Most people who live in this region of the world have seen at least one raccoon skulking around. Raccoons are native to North America, and besides scavenging in garbage bins and eating plants, you can find they will eat virtually anything to survive. Besides eating your pet food, raccoons will eat other animals as a last resort.
Raccoons are opportunistic omnivores, thus meaning they are more than happy to eat both plants and animals. Raccoons typically forage for easy-to-catch animals like clams and snails. However, common animals such as frogs, fish, snakes, rabbits, squirrels, mice, rats, gophers, and birds have all been known to be eaten by raccoons.
Now, you may find having raccoons around isn’t much of an issue. What is worse is if you have a mice infestation or a growing rat population. Do raccoons kill rats? It is often asked, as many try to entice raccoons to help control their rodent issue. Raccoons may not catch rats to eat, as the smartest raccoons first search for easier-to-access food sources.
In our guide, you can learn more about a raccoon Vs. rat, and how they could help put an end to chew marks as rodents try to find entry points into hiding places come the winter months. By the end, you’ll see raccoons may help, yet they may not solve your rodent issues and could actually threaten your small livestock. (Read Do Hawks Eat Squirrels)
Why do Raccoons Need to Eat Meat?
Raccoons are omnivores; thus, they occasionally need to eat meat to stay healthy. Raccoons cannot obtain the necessary vitamins and minerals from plants alone; therefore, meat gives them the protein and nutrients they need, even if they don’t need it for every meal.
To stay healthy, raccoons need a broad diet containing plants, seeds, nuts, and animals. Because of this, raccoons forage for the most accessible food sources that use the least effort. Here’s a range of foods you can find raccoons eat when in the wild.
Clams: Many raccoons prefer living near water, so clams are an easy source of food.
Fish: Raccoons are strong swimmers and can use this ability to help catch slow-moving fish in shallow water. Fish offer protein, vitamins, and minerals and are a good source of omega-3 and 6 fatty acids.
Frogs: Frogs are full of protein and other essential nutrients like vitamin B12, iron, zinc, and potassium.
Snails: These slow-moving creatures are no match for the masked bandits.
Snakes and Reptiles: Raccoons coexist in ecosystems with snakes and other slithery animals. Raccoons are likely to eat a lizard or snake once it is dead or injured. Young snakes may be more of a target, as these small snakes are an easy catch and less of a threat.
Rodents: Depending on the situation, raccoons will occasionally eat rabbits and squirrels in addition to rodents, mainly rats and mice.
Raccoons are not agile hunters and will consume a dead rodent rather than hunt them. This is true for larger rodents like rabbits and squirrels, yet raccoons have been seen eating young, hurt, and small rodents. Raccoons rely on rodents for protein, vitamins, and minerals.
Squirrels: In addition to eating muskrats or rabbits, raccoons have been found to eat squirrels or other smaller rodents. Squirrels are more agile, so their chances of escaping increase.
Mice: Mice are more in line with the size and speed a raccoon can match as opposed to other more invasive rodents.
Some raccoons catch mice when bored and eventually eat them, much like cats do. If you have lots of mice in your attic, you can find you end up with a raccoon infestation rather than a mouse problem. (Learn How To Keep Raccoons Away From Chickens)
Rats: Rats are an easy catch for raccoons like mice, and you can end up with a raccoon problem if you already have a rat problem.
You’ll need to keep your house free of rats, or you can end up with too many raccoons taking root in your home rather than a rat problem.
Worms and Insects: Raccoons forage for a food source. Worms and insects are a significant part of their diet.
Even though these insects offer a small amount of protein, they are easy for raccoons to find and eat.
Eggs: Raccoons frequently eat bird eggs and eat almost any other kind of egg they find besides bird eggs. As a mother bird goes for food, the raccoon sneaks into the nests to steal the eggs.
Will Raccoons Eat Pets?
Raccoons are renowned for their intelligence, so if you have any outdoor animals in any locked area, you could find the raccoons can open the doors.
Raccoons prey on animals like rabbits, chickens, and koi fish. So, if you keep these animals, ensure your yard is raccoon-proof. Since most animals have better sight and hearing than us, they can sense an approaching predator. Larger animals will be safe, yet smaller pets could be vulnerable.
Do Raccoon Eat Mice?
