Do raccoons have salivary glands?

Do Raccoons have Salivary Glands?

Raccoons have always been the curious creatures of the animal kingdom. Raccoons are intelligent and possess a unique body structure. But have you ever thought “Do raccoons have salivary glands? Yes, you read that right! In this article, we will dive into the curious world of raccoons and find out what is the truth. 

It’s a frequently asked question by raccoon enthusiasts and wildlife experts. It’s time to answer the question, “Do raccoons possess salivary glands?” Here you will find accurate, and up-to-date information about whether raccoons have salivary glands. 

What are salivary glands?

Before that, we discuss whether raccoons have salivary glands, Lets us know a little bit about, what are salivary glands. So, please have a look.

Salivary glands are small clusters of tissues. There are three types of salivary glands in the mouth. These glands produce saliva and paste it into the mouth through the ducts. Saliva is primarily composed of water, along with various enzymes, electrolytes, mucus, and antibacterial compounds. The basic functions of saliva are the digestion of food and lubrication of the mouth and throat.

Do raccoons have salivary glands?

Yes! Raccoons have salivary glands. Salivary glands are specific structures present in the mouths of mammals, including raccoons. These glands produce saliva in the mouth. Saliva is a  watery fluid that contains enzymes and other important substances in its composition. 

  • The saliva lubricates the mouth and throat and helps in the easy engulfing of food.
  • It helps in the process of digestion and lubrication of food during chewing and swallowing processes.

Raccoons, like many other mammals, have three pairs of important salivary glands named: the parotid glands, the submandibular glands, and the sublingual glands.

  1. Parotid Glands: These are the major salivary glands that are located below and in front of each ear of raccoons. They produce a watery saliva that contains enzymes, electrolytes, and other necessary substances. This saliva helps in the breakdown and digestion of food material. 
  1. Submandibular Glands: These glands are located beneath the jaw of raccoons. These glands produce a mixture of mucus and enzymes. In truth, The function of these glands is to initiate the digestion process.
  1. Sublingual Glands: These glands are found beneath the tongue of raccoons. These glands produce mucus that helps in lubricating the mouth. Additionally, it facilitates the movement of food during chewing and swallowing.

How are raccoon’s salivary glands regulated?

The process of saliva production and secretion from salivary glands is regulated by the nervous system. When a raccoon smells, sees, or even thinks about food, signals from the brain stimulate the salivary glands to start producing and releasing saliva in preparation for eating. This anticipatory response is known as the cephalic phase of digestion.

  • Once the food enters the mouth, the raccoon begins to chew, which further stimulates the salivary glands to release saliva. The saliva mixes with the food as it is being chewed. 
  • The food particles are chewed well and become a semi-liquid mixture that can be easily swallowed. 
  • The enzymes in the saliva, especially amylase, start breaking down the carbohydrates present in the food into simpler sugars.

In summary, a raccoon’s salivary glands produce saliva with enzymes and lubricants. It helps in the initial stages of digestion by breaking down carbohydrates and facilitating the process of swallowing. This is a crucial part of the raccoon’s digestive system. It prepares the ingested food for further processing in the stomach and intestines.

Does the type of food affect the production of saliva (spit)?

Yes absolutely! The type of food affects the production of saliva. Raccoons are smart eaters. They can adjust their saliva based on what they’re eating.

  • If raccoons eat something dry or tough, like a crunchy snack, they make more saliva. In this case, the salivary glands produce a large quantity of saliva. This saliva helps make the food wet and easy to swallow. Thus they can eat dry food without any problems.
  • But if raccoons eat something wet or soft, like a juicy treat, they don’t make much saliva or sometimes none at all. This way, their food doesn’t get too wet. It means the food is easily swallowed by them.

In short, raccoons can change their spit to match their food, whether it’s hard or wet. This helps them eat easier. The salivary glands help them to eat different foods!


The answer to “Do raccoons have salivary glands” is “Yes, raccoons indeed have salivary glands.”

Similar to other mammals, including humans, raccoons have three types of salivary glands in their mouth. These glands create saliva, which helps with food consumption. When raccoons eat, these glands produce the right amount of saliva. This saliva works to moisten the food, making it easier to swallow. Consequently, the salivary glands have a crucial role in the process of eating and the initial stages of digestion as they generate saliva.


Do raccoons have salivary glands?

Yes, raccoons have three pairs of salivary glands. Similar to many mammals, they possess salivary glands that produce saliva that help in the swallowing and initial digestion of food. The saliva makes the mouth and throat wet and lubricated.

Do raccoons always wet their food?

Raccoons don’t wet their food every time. They do it to understand, soften, or clean their food. But sometimes, they eat without wetting it, especially if it’s easy to eat. It depends on the food and what they feel like doing.

Why do raccoons wet their food?

Raccoons wet their food to understand what they are eating. They get sensory information by wetting food with their paws. Wetting also makes the food softer and easier to eat.

Do raccoons like water?

Yes, raccoons generally like water. They are good swimmers and are often found near water sources like rivers, ponds, and streams. They dip their food in water before eating, which is related to their natural behavior of wetting food.

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