What Do Raccoons Eat?

Most of us are familiar with the masked bandit we call the raccoon. The average raccoon measures about 3 feet long – including a bushy, ringed tail – and weighs 15 to 40 pounds. They have a hunched back appearance because their hind legs are much longer than their front legs.

The raccoon’s diet is of a large variety. While they prefer to live in wooded areas near a water source, such as a stream or pond, they occasionally venture into urban areas in search of shelter or food. This search for food can pose a large nuisance to homeowners.

A not so picky palate

What raccoons eat has a lot to do with accessibility. This is how they may sometimes end up in your garbage. But what does a raccoon like to eat? The preferred raccoon diet contains food found in or near water, such as crayfish, frogs, fish, snails and clams. They also enjoy insects, eggs, fruits, vegetables, nuts and even dead animals. Raccoons are not experts at hunting prey, but they do manage to occasionally catch a young mouse, rat or squirrel.

Raccoons are solitary animals, except during mating season. They tend to hunt during the night and dine alone. They are also voracious feeders, especially during the spring and summer. They gorge themselves to store body fat for the winter, where they will spend most of their time in their den.

Baby raccoons

What do baby raccoons eat? It takes about 16 weeks for a baby raccoon to become weaned off of its mother’s milk. They may begin to explore before that, however, as soon as they are about 1 pound in weight.

More than a nuisance

In their quest for food, raccoons may invade your garden or, even worse, your home. They have five toes and two front feet. These toes are equipped with sharp claws that are used to capture prey on land and in water. They may also be used to dig up grass and dirt in search of grub.

What do raccoons like to eat when they come to visit your home? They’ve been known to ravage homegrown fruits and vegetables and are notorious for rummaging through garbage. They may even build nests in your attic or crawl space. Raccoons can be dangerous and are proven carriers of numerous diseases, including rabies.

Have a raccoon invasion in your home? The wildlife management professionals at Terminix® have the expertise to control a variety of unwanted animals, including this masked bandit.