Raccoons are omnivorous critters who are known for their dumpster-diving antics. And while they are known to eat out of the trash, they do have some quirky eating habits. Below, we will explore some of those habits.
Raccoons are Omnivores
Raccoons can eat both plant and animal materials and in a wide variety. While in urban environments they scavenge, they can also hunt for their food. From grubs and insects to fish, raccoons can eat a wide assortment of critters. They will also eat carrion if available. However, they will gravitate to easily accessible food nearby. Plates of food left out after your summer barbeque are free game. Koi ponds are easy hunting grounds for the little bandits. Additionally, they love to snack on vegetables from your garden.
Raccoons Love Corn
Raccoons will eat a wide assortment of vegetation and are a known nuisance for gardeners. But one thing they love more than most is corn. Sweet corn is especially favored by raccoons. Whether it’s in your garden or your trash can, raccoons have been known to dig through trash to get to the vegetable. For gardeners, you can reduce raccoon theft by interplanting or growing taller corn varieties. Pumpkins and pole beans are good for interplanting, as they tend to dislike their vines and foliage.
Wetting Their Food
One quirky thing about raccoons is that they love to wet their food. When near a water source, they tend to dunk their food, rolling it around in their paws. In fact, the scientific name for a raccoon is Procyon lotor, which means “washing bear.” The accepted theory as to why lies in their paws. They have a large number of sensory nerves in their paws, much more than most other mammals. When their paws become wet, their receptors become more sensitive. Scientists believe that they wet the food to gather more information on it. It helps them identify what they are eating, and to make sure that it is safe. Because of this practice, raccoons can actually be important for the spreading of seeds. They may have played a role in spreading some plants across parts of North America.
Do Not Feed Wild Raccoons
Never feed or leave food out for raccoons. They will remember where they got it and return for more. Because of their good memory for food, they are also likely to return to trash cans that they know to have easy access. Because of this, you may have a recurring problem with these critters in your trash.
We specialize in the humane removal of raccoons, rats, squirrels, and other pests in the New York/New Jersey area. For a complete inspection and evaluation please contact us or call us at 718-227-7227 and we will be happy to make an appointment at your convenience.