What Do Raccoons Eat In The City

What Do Raccoons Eat In The City featured image

Raccoons are fascinating animals that live in forests, but did you know that they can also be found in cities? Yes, it’s true! Just like us, raccoons need to eat to survive. But what do these clever creatures munch on when they’re living in the city? Well, raccoons are not very picky eaters. They enjoy a variety of foods, which makes them adaptable to urban environments. In the city, these sneaky critters often find their meals in garbage cans and dumpsters. They are skilled at opening lids and digging through trash to find leftover human food, like yummy scraps from dinner or even a tasty slice of pizza! But that’s not all – raccoons also love to eat fruits, vegetables, nuts, and even small animals like birds or frogs. So, whether it’s a trash can treasure or a natural treat, raccoons have a wide menu in the city!

General Overview of Raccoons

Raccoons are fascinating creatures that have the ability to adapt and thrive in various environments, including urban areas. Let’s take a closer look at these clever critters!

Raccoons in Urban Environments

One of the reasons raccoons have been successful in urban environments is their adaptability. They have a keen ability to make the most of their surroundings and find new food sources. While they may have initially inhabited forests and wetlands, they quickly realized that cities offer a smorgasbord of delectable treats.

Raccoons in the City: What Do They Eat?

Why are raccoons attracted to urban areas?

Raccoons are highly adaptable creatures, which is why they have no problem making themselves at home in urban environments. The city offers them a plethora of food sources and shelter, making it an ideal habitat for their survival. Plus, who can resist the allure of all the tasty treats that city life has to offer?

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The availability of food sources in the city

Trash cans and dumpsters become an all-you-can-eat buffet for raccoons in the city. They have a remarkable ability to open lids and rummage through the contents, searching for discarded food. It’s like a treasure hunt for them, and they rarely come up empty-handed.

Bird feeders and pet food left outdoors are another delicacy for urban raccoons. They have a keen sense of smell and can sniff out those tasty morsels from miles away. So, if you’re wondering why your bird feeder is always empty or your pet’s food seems to disappear overnight, you can probably blame the raccoons.

Gardens and vegetable patches are like a farmer’s market for raccoons. They love to munch on fresh produce and can decimate a garden in no time. Those juicy tomatoes and crunchy cucumbers are too tempting for them to resist.

Fruits and nuts from trees are also on the menu for city-dwelling raccoons. They are excellent climbers and can easily scale trees to feast on the ripest fruits and nuts. So, if you have a fruit tree in your yard, don’t be surprised if you find a masked bandit up there enjoying a tasty treat.

Insects and small rodents are a natural part of a raccoon’s diet, and the city provides an abundance of both. They can find insects in gardens, parks, and even on sidewalks. And as for small rodents, well, let’s just say the city is a playground for these furry little hunters.

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Natural Diet of Raccoons

Raccoons are fascinating creatures with a diverse and adaptable diet. In their natural habitats, they have a wide range of food sources to choose from. They are omnivorous, which means they eat both plant and animal matter. Let’s take a closer look at what raccoons typically eat in the wild.

Raccoons: The Ultimate Foodie

Raccoons are known for being opportunistic eaters, and they have a knack for finding food in unexpected places. Their diet consists of a variety of foods, including fruits, nuts, vegetables, insects, small mammals, and even the occasional bird egg. They are skilled foragers and can find food in forests, wetlands, and even suburban areas.

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A Taste for Variety

One interesting thing about raccoons is that they prefer a diverse diet. They don’t just stick to one type of food; they like to mix it up. This is because different foods provide different nutrients, and raccoons have learned to take advantage of this. They will eat whatever is available and in season, making them adaptable to changing food sources.

The Importance of Water

While raccoons may be able to find food in a variety of places, they do have one essential requirement: water. Raccoons need access to water to survive, as it helps with digestion and hydration. They are excellent climbers and are often found near bodies of water, such as streams, rivers, and ponds.

Raccoons vs. Garbage Cans

When raccoons venture into urban areas, their natural diet can be supplemented by the plentiful food sources available there. One of the most notorious food sources for city-dwelling raccoons is, you guessed it, garbage cans. Raccoons have become notorious for their ability to open lids and scavenge through trash in search of a tasty meal. But they’re not just after leftovers; they’ll eat just about anything they find in there.

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Exploring Your Garden

If you have a garden or a vegetable patch, it’s not uncommon to find raccoons exploring the area. They have a particular fondness for fruits and vegetables, especially those that are ripe and ready to eat. Raccoons are excellent climbers, so they can easily access trees and plants to get to their desired treats. Just be prepared to share your harvest with these masked bandits!

A Balanced Diet for a Healthy Raccoon

While raccoons have a knack for finding food in the city, it’s important to note that their natural diet provides them with a balanced mix of nutrients. Feeding them human food, such as junk food or processed snacks, can lead to health issues and imbalances in their diet. It’s best to let raccoons stick to their natural foraging habits and ensure they have access to a variety of food sources to keep them healthy and thriving.

By understanding the natural diet of raccoons, we can gain a better appreciation for these resilient creatures and learn how to coexist with them in our urban environments.


What do raccoons eat in the city?

Raccoons are opportunistic eaters and can adapt to various food sources available in urban areas. They commonly consume fruits, vegetables, nuts, insects, small mammals, birds, eggs, and fish. Additionally, they are known to scavenge through trash bins and compost piles, making them omnivorous feeders.

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Can raccoons eat pet food left outdoors?

Yes, raccoons can eat pet food left outdoors. Leaving pet food outside can attract raccoons and other wildlife, including skunks and opossums. It is advisable to feed pets indoors or remove any leftover pet food after your pets have finished eating to prevent attracting these animals.

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Are raccoons a threat to small pets in the city?

Raccoons are generally not a significant threat to large or aggressive pets, such as dogs. However, they can pose a danger to small pets, such as cats or small dogs, especially if left unsupervised. It is recommended to keep small pets indoors or supervise them while outside to prevent any potential conflicts with raccoons or other wildlife.


In conclusion, raccoons are highly adaptable creatures that have successfully made their way into urban environments. While their natural diet consists of a diverse range of foods, they have learned to take advantage of the abundant food sources found in cities. Trash cans, bird feeders, gardens, fruits, nuts, insects, and small rodents are all common food sources for urban raccoons.

However, it is important to be mindful of the potential negative impacts of feeding raccoons intentionally or unintentionally. Feeding raccoons can lead to dependency and aggressive behavior, and it can also pose health risks to both humans and raccoons. It is crucial to maintain a balanced diet for the well-being of these animals.

To encourage natural foraging behavior and minimize human-wildlife conflicts, homeowners can take simple steps such as securing trash cans with animal-proof lids, cleaning up spilled birdseed and pet food, and removing fallen fruits and nuts from the ground. Implementing fencing or deterrents for gardens can also help protect plants from raccoon damage.

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By coexisting with raccoons and respecting their natural behaviors, we can ensure a harmonious relationship between humans and wildlife in urban areas.

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