Raccoons are famous for their cleverness and nocturnal food hunt. They are omnivorous and eat multiple foods, including nuts, vegetables, eggs, fruits, and even a few small animals. But do you wonder if raccoons are scavengers, or do raccoons eat dead animals?
Yes. Raccoons eat dead animals. From raiding trash cans to dead bodies are all habits of raccoons. Raccoons can be included as scavengers as they forage and devour the remains of dead animals ranging from birds, squirrels, and mice to other large animals.
This article discusses the details of raccoons being a scavenger and omnivorous, so make sure to read the article till the end.
Why Do Raccoons Eat Dead Animals?
Raccoons are predators and hunters. They are omnivorous but opportunistic eaters that will eat anything available.
They are lazy and like to sleep a lot. Therefore, if it finds an easy food source, it will devour it instantly.
That is why raccoons break into homes so frequently because there is a lot of food.
In difficult times when there is no food, and a raccoon finds a dead animal lying around, it will scavenge on it.
During cold, when there is less food available and being lazy, the raccoons will not search long distances for food. It will eat the dead animal.
How Can Raccoons Eat Dead Animals?
Even though raccoons are omnivorous, they have sharp physical features which make it easier for them to hunt, kill and eat animals.
They can eat raw flesh or meat using their sharp claws and teeth.
They have five digits on their paws that are very sharp to bore into the flesh and bones of animals.
Therefore, they can eat dead animals. Plus, an acidic stomach helps through digestion and keeps them protected against microbes that can make them sick.
Do Raccoons Eat Carcasses?
Raccoons can eat carcasses. Although, they are part of the omnivorous group of animals. They can be scavengers during difficult times. It is common to find a raccoon in the dustbins or kitchen.
Raccoons also eat; frogs, mollusks, worms, insects, small rodents, and squirrels. Dead bodies are not their favorite choice of meal.
But raccoons eat carcasses when they are starving, and nothing is available.
Recent studies show that raccoons not only scavenge on dead animals but also on human bodies.
The journal of forensic science; (2015) has an article Investigation into Seasonal Scavenging Patterns of Raccoons on Human Decomposition by Yang Seung Jeong, Lee Meadows Jantz, and Jake Smith. The article states that raccoons scavenging on human bodies is common in North America.
The research was on a few human dead bodies to analyze the pattern of raccoon scavenging.
The study concludes that the summer is frequent weather for raccoons to scavenge on the carcasses.
Do Raccoons Eat Rotten Meat?
Raccoons eat everything they find, Ranging from vegetables, fruits, grains, and meat. Raccoons are omnivorous.
They thrive on meat. To find the food, it will either jump into the trash can or hunt for small animals like rats, squirrels, mice, cats, or aquatic animals like frogs and fishes.
The rotten meat is never their first choice of meal. However, in difficult times raccoons will eat rotten meat.
This rotten meat can be from a dead animal or the one it finds in household trash. However, its first choice will always be fresh food, even if it’s not meat.
Do Raccoons Eat Live Animals?
Raccoons are nocturnal, opportunistic omnivorous animals. It means they hunt for food at night. These food sources range from plants to animals and include vegetables, grains, and fruit to meat.
Their protein source does not limit to the leftover meat in trash or dumpsite but also includes hunting of small animals.
A mammalogy paper of the University of Nebraska, written by Patricia W. Freeman in 1994, states that raccoons eat pretty much anything available, whether plant or animal.
The plant foods consist of wild fruits, including persimmons, grapes, plums, blackberries, oranges, and nuts.
Common meat source includes invertebrates found on the ground, chicken, birds, and carrion, and eggs of ground-nesting birds like duck and geese. Aquatic prey consists of clams, frogs, turtles, and fish.
Do Raccoons Eat Dead Squirrels?
Raccoons are clever and have strong smell sense and sharp claws and teeth. Therefore, tracking and attacking a squirrel is easy for them. However, squirrels are faster than raccoons. It decreases the chances of a regular attack.
Raccoons are cunning and opportunistic hunters. If it finds a dead squirrel, it will eat it instantly. There are a lot of squirrel carcasses scavengers, including raccoons, foxes, coyotes, turkey vultures, opossums, and skunks.
