If you are interested in the Raccoon-Squirrel relationship, you must be curious to know do they possess a predator-prey relationship. Do Raccoons Eat Squirrels?
Raccoons eat Squirrels. Raccoons are omnivorous they can eat almost everything as their food, whether they are plants or animals. Along with nuts, seeds, fruits, and eggs, Raccoons also rely on insects and small rodents such as mice, rats, and squirrels to satisfy their hunger.
Raccoons rarely opt to hunt and eat Squirrels. This might be because Raccoons are scavengers. They always first try to find any easily available ready-made food that can be even any leftover food from your trash bin. But if they fail to find anything, then they start searching for animals that they can hunt and feed upon.
Are Raccoons Predators of Squirrels?
Squirrels serve as an attractive meal for many of their predators including foxes, coyotes, weasels, and predatory birds like hawks, eagles, and owls.
In addition to these, Raccoons also come under the category of predators of squirrels but the ratio of raccoons preying upon squirrels is very low in comparison to the rest of its predators.
This might be probably because of the reason that most of the squirrel’s predators belong to the carnivorous group that doesn’t have wide food choices other than meat.
While luckily, Raccoons are both omnivorous and scavengers, they can eat everything easily available.
So they don’t always choose to hunt and eat. They choose the difficult task to go after these fast-running squirrels when no good food options are there and they are in desperate need of food.
Do Raccoons Prefer to Eat Squirrels?
It is true Raccoons are one of the predators of Squirrels. They hunt squirrels whenever they get an opportunity but still eating squirrels is never a preferred meal for Raccoons.
Being an omnivore, they can feed upon both veg and non-veg material so they get multiple options when they search for food.
Besides plant material, Raccoons like to have meat as well, but still, first, they prefer to get it from easy sources like babies of birds and reptiles from their nests.
If they don’t get a chance to get meat from there, then they opt to hunt and eat animals like rabbits and squirrels.
Do Raccoons Eat Dead Squirrels?
Being scavengers, Raccoons get the additional benefit of having anything in their meal that is easily available.
Raccoons are famous as opportunist feeders that are only interested in easy access to food and never bother if the food available for them is dead or alive.
That’s why it is not a strange thing if you witness any Raccoon happily feeding upon the dead carcass of a squirrel or any other animal.
Do Raccoons Eat Baby Squirrels?
Chasing after an adult squirrel is a very challenging task. Raccoons are well known for their intelligence. They always find easy ways to address their needs.
So rather than wasting time chasing the adult speedy squirrel, Raccoons always keep an eye on squirrel nests and never miss an opportunity to get a hand on baby squirrels that can neither run like their elders nor they can defend themselves.
Eating babies of squirrels and other animals is the easiest way to fulfill the protein requirements of a Raccoon’s body.
How do Raccoons Manage to Eat Squirrels?
Whenever we talk about Raccoons and Squirrels, the most frequently asked question is how do Raccoons manage to eat squirrels when squirrels run faster than Raccoons and can easily escape?
Raccoons are predators, born to fight, but still, they don’t often seem interested to get food associated with the fight.
Raccoons always try to get food from sources that don’t require much effort. But whenever there is a need, Raccoons chase, hunt and arrange a lavish meaty meal for themselves, proving they are very good hunters.
The same goes when we talk about squirrels. We can’t deny that Squirrels run 5 times faster than Raccoons, but still, Raccoons manage to catch them through their intelligent trapping strategies.
In the case of Squirrels, Raccoons play smart enough and don’t make themselves tired by running behind them. Instead, they wait for a night that is the most suitable time for them to catch their prey.
Squirrels are diurnal so they stay active during the day and sleep peacefully at night. This character of Squirrel goes in the favor of their nocturnal predators’ Raccoons.
Raccoons find a night an ideal time to hunt squirrels in their nests where they are sleeping and not active so they can’t do something in their self-defense or run away.
Can Raccoons and Squirrels Live Together?
Although Raccoons and squirrels are associated with each other as prey and predator, Raccoons don’t primarily depend upon squirrels and eat them rarely, that’s why occasionally they have seen sharing the same attic space.
Squirrels are purely diurnal so they only remain active during the daytime, while Raccoons are nocturnal and search for food at night. This difference may help them to share the same place without disturbing each other
Raccoons are nocturnal but sometimes they come out in search of food during the daytime.
Raccoons and squirrels share similar feeding habits. Both of them feed on nuts, fruits, and seeds. If enough food is available for both of them, a raccoon may most probably neglect a squirrel and fulfill its hunger demands with easily available food.
How to Protect Squirrels from Raccoons?
If you don’t want Raccoons to visit your place, then first of all think about why Raccoons may come after your pet. Figure out the reason behind it and then think about how to fix it.
Raccoons are very smart and intelligent predators that give you a tough time if you are thinking to get rid of them.
If you want to keep them away from your pet’s surroundings, then you have to choose precautionary measures wisely. Keep in mind all the things that Raccoons hate and use all of them as your weapons against Raccoons.
For your ease, we will discuss some easy tips that might help you to get rid of these uninvited guests for a longer time.
Secure your Trash bins
Scavengers always search for easily available food, the same applies to Raccoons. Your trash bins are the most attractive places for them to have their next meal like any of your leftover food can serve as a feast for them.
So always be careful and keep your bins in places that are not easily accessible for Raccoons. Additionally, the lids of your bins should be tight enough that they can’t be easily opened by Raccoons.
Place Live Raccoon Traps
Live Raccoon traps are a very famous and effective method to get rid of them. Placing Raccoon traps in your surroundings and then leaving the trapped Raccoons in their natural habitat is a very eco-friendly method.
Use motion-activated Lights or Sound deterrents
Raccoons are nocturnal animals that do not like sharp light or loud noise. You may use their weakness as your power against them. These motion-sensitive devices start their work as soon as they feel any movement around them that scares the Raccoons at once so they may run away.
Remove all food sources
Raccoons don’t visit your place for fun. Its only interest is to get food from any of your sources. The habit of clearing away all the leftover food of your pets or food fallen from birds’ feeders before night minimizes the chances of these nocturnal animals’ attraction towards your place.
Use home-made Repellents
The smell of garlic and vinegar spray, apple cider vinegar spray, peppermint essential oil, cinnamon, and hot pepper act as very good repellents for Raccoons. They have a strong sense of smell that’s why they can easily detect the unpleasant smell of these homemade repellents and may avoid coming near your property.
Avoid Feeding Raccoons
The most important thing to remember is never to feed these cute-looking masked bandits. Raccoons look naive but they are very destructive pests. They are scavengers who love to get a quick readymade meal so always discourage feeding them.
Raccoons not only prey upon Rabbits and chickens, but they are predators of Squirrels as well. Raccoons eating squirrels is not something surprising because all omnivorous creatures consume meat along with plants.
The protein they get from animal sources helps them to stay healthy by strengthening the cell generation and tissue development process.
Raccoons hunt squirrels but they never make squirrels their priority because of their faster speed. So if you own a squirrel and are worried about its safety, then sit back and stay calm because Raccoons choose to hunt and eat squirrels very rarely because of the unlimited options of food they have.
Only when Raccoons fail to find any easily available food item of their choice, then they opt to hunt squirrels.
- Raccoons eating habits– National Geographic
- Raccoons Facts– Live Science