What Do Raccoons Eat?Raccoons love food, and they’re not picky. In fact, the more accessible a food is, the more a raccoon wants it. These meal remnants from two nights ago sitting in your garbage bin outside? A treasure! To a raccoon, last evening’s steak dinner is their jackpot today. Even these cat food tins with scraps of deliciousness…mmm! Good thing raccoons are not picky since they’re amateur hunters. Some do catch the occasional squirrel or mouse, but overall, they are happy to raid the garbage. However, they do fish, especially in shallow rivers and ponds. Their paws are great for fishing and for grabbing frogs and crawfish. All things equal, raccoons prefer water habitat foods, such as fish, frogs, snails, clams and crayfish. They’ll eat meat, fruits and vegetables, nuts, eggs and insects. They’ll even chow down on dead animals.
Raccoons Eat Lots of FoodExpect extra-extra-hungry raccoons during the spring and summer. The rest of the time, raccoons are just extra-hungry. They venture out alone or with a trusted friend or two at night, unless it’s mating season (typically January to March). Then, they go out in groups. They can be out from dusk to dawn. Beware if you see raccoons out during the day. That’s abnormal behavior and an indicator of disease. Raccoons have insatiable appetites, but in the winter, they slow down their activity levels. Some sleep for days or even weeks in their den, but they do not hibernate.
Follow Proper Trash Handling and Recycling PrecautionsDon’t let raccoons become more than a nuisance. For example, some carry rabies. Transmission to humans is unlikely, but the odds are higher for roundworm and leptospirosis transmission. In any case, raccoons can get your pets sick. These wild creatures fight hard, and you don’t want them to get into a tussle with your pets. Prevention is the best way to deal with raccoons. Proper disposal of your waste plays a big role.
- Seal your garbage cans tight - If your trash is scattered in the morning or your garbage cans are upside down, your garbage isn’t sealed adequately. Look for garbage cans using handles or clamps to lock lids into place.
- Tidy up promptly after picnics and cookouts - Pick up bite-sized pieces of bread and other food fragments.
- Keep pet food inside, especially at night - Even spilled bird feed from a feeder can draw raccoons.
- Seal off access points such as chimneys and attic vents - Some raccoons even enter houses through baseboards and roof seams. Cut down tree branches that provide access to the roof or windows.
- Harvest fruits and vegetables when they are ripe - Otherwise, you risk losing your garden to raccoons.
- Never readily feed raccoons - You may think you’re helping one lonely raccoon by setting out a dish of dog food. Nope. Chances are the creature has lots of family and friends. Before long, you will be feeding swarms of these creatures and have a huge problem on your hands.