume mostly vegetation in the summer and fall. Earthworms, lawn grubs and insects are another important part of raccoon diets, especially in the spring, before fruit, nuts and grains are available.
The reason raccoons have flourished and seem to thrive in a variety of environments is their ability to adapt to different environments and vary their diet as needed.
At Skedaddle Humane Wildlife Control, we always advise homeowners to keep their outdoor garbage area as secure as possible and keep pet food inside. If garbage or food is attracting raccoons to your property, they may begin investigating a way to get into the attic or chimney, and then the real problems start!
Raccoons live and den near sources of food and, when plentiful, larger populations can be supported. This all increases the likelihood of raccoons finding their way into the house.
Having prevention work done on your home to secure any possible entry areas will help keep any raccoon invaders from making a home in your attic or chimney!
If you think you have a raccoon problem, call Skedaddle Humane Wildlife Control today. 1-888-592-0387.
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