Do Raccoon eat snakes

Do Raccoons Eat Snakes?

Do raccoons eat snakes? Why do they eat snakes? Is snakes the first choice of food for raccoons? Do snakes are easily digestible by raccoons?

These are the frequently asked questions about raccoons eating snakes. Thus, it is an ongoing debate among researchers and wildlife enthusiasts.

If you have the same kind of questions and want to be answered your questions. Congrats, You are on the right web page. And of course, Here you will find related information according to your queries.

This article contains exact, correct, and authentic information. I will explore basic concepts and theories about raccoons eating snakes. So let’s come to read and explore deep insights into whether raccoons eat snakes or not.

Raccoon’s food perspective: Brief view:

Raccoons belong to the omnivorous group of mammals which eat both plants and mammals. It would not be wrong to say that raccoons have a wide range of food including plants like fruits; acorns, seeds, and animals like squirrels, frogs, and even small alligators.

Raccoons as opportunistic by nature:

Raccoons are well known as opportunistic feeders in nature; which means that these masked bandits eat a wide range of food that is easily available to them. It doesn’t matter whether they get food from trash canes, or fresh food from wild areas.

In city areas, they also take pet food opportunistically. They just keep focusing on their food which takes little energy to attain it. Anyway, here we are to discuss whether raccoons eat snakes or not, so keep reading to know with full details…

Do raccoons eat snakes?

Yes, raccoons eat snakes.

As snakes belong to the group Animalia; we know this fact very well that raccoons are omnivorous they eat fleshy food. Raccoons eat a variety of snakes including rat snakes, garter snakes, and water snakes. Snakes are a great source of essential nutrients for a raccoon’s body. 

Raccoons mostly eat  injured, tired, offspring, or dead snakes; Because such types of snakes are easy to hunt or catch.

Theories as proof:

Basically, raccoons prey on snakes in the season of summer and spring because snakes are abundant due to their breeding season during this time era.

 Here are some theories to prove that raccoons eat snakes.

Research in Louisiana:

Research about raccoon food is conducted in Louisiana. This research has the following results:

  • Snakes make up a little portion of raccoon’s overall diet about 2 %. It is also reported from research that raccoons prefer to eat snakes that are small, less than 50 cm in length. The reason is that small snakes are less active and easy to catch as compared to large snakes.

Research in Virginia:

One research on raccoon food is also held in Virginia (unites states of America). Here are the results of the research:

  • It is proven from research that raccoons prefer to eat snakes that are abundant in their local areas. It means that snakes with good availability or near them are a top priority for them. Therefore raccoons have to do less effort to find snakes as their prey.

👍So it is proved from recent research that raccoons eat snakes but on some conditions as described below.

Why do they eat snakes?

Basically, raccoons eat snakes to get essential nutrients. Being omnivorous, they take both plenty and fleshy meal to stay healthy. From this food perspective, raccoons need to eat meat from time to time to stay healthy and fit for the best survival of their life.

Meat nutrients are important for maintaining the metabolic activities of their bodies. Thus, they eat meat because plants cannot provide all essential nutrients alone. 

Snakes meat provides raccoons with basic nutrients like:

  • Proteins
  • Vitamin B
  • Important minerals Zink
  • and iron

It would not be wrong to say that they don’t eat fleshy food on a daily basis, but eat when easily available. And snakes are also included in this food perspective. In truth, meat makes up about two-thirds of the overall diet of raccoons.

Is snakes the first choice of food for raccoons?

No, not at all. Snakes are not the favorite food of raccoons.

They will never make an effort to find, chase, attack, and kill them. Although, they use their opportunistic scavenging skill to eat snakes. Even they will never hesitate to eat snakes that are bigger than their size.

As you know the preying and hunting of snakes are generally tough and dangerous, so they eat snakes in rare cases; if other food of choice is unavailable, or snakes are available.

How do raccoons kill snakes?

Now you are thinking that snakes are venomous how could they eat safely? No doubt it would be dangerous to kill snakes while hunting, but raccoons are famous for their intelligence so they attack snakes in a protected way. They also avoid attacking large-sized and much venomous snakes.

For killing purposes, they hold the snake by the head or neck and smash it rock until it goes into a state of unconscious. This method of attacking seems odd but it is more effective in two ways:

  • The snake is also killed.
  • The raccoon remains safe from the venoms of snakes.

Besides this raccoons use another strategy for giant raccoons. Simply, they drag the giant snakes up into a tree or onto a branch constantly biting and clawing them until they become deadly.

How do raccoons eat and digest the snakes?

First of all, raccoons use their dexterous paws to grab the head of the snake and then bite it with their sharp teeth. When small pieces of food enter the stomach they start to digest with the help of strong stomach juices. The stomach secretions also kill the bacteria and pathogens that are present in the chunks of snakes.

In fact, raccoons have enough immunity to be protected from the meat of venomous snakes. So raccoons are not poisoned by the meat of snakes.

Do snakes prey on raccoons?

You must be surprised to know that raccoons and snakes have an interesting predator-prey relationship. Raccoons are snake’s predators and snakes are raccoon’s predators.

Some large venomous species of snakes like copperheads and rattlesnakes attack raccoons and eat them. In the end, I want to say that it is the role of nature that everything is perfectly maintained in balance. At the same time, the one specie is prey and also a predator; doesn’t matter if it is a snake or raccoon.


To summarize an idea, yes raccoons eat a variety of snakes but it depends upon their availability.

They opportunistically eat snakes not actively. Snakes are very agile and active; hard to catch or prey, so they prefer to eat injured, tired, dead, or offspring snakes.

The meat of snakes provides raccoons with essential nutrients like proteins, vitamins, and important minerals

Equally important is that the body structure of raccoons is well designed to kill and digest the snake’s meat without getting any harm.

Will a raccoon kill a snake?

Yes, a raccoon can kill a snake. After killing it, the raccoon eats snake meat. Even a raccoon can also kill a considerable size of a raccoon. Raccoons kill and eat a variety of snakes like rat snakes, garter snakes, and water snakes. 

How long do raccoons live?

The average life span of a wild raccoon is about  2 to 3 years. Environmental hazards plus predators are a threat to their life.

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