Do Raccoons Eat Squirrels For Food? 5 Facts You Should Know

Do raccoons eat squirrels for food? should I be worried about the safety of my backyard squirrels if raccoons are around? You’re at the right place to getting these worries off your neck. Read on!

As a squirrel owner, you may be wondering whether raccoons can eat your squirrel or if they bother squirrels at all. Raccoons are omnivorous animals and can eat both plants and animals. Like most wild animals, raccoons are opportunistic animals and will eat anything that comes their way.

Raccoons usually prefer to forage for easy meals and can prey on squirrels. However, they will not bother preying on squirrels if they have easy meals to forage.

In this article, we will help highlight everything about the feeding habits of raccoons, from what they love to eat and when they can eat a squirrel.

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Do Raccoons Eat Squirrels?

Raccoons are omnivorous creatures, and they prefer eating easy meals like fruits and foods in trash bins. Furthermore, raccoons only eat squirrels as the last option when there is no other food option to eat. This is because squirrels are fast rodents, and they are faster than raccoons.

Even when there is no food option available, they will prefer to forage for easy food that does not fight back. However, they will hunt squirrels whenever they have a perfect opportunity.

do raccoons eat squirrels
Photo of a raccoon devouring a squirrel
Photo credit: Alamy

What Do Raccoons Eat?

Since raccoons are omnivorous animals, they will eat both plants and animals. They have teeth that can be used to eat pretty much anything that comes their way.

They feed mostly on vegetables and fruits such as grains, berries, nuts, and grains in the wild. However, they can also feed on meats such as snails, fish, frogs, poultry, insects, crawfish, rats, and even small livestock to catch and kill.

They usually feed on all kinds of human food that they find in the garbage in the city. However, this diet is not quite healthy for them. Whenever they have clear chances, they will also hunt and kill rodents, rats, snakes, birds, eat roadkill, and even eat bird eggs.

They will also eat any pet food lying around in and outside of your home. Raccoons usually use their paws to take and open anything that comes their way.

When Do Raccoons Eat Squirrels?

As stated above, raccoons are omnivorous animals and can eat anything that comes their way. They can even eat chocolates which are usually poisonous to them. However, they are opportunistic eaters that eat foods from trash cans, food waste, and even roadkill.

They prefer going for food that they can easily get their hands on. However, they can prey on squirrels if they don’t find any food to eat. 

How Does Raccoon Attack Squirrels?

Although raccoons are not as fast as squirrels, they can still prey on them. This is because raccoons are more intelligent than squirrels and hunt like humans. They usually hunt with their intelligence and try to catch squirrels by tricking them or laying an ambush for them.

Although they are good at hunting, they cannot hunt squirrels directly or run after a squirrel. Raccoons usually ambush squirrels when they have the chance of catching them. Raccoons usually try to lay an ambush, hunt a squirrel nest, and hunt baby squirrels.

A raccoon hunting a squirrel [source: Thecritter Window]

Raccoons will then try to move as close to the squirrel’s nest or close to a squirrel as close as possible without making noise. Once they are close enough to their prey, they will attack but will not go after prey that escapes. However, they are very efficient, and their prey rarely escapes.

This is because they are usually fast enough to kill a squirrel from an ambush position. They will use their long claws and teeth to attack the squirrel immediately. Furthermore, squirrels have soft skin, and the claws of a raccoon can easily cut into their flesh.

Other Animals That Eat Squirrels In Their Food Chain

Apart from raccoons, several other animals are natural predators of squirrels, such as coyotes, foxes, etc. Some of the animals that prey on squirrels are stated below.

Hawks And Eagles

Hawks and eagles are natural predators to lots of animals like squirrels. They also prey on rats and raccoons, and several other animals.

Tawny eagle attacks and kill a squirrel
Tawny eagle attacks and kill a squirrel

Foxes, Bobcats, Coyotes

Foxes, coyotes, and bobcats are carnivorous animals that hunt for their prey from the ground. They usually hunt for their prey and use their teeth to kill smaller animals. They have superior hunting abilities and can easily kill a squirrel.

Cats And Dogs

Although cats and dogs are domesticated animals, they can still prey on a squirrel. Even if your animal prefers to eat their pet food, you will still find them hunting and chasing squirrels.

Parasites

Most squirrels usually host many parasites. The parasites will not only feed on squirrels but can kill them if they are not treated. For instance, mites can make a squirrel very weak, and it will not be able to protect itself from a predator or even from elements like rain.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Do raccoons kill squirrels?

Raccoons are omnivorous animals which means they can feed on both plants and animals. They can kill and feed on squirrels when necessary. Raccoons have long claws and teeth, which they can use to attack and kill a squirrel.

Will a raccoon attack you?

A normal and healthy raccoon is generally docile and rarely attacks humans. However, a raccoon can attack humans when they feel threatened or sick. A raccoon will also attack you if a raccoon mother feels like you are getting close to her baby, has rabies, or is backed into a corner.

What are raccoons scared of?

Unless a raccoon has rabies, there are lots of things that it is afraid of. A normal and healthy raccoon is usually afraid of natural predators like dogs. They are also afraid of bright lights since they are nocturnal creatures.

Some of the other things that raccoons are afraid of are:

Ammonia and spice smell
Water on dry land
Humans
Traps
Smokes
Fireworks, etc.

Why are raccoons so mean?

Just like other animals, raccoons are docile. However, they can be mean when they are sick, injured, cornered, threatened, or you get close to baby raccoons. Another reason is if a raccoon has rabies as they usually lose their fear of humans.

Wrapping Up

Raccoons are omnivorous animals and can eat anything that comes their way, even a squirrel. However, they are quite slower than a squirrel and cannot catch and kill squirrels regularly. This is why they prefer to forage and find food lying around instead of hunting before eating.