Raccoons are omnivorous animals and show scavenger behavior as well. Therefore, it is no surprise that the raccoons can devour a dead squirrel.
Do Raccoons Eat Dead Rats And Mice?
If there is no other food choice, raccoons will devour these small rodents. In fact, raccoons are famous rats and mice predators. It is effortless for them to track the rats and mice.
Plus, raccoons are large than the rodents, so there will be almost no self-defense, making them an easy target. A dead rodent makes raccoons’ hunt easier, as they are opportunistic eaters it will surely eat dead rats and mice.
What Will Eat A Dead Raccoon?
Hawks, bobcats, mountain lions, and owls are natural predators of a raccoon. These animals will attack and eat raccoons, keeping their population in control. A common predator of young raccoons is snakes.
The dead raccoon is an easy feast for many wild animals apart from its common predators.
Wild animals typically look for easy food while hunting and dead animals make their work easier.
Coyotes, foxes, and turkey vultures are famous for devouring dead animals, including raccoons, in the wild.
Will A Raccoon Eat A Dead Raccoon?
Raccoons are aggressive and opportunistic eaters. Although they are called omnivorous mammals, they hunt and eat. They are no different than violent, fearsome, and rigorous carnivorous.
A trapped and starving raccoon can eat dead animals, including a dead raccoon. After the nesting season, an adult male raccoon might hunt, kill and eat baby raccoons of another raccoon.
During winters, when the times are tough, they will eat anything. They have an acidic stomach, so they can eat anything ranging from vegetables to human and animal waste, rotten meat, or dead bodies.
Therefore, when a raccoon is starving, it will devour another raccoon.
Do Raccoons Eat Dead Animals During Hibernation?
Raccoons do not necessarily hibernate. But during the winter season, they go in hiding inside hollow trees or abandoned dens and will sleep through the season.
It will probably not come out unless it is hungry. Food resources during winter are limited. There is little to no vegetation available.
Plus, raccoons are opportunistic eaters. They will devour anything available. Therefore, a raccoon may scavenge during hibernation months or in winters. They can eat dead bodies of animals, including dead raccoons.
Do Raccoons Eat Dead Animals Decompose?
When an animal dies, it begins decomposing. This decomposing is assisted by animals that feed on meat.
Decomposition of dead animals is carried out by insects and scavengers. The insects feeding on dead bodies are flies, beetles, ants, worms, and slugs.
Famous scavengers are vultures, opossums, crows, eagles, hyenas, and raccoons. Other decomposers are multiple microorganisms, including bacteria and fungi.
Therefore, raccoons eat dead animals and decompose. It makes them scavengers.
Do Raccoons Eat A Dead Animal In The Wild?
Raccoons will feed on dead animals anywhere, either in nature or the city. They will scavenge, especially when they are starving and there is no food available.
A research paper written by Ashely Hannigan, the University of Maine, a descriptive study of forensic implications of raccoon scavenging in Maine, states that diet of raccoons changes according to the availability of food.
That is why they flourish in urban and rural areas. They take advantage of dead animals that are out in the environment. It makes them scavengers.
The paper also states that raccoons are likely to scavenge on human remains as well.
Do Raccoons Eat Dead Fish?
Fishes are the prey of raccoons, either dead or alive. It is common for raccoons to eat rotten food. Therefore, they can eat dead fish directly from water sources or the rotten fish thrown in the garbage.
Raccoons have an acidic gut, so eating dead fish that was sick will not affect them. According to various research, roundworms cannot live inside a raccoon gut.
Therefore, even if it eats a sick fish, it will not get sick.
Raccoons are omnivorous and scavengers. They can effortlessly devour dead animals due to their sharp claws and teeth.
Additionally, raccoons have an acidic stomach making digestion of decomposed animals easy.
Raccoons will eat dead animals in the wild or in the city. As they are lazy animals and avoid traveling long distance for food, they will devour dead animal if it finds one. Recent studies state that raccoons are now even scavenging on dead human bodies too.
The winters are the frequent scavenging time for raccoons as there are few food sources. So, they will eat anything available. A raccoon can also eat another dead raccoon.