Do raccoons eat dead animals?

Do Raccoons Eat Dead Animals?-The answer may surprise you

Do raccoons eat dead animals? Why do they eat dead animals? What is the benefit of eating dead animals? Do dead animals are easily digestible by raccoons?

These are frequently asked questions about the feeding of raccoons. If you want to know these facts about the feeding of raccoons; then you are on the right web page.

This article covers all the aspects of feeding dead animals by raccoons. Keep reading to find out…

Food perspective:

Raccoons are cute furry mammals. They are primarily found in North America. If we talk about their feeding perspective, Raccoons are neither carnivores (feed on meat) nor herbivores (feed on plants), they are omnivores. They are opportunistic eaters and almost eat everything which is available to them; including vegetables, grains, fruits, and meat. 

Omnivores:( feeding on both plants and animals)

“The organism that feeds both on plants and animals are called omnivores.”

Raccoons are omnivorous in nature. They have a wide range of food including plants and animals. Humans and Hens are also Omnivorous in nature. So raccoons eat well on both plants and animals. They eat fruits and prey on small animals like rats, rabbits, squirrels, and even small alligators. 

This is an understood point of feeding by preying on live animals. But what about dead animals? Do they feed on dead animals? This article totally is totally about it. Read till the end to find out what is important feeding facts.

Do raccoons eat dead animals?

Do raccoons eat dead animals? Yes, of course, they eat dead animals.

In fact, dead animals make up a large part of their food. If food is not available to them, they will definitely feed on dead animals. Interestingly, dead animals are easily available to them, because they wouldn’t have to invest specific energy in chasing and preying on dead animals( carcasses). So they prefer to eat food that is easy to approach and dead animals are one of them.

Feeding on dead animals:

All organisms consist of nutrients; that is necessary to maintain life and its functions. A large number of nutrients are present in the bodies of animals. When they die, nutrients remain stored in their bodies. And immediately becomes available for the scavengers. When animals die both the scavengers and microbes (bacteria) want to feed on them. Obviously, bacteria are present in carcasses, when raccoons feed on them. So now the question arises, does bacterial meat affect the raccoons? Lets come to read…

Why do they eat dead animals?

Searching, chasing, and preying on live animals is a big deal; furthermore, it requires a lot of time and energy. Sometimes they prey immediately on small animals like squirrels and eat them. But sometimes it becomes difficult to find prey, especially in the winter season. So they do intend to eat if dead animals are available because it requires no effort in preying.

How do they digest the meat of dead animals?

Their unique body structure help them to eat and digest the dead animals.

1. Sharp claws and teeth:

First of all, raccoons have four paws with five digits in each. These paws or digits have sharp nails. They use these sharp nails to tear the meat into small pieces. Then, their sharp teeth help to chew it into small pieces which are easy to engulf. Moreover, their sharp teeth are well adapted to rip and separate meat from the bones.

2. Antiseptic saliva:

The saliva of raccoons is antiseptic and kills off germs. As the pieces of dead animal come into the mouth of raccoons, the antiseptic saliva works against the microbes and kills them effectively. Most of the bacteria die before entering food in the stomach.

3. Acidic stomach:

If some microbes(bacteria) get escape from the antiseptic saliva, they become the victim of acid present in the stomach. The acid present in the stomach is very strong and is used to kill the bacteria coming from food(dead body). The acidic stomach readily kills the bacteria and thus the body of the raccoon remains safe from the infection.

In addition, these acids also digest the food material very quickly. Overall their body structure is very efficient from engulfing food to digesting.

What is the strategy behind eating carcasses?

The dead or live animals both have an equal amount of vitamins and minerals. The basic strategy behind eating dead animals is to get important minerals.

Important mineral: protein: 

The main mineral which they get from the dead bodies is protein. The protein provided by dead animals is much better than the live animal protein. In fact, they prefer to eat dead animals; because they are rich in important minerals.

What is the benefit of eating dead animals?

Feeding on dead animals has some advantages:

  • The most important advantage of feeding on dead animals is that; it is easy to catch without investing any effort into preying. There is no need to chase and prey on them.
  • The bodies of dead animals contain a large reservoir of essential elements in their bodies, which is usable by other animals. So raccoons feed on them in this aspect.
  • Winter is the season of shortage of food. Almost all the animals remain in their burrows and dens to avoid the severity of a cold. Therefore they eat anything which is available to them.
  • If extra food(dead animals) is available, they eat it and store it in the form of adipose tissue. Later, in the winter season, there utilize the stored fats.
  • The raccoons enter the state of torpor( a state of decreased metabolism and daily activities) and use the stored food(in the form of fats).

What animals do mostly raccoons eat?

Raccoons feed on a wide range of animals including; birds, slugs, frogs, fishes, snails, turtles, rodents, muskrats, rabbits, gophers, snakes, mice, squirrels, cats, small livestock, birds, insects, and even small alligators. Moreover, it doesn’t matter to the raccoons where the meat comes from; whether it comes from the trash can or the wildlife. It is proven from recent research that raccoons also feed on dead human bodies. 

Do raccoons eat the rotten meat of dead animals?

Raccoons know this fact very well to estimate the quality of food; which is good for them and which is not. So they always ignore eating rotten food. Similarly, they avoid feeding on rotten meat which gives a bad smell. They also avoid meat that is affected by mildew.


Definitely, raccoons feed on dead animals. They are opportunistic scavengers by nature. Besides this, they are omnivores. They eat well on both plants and animals. Their dexterous paws and teeth help them to cut the animal into small pieces.

Eating dead animals is beneficial for them; because it is easy to catch. It requires no effort for prey. Moreover, dead animals provide them with important minerals like nutrients and vitamins. Their antiseptic saliva kills the germs, and their acidic stomach digests food.

Overall, they feed well on all the food available, it doesn’t matter what kind of food it is. In addition, they store the extra food in their adipose tissues, later in winter (when there is a shortage of food) they use this stored food.


Do raccoons eat rotten meat?

No, not at all.
Raccoons are the cleanest animals in the wildlife. And so they like to eat fresh food. They don’t eat rotten meat. Moreover, they avoid meat that is affected by mildew or gives a bad smell. They eat the meat scrapes which are fresh and free from mold.

Will raccoons eat rotten chicken?

They are opportunistic eaters in nature. They scavenge food and eat everything which is available to them. But this is a noticeable thing that they never feed on rotten chicken. They always feed on fresh food scrapes.

Can raccoons eat old food?

They feed on old grains, seeds, fruits, vegetables, meat, and pet food. In short, they will eat on each and everything that is free from rot and mildew. Moreover, they also avoid food that gives a bad smell.

Do raccoons eat dead deer?

Yes, of course, they feed well on dead deer. But one condition; it must be free from rot and mildew.

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