Suburban Raccoons

What are Raccoon Eating Habits

Raccoon EatingWe have had damage like that shown on the picture on the left in our lawn. Our lawn has been dug up during the evening and at night since raccoons are generally nocturnal. In fact, it got so bad that they would dig up the lawn to find grubs and earthworms, then carry them over to our pool and wash the food off in the pool before eating whatever they had found. There are really two problems – the first is that we have grubs in the lawn which eat the roots of the lawn and secondly the raccoon eating grubs from the lawn.

The dirt and mess left on the steps of our pool were disgusting and we really had a difficult time cleaning this up the next day. Our next post which will be available in two weeks will cover “How to get rid of raccoons”, will be of interest to those people who have similar problems to ourselves. So stay tuned.

In the meantime, I wanted to find out what their eating habits were so that I could possibly use this information to help control the raccoons in our area. We have made quite a few posts about how to remove raccoons from your attic in a safe manner and keep them out. Refer to some of our earlier posts about these subjects.

What are Raccoon Eating Habits?

Urban and suburban raccoons will eat just about anything available that falls into the plant area, birds, fish, small animals, and leftovers from your meals which get thrown out in the garbage. From some of the sources, we looked at they eat invertebrates, plant material, and vertebrates. These consist of nuts, berries, all kinds of fruit, fish, crustaceans, grubs, small birds, small mammals, insects, worms, and garbage as mentioned.

It is so bad in our area that we cannot put the garbage out the night before, or the raccoons will get into it and scatter the garbage all over the street. What a mess they make. during the rest of the week, they are looking for some of the food sources previously mentioned.

If you have grubs on your lawn, the raccoons will find them. This is the reason the lawn has been dug up in the picture above. There are chemicals that can get rid of the grubs which remove the food source for the raccoons and by the way, ensures that your lawn will be more healthy. The grubs like to eat the roots of the grass which of course will kill the grass as well. These grubs are white and about the size of your little finger. They provide lots of protein and the raccoons love them.

What do Raccoons eat in the Winter Time?

Raccoons will build up weight and fat during the fall when food is more plentiful. They love acorns and walnuts which provide lots of calories and will fill up on these to put on weight. If you suspect there are raccoons in the area, take action. You want to dissuade them from spending time in your yard. Pick up the nuts so that there is no food source for the raccoons.

Raccoons will go into what is called winter rest, which is not full hibernation during the winter in colder climates. This reduces their activity drastically and lowers their metabolism as well.  Fat built up in the fall will help them last through the winter. However, if they think there is a food source available e.g. your garbage. They will be out to sample every garbage day unless there is a tremendous amount of snow.

Since winter rest is not hibernation, they can quickly rouse themselves. They will go out of their dens to seek food sources that might be available. They will emerge from the den when the snow melts or there are warmer days in the wintertime.

Discouraging Raccoons Eating

The best way to avoid raccoons in your area is to remove all possible food sources. Fruit, nuts such as acorns and walnuts, grubs in your lawn and lock up your garbage. If you must keep it outside or put it out the night before, use a garbage container that is animal proof. If there are no food sources, they simply will not waste their time visiting your property.

Tricks such as loud noises, lights, even chasing them simply do not work. They are used to living with humans and really are not afraid of us. Although they will be cautious around us. You can put your dog out at night. However, he may keep you awake as these nocturnal visitors come to visit. The best approach by far is to remove all potential sources of food. Protect your home as well in the manner we have outlined in



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7 Responses to “What are Raccoon Eating Habits”

  1. our lawn is beginning to look like the one in the picture. the raccoons have just invaded and are digging up our lawn looking for grubs. i do no think they are skunks, because I have actually seen raccoons on the street at night. We do not even put our garbage out at night because they will make such a mess

  2. […] dies because there are no roots to absorb any moisture that is left in the ground. In addition raccoons can smell the grubs and they in turn dig in your lawn and root up the grass leaving ugly patches of grass that will […]

  3. Insecticides are not a good idea to get rid of grubs in lawns. They attack the central nervous systems of insects and are carcinogens.Your dog or chuld could get it on paws or hands and ingest it. Milky spore are a safer treatment.

  4. What are other safe measures that are not related to chemicals that one can use? Thanks.

  5. The best approach is to use a one way trap door to let them get out of your building / attic and not back in. Remove all sources of food as well.

  6. thank you you bet

  7. thank you omu

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