Finding a raccoon looking for food by hunting rats or mice is quite unlikely as they prefer to scavenge for easy food. However, raccoons occasionally prey on aged and frail rodents. When scavenging for food, raccoons will eat old, ill, or injured mice.
Other times, they might hunt a rat in an area of food, mainly if there isn’t any other food nearby.
Do Raccoons Eat Rats?
Raccoons will eat dead rats as raccoons prefer to eat food that is easy to find, and a dead rat is easy to find. Besides eating dead rats, they may eat rats that are trapped, and the rat has nowhere to go, although dead rats make things far easier.
What Things Do Wild Raccoons Eat?
Raccoons are primarily carnivores, although they are still omnivorous animals since they will eat rodents if they have to avoid starvation. Raccoons will consume almost anything that can be considered as food.
This is made possible by their intelligent nature, which enables them to adapt to any environment and find food, as well as their teeth, which are intended to rend meat and chew plants, making it possible for them to accomplish this.
Raccoons that live in cities often consume garbage because it is part of their junk; thus, garbage cans and pet food are high on the priority list. But what other foods do they eat? Many items include berries, fruits and vegetables, nuts, eggs, worms, frogs, birds, fish, and other small animals.
In essence, raccoons eat everything, and raccoons will consume any food when they are in the wild, including both plant and animal food sources; however, their diet changes depending on the source of food. Wild raccoons use their paws to enter chicken coops or other animal shelters besides catching fish, mice, and more. (Read Can Rabbits Eat Weeds)
Raccoons in your home area tend to head to garbage cans first to find their favorite foods before they cross paths with birds or a rat to eat. Raccoons love chicken and will eat it if they can. So don’t let them see your chickens. If you see them, call a raccoon removal service. You can also use many natural methods to deter raccoons from your yard.
Can Raccoons Solve My Rat Or Mice Problem?
Raccoons catch live mice for pleasure, and you shouldn’t use raccoons to control mice around your home. Like mice, raccoons can ruin your home, besides transmitting disease.
Besides this, raccoons cannot control mice for one reason: mice are smart and rarely search for food in raccoon territory. Catching a mouse requires the smartest raccoons, as mice hide in attics, garages, and anywhere they find food.
Will Raccoons Help Keep Rats and Mice Away?
It’s a yes/no question. Raccoons eat mice and rats, although not mostly. Thus, if these rodents do not follow precise patterns outside the home, raccoons are unlikely to exterminate them totally.
Rats and mice are smart and careful and avoid areas with raccoons. Raccoons could safely keep rats and mice away, but they risked producing a worse infestation, such as a raccoon infestation.
You may wish to keep rats and mice away and may forget raccoons are pests but larger and can cause more damage.
Will Raccoons Hunt and Eat Rats and Mice?
Raccoons hunt rats and mice for sport and eat them. However, they are not easy prey, and intelligent rats and mice to avoid these predators. Thus, killing rats requires a smart raccoon. In fact, raccoons rarely eat the rats and mice they kill. They kill and move their prey to a more safe place to avoid the detection of other raccoons.
Raccoons, like cats, play with rats and mice. They hide, study their paths, and attack quickly. Raccoons avoid live rats and mice and only hunt them when hungry as these rodents are aggressive, biting and scratching, and can spread lethal infections to raccoons.
How Easy Can Raccoons Catch Mice and Rats?
Like cats, raccoons play hide and seek while attempting to catch their prey. They will hide behind trees, tree bark, and objects to watch mice from a distance before approaching to attack. The unfortunate ones are frequently mice and rats that raccoons attack.
Rats and mice can only be eaten by raccoons when they are attracted outside by pet food. At this point, they are vulnerable to raccoon assaults. Raccoons have difficulty catching mice and rats because of their intelligence and ability to detect and trace their path back to their hiding places.
Because they do not appreciate eating these small rodents, raccoons do not actively hunt for mice and rats. Raccoons only hunt other animals if they are forced to do so because they are extremely hungry. (Learn How To Keep Deer From Eating Hostas)
Additionally, incidents of disease transfer from mice or rats to raccoons have been documented, mainly when bites are involved.
Raccoons are, therefore, hesitant to eat rats or mice because of this. Therefore, the easiest and most efficient way to solve your rat or mouse problem would be to get in touch with a local pest control specialist like Raccoon Control.
Mice and other rodents often find hiding spots that they can scurry into to avoid raccoons who want to take advantage of their predicament.