Pack of three raccoons standing together.
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10 Raccoon Predators That Eat Them

Raccoons have made themselves known in many regions across the globe, regularly sending chills down homeowners’ spines as they dig through trashcans in search of a tasty meal. But what lurks behind these innocent-looking critters? Predators – from owls to bobcats – that stalk and hunt them like any other animal!

In North America, common raccoon predators include hawks, foxes, owls, and bobcats. They also fall victim to disease, with rabies being the most well-known.

While these furry little creatures may seem cute and harmless, they have predators that prey upon them.

Key Pest Points:

• Raccoons are preyed upon by predators, including bobcats, hawks, cougars, foxes, owls, alligators, wolves, coyotes, and pythons.

• Humans also eat raccoons in several regions of the USA.

• People are the biggest raccoon threat since they hunt and destroy their natural habitats.

1. Bobcats

The bobcat is North America’s most common wild cat species. Their short, fluffy tail gives them their name. Despite their cuddly appearance, bobcats are not at all like house cats. They are bigger and far more aggressive. 

They also occasionally hunt raccoons. According to a dietary study, yearlings are more likely to eat them than adults, but adults will still hunt them occasionally.

2. Hawks

Hawks are opportunistic birds; they’ll eat anything they can get their talons on. This includes small mammals such as raccoons. Cooper’s hawk and red-tailed hawks are the two most common types in North America, and both are known to hunt adult and baby raccoons.

Single cougar walking in the snow, looking straight at the viewer.

3. Cougars

Commonly known as mountain lions, cougars are among the top predators of raccoons. Using their stealth and agility, they sneak up on unsuspected prey before pouncing on them and snapping their neck with sharp teeth.

These predators are shy and secretive. They often hunt alone, except during mating season, when they come together in pairs. Cougars also prefer hunting at night when their prey is most vulnerable.

4. Foxes

Foxes are widespread worldwide, from high mountains to low-lying grasslands. They are among the many predators raccoons face throughout their short lifetimes in the wild. Red and grey foxes feed on raccoon cubs; as adults, it is a challenge.

5. Great Horned Owls

Typically, great horned owls prey upon small rodents like mice and rats. But small mammals are also on their menu. These gigantic owls can easily hunt down raccoons since they are nocturnal hunters with superb vision and perfect hearing.

Raccoon walking into the water with a large tube next to it.

6. Alligators

It can seem strange for raccoons to encounter alligators because they dwell outside water. However, these hairy mammals are near water for various reasons, including swimming and drinking. They also have an appetite for seafood, such as clams and crayfish. And this may come as a shock, but they eat alligator eggs and babies.

Unfortunately, all these close encounters near water bodies are how alligators catch raccoons. These mighty reptiles can kill both young and adults with a single strike.

7. Wolves

Wolves are carnivorous animals, and they are known to eat a variety of prey, including raccoons. Among all the predators, wolves are the most dangerous ones. 

Mostly because wolves hunt in packs and can easily take down raccoons, also, they cannot match the power and agility of a wolf, let alone the entire pack.

8. Pythons

It is rare for snakes to prey on raccoons as they primarily feed on smaller animals such as rodents and birds. However, larger snakes, such as pythons, can catch and eat them if the chance presents itself.

9. Fisher cats

Don’t let the name fool you; fisher cats are neither cats nor catch fish. They are carnivorous mammals. These little creatures come fully loaded with razor-sharp teeth and an insatiable appetite for small critters such as rabbits, mice, squirrels, and more. They also chow down on the sneaky bandits–the raccoons.

Because fisher cats usually hunt prey that is smaller than they are, they do not actively pursue them. They will, however, hunt raccoons if the opportunity arises.

Raccoon behind wiring, while it looks down and paws on the wiring.

10. Humans

In some parts of the world, raccoon meat is considered a delicacy and is consumed by humans. In particular, their meat is more common in some areas of the United States, such as the southern and Midwest parts, where people hunt it.

Even though they may seem cute and harmless, they can bite humans if threatened. If that happens, one would need to deal with the bite immediately. So, hunters should always take the necessary precautions when hunting these creatures.

Breakdown of the Raccoon’s Predator Diet

Understanding raccoon predators can help us better protect these animals from harm. Look at the table below to find out what raccoon predators’ main diets are:

PredatorsMain Diet
BobcatsRabbits, hare, mice
HawksRabbits, squirrels, gophers, snakes, smaller birds
CougarsDeers, mice, beavers, elk, moose, wild sheep, birds, raccoons
FoxesRabbits, rats, birds, frogs, earthworms
Great Horned OwlSkunks, rabbits, birds, mice
AlligatorsFish, snakes, turtles, raccoons
WolvesDeers, moose, bison, elks
PythonsAntelopes, pigs, lizards, birds, monkeys
Fisher CatsPorcupines, mice, squirrels, rabbits, eggs, fruits
HumanFruits, vegetables, meats

With their striking features and mischievous personalities, raccoons remain a captivating presence in the natural world. If we genuinely wish to appreciate these animals and protect our environment from ecosystem imbalances, we must recognize who feeds on them and acknowledge the vital role played by their predators.

FAQs

What is the biggest threat to raccoons?

Raccoons are preyed upon by many different species of animals, but humans pose the greatest danger to them. Humans are the biggest threat to raccoons for many reasons, including destroying the habitats of raccoons and trapping and hunting them for fur and meats. On-road fatalities are yet another factor.

Are deer afraid of raccoons? 

Yes, deer are afraid of raccoons. They typically keep away from them due to the animals’ sharp claws and teeth and their reputation for being aggressive. Deer will also quickly flee the area if they sense a nearby raccoon. Additionally, some deer species are known to fall victim to raccoon attacks.

What attracts raccoons to your property?

Raccoons are attracted to properties with food sources, such as pet food, bird seed, and scraps from compost bins. Shelter options like wood piles, shrubs, and attics may also tempt them. Additionally, if fed directly or indirectly, raccoons can become accustomed to humans (in the form of human garbage).

Many predators constantly threaten raccoons, from the majestic great-horned owl to the slimy python. Even alligators and humans can prove dangerous for these beloved animals – but with awareness of their vulnerability comes a responsibility to protect them. By understanding what eats raccoons, we gain an opportunity to defend them effectively.


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