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Why do Raccoons Eat Trash?

Raccoon in Trash CanRaccoons are well-known for being expert dumpster divers. But, why do these little bandits frequent our trash cans? Raccoons, especially in urban areas, love to jump in or knock over trash cans for food. This article will explore why raccoons scavenge through our garbage, and how to reduce the risk of them making a mess in your bins.

Country vs City Raccoons

In the wild, raccoons have a diverse, omnivorous diet. They will hunt for fish, frogs, insects, small rodents, and bird eggs. They can eat a variety of plants, including wild berries and nuts. However, a raccoon in the countryside may have to travel up to 15 miles to find sufficient food.
Raccoons that live in urban areas can find bountiful meals in the trash. Because of this, they may only have to travel up to a ¼ mile to find enough food. While urban areas pose their own challenges, such as dodging cars and avoiding humans, food can be found almost anywhere.

What Trash do Raccoons Eat?

Raccoons are not picky eaters, so they will feast on pretty much anything in your trash can, as long as it isn’t spoiled. Despite being scavenging creatures, raccoons tend to avoid rotten food unless absolutely necessary. Raccoons will eat plant and meat scraps they can find. They can easily dig through other items in the trash to get to the food scraps.

Securing your Garbage Cans

Raccoons can make quite a large mess in order to get the food in your trash bin. To avoid cleaning up after these pesky dumpster divers, there are a few ways you can secure your trash bins. First, consider investing in animal-proof bins. Raccoon-proof bins with locking covers can reduce the risk of wild animals eating your garbage and making a mess. If you live in an area with bears, you may want to consider going a step further and investing in bear-proof trash cans.
Securing your bins can be a good way to limit mealtime at your trash cans. If your bins do not have locking lids, consider using a bungee cord to secure the tops. Because raccoons like to knock over cans, consider tying them to your fence when not out on the curb. Raccoons can scare easy, and do not like bright light. Motion sensor flood lights by your garbage pails can scare these critters away.

Safety and Raccoons

If there is a raccoon in your trash, do not approach or corner it. Raccoons can attack if they feel threatened. Instead, make loud noises from afar. Often, this will be enough to scare it off. If the raccoon does not leave, move away safely and call a humane animal removal specialist. Do not engage the raccoon. Raccoons can carry a number of diseases, including rabies. If you or a loved one is attacked by a raccoon, wash the wound with soap and warm water, and seek medical attention.

We specialize in the humane removal of raccoons, opossums, and other pests in the New York/New Jersey area. For a complete inspection and evaluation please contact us or call us at 718-962-0376 and we will be happy to make an appointment at your convenience.

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