Raccoons make very interesting pets. They are curious, mischievous, playful, and get into everything. And they eat quite a variety of foods. There are no formulated raccoon diets that are pre-made and ready for you to purchase so it can be difficult to provide a proper, well-balanced diet to your pet raccoon. Therefore, by learning what a raccoon eats in the wild we can be better prepared to offer appropriate foods to our pet raccoons.
What Food Does a Wild Raccoon Eat?
Raccoons are omnivores, which means they eat a little bit of everything. Their diet will vary a bit from season to season and they will eat everything from insects to fruits to nuts to amphibians. The majority of their diet consists of worms, insects, and other invertebrates along with plant material including fruits. Small reptiles, amphibians, birds, and other vertebrates make up the smallest portion of their diet. They will eat what is available, when it is available, and have a fondness for nuts and fruit. They are foragers and depending on what type of environment they reside in, their diet will also vary.
What Food Does a Pet Raccoon Eat?
Since we have complete control over the food our pets eat, it should be easy for us to offer only the healthiest of food items to our raccoons. Unfortunately, this is no easy task though since a complete and balanced diet is impossible to have for pet raccoons without giving a variety of food items daily.
Grain-free dog food is a good staple food to give to your pet raccoon on a daily basis but you need to supplement this kibble with poultry, fish, or eggs along with a large amount of fresh vegetables, fruits, and whole prey items such as mice. Just giving dog food will not do. Gut-loaded crickets, meal worms, earthworms, and other invertebrates should also be fed and double as enrichment if these prey items are still alive.
Nuts and seeds should be saved as treats and not fed in a large variety due to their high fat content.
How Much Food Does a Pet Raccoon Eat?
A young pet raccoon should be allowed to eat all the food that he or she wants in a day but once they have reached about six months of age you should start limiting their diet. A quality, grain-free dog food will have a high-calorie count, therefore a handful of kibbles goes a long way. Start with about 1/8 cup dry dog food two to three times daily and add in some of the other necessary items in small amounts. A tablespoon or two of fresh veggies and fruits along with some egg, chicken, insects, and an occasional mouse should create a balanced diet without causing your raccoon to become overweight. If you start to notice your raccoon is losing their visible waistline (they start to appear round) or you can't feel their ribs anymore you should cut back the amount of food you are feeding.
Raccoons love to dunk their food in water before eating it, therefore you should provide a large shallow dish (such as a kitty litter box) that is available to them during their feeding times. They are very messy eaters though so be prepared to clean up after mealtime.
Does A Raccoon Eat Food Out of a Bowl?
A raccoon will certainly eat food from a bowl but it is better to make them do a little work for their food. Try offering invertebrates such as crickets in a plastic under-bed storage box so the crickets can't escape or put food on the steps, underneath boxes, or inside of things for enrichment opportunities. Make your raccoon exercise their brain and the rest of their body when it is feeding time and you'll find they are happier being healthy and mentally stimulated. Raccoons are very smart and need interesting things to do. By making feeding time a challenge you will also keep your pet raccoon from becoming bored and destructive.