Raccoons make very interesting pets. They are curious, mischievous, playful, and get into everything. Pet raccoons 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 for your pet raccoon. By learning what a raccoon eats in the wild, you will be better prepared to offer appropriate foods to a pet raccoon.
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. Raccoons 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 pet owners have complete control over the food their pets eat, it should be easy to offer only the healthiest of food items to a pet raccoon. This can be difficult with a pet raccoon since you'll need to offer such a wide variety of foods every day. Grain-free dog food is a good staple food to give to your pet raccoon on a daily basis. You can supplement kibble with poultry, fish, or eggs along with fresh vegetables, fruits, and whole prey items such as mice. Just giving dog food will not do. Gut-loaded crickets, mealworms, earthworms, and other invertebrates should also be offered 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 quantity 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. Once they have reached about six months old, start limiting their diet. A quality, grain-free dog food will have a high-calorie count, therefore a handful of dog food goes a long way. Start with about 1/8 of a cup of dry dog food two to three times daily and add in some other fresh 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 notice your raccoon is losing their visible waistline (they start to appear round) or you can't feel their ribs anymore, reduce the amount of food.
Raccoons love to dunk their food in water before eating it. 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 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, which will mimic how they eat in the wild. Try offering invertebrates such as crickets in a plastic under-bed storage box (so the crickets can't escape). Another idea is to put food on the steps, underneath boxes, or inside of objects. 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.