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Why Do Raccoons Eat Garbage? (And How Can You Stop Them?)

Why Do Raccoons Eat Garbage? (And How Can You Stop Them?)
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Raccoons are common animals that seem to be lurking around in many places. You’ll often find raccoons trying to get into garbage cans in various neighborhoods and this can be a bit of a nuisance.

If you have ever come home to find your garbage cans tipped over and trash spilled out everywhere, then there is a good chance that hungry raccoons are to blame. Why would raccoons choose to eat garbage, though?

Read on to get more information about raccoons as well as why they seem to seek out trash so often. You should be able to gain a greater understanding of raccoons as well as their dietary habits.

Remember not to try to interact with raccoons if you see them in your yard. As cute as they can sometimes be, it’s also very possible that raccoons could be carrying various diseases and it’s also just wise to have a healthy respect for wild animals.

Raccoons Are Omnivores

Raccoons are omnivores and this means that they will eat pretty much whatever they can. These are animals that are used to scavenging for food and it just so happens that garbage contains a lot of food that raccoons will eat.

You will often find raccoons rummaging through dumpsters or household garbage cans to see what foods they can find. Humans throw out a lot of food that isn’t technically spoiled and this means that the trash that you put out is very appealing to raccoons.

A raccoon isn’t going to shy away from chowing down on a half-eaten sandwich that you put in the trash yesterday. As gross as that is to think about, it’s very easy for raccoons to be able to thrive while eating this type of food.

You should know that raccoons are actually quite intelligent little creatures and they generally don’t eat things that will be harmful to them. A raccoon knows better than to eat food that is spoiled and you’re almost never going to see raccoons eating legitimately rotten food.

The only exception to this rule is that raccoons will eat something that is spoiled if they are desperate. This isn’t a common situation, though, because it’s very easy for raccoons to find food to eat.

When you’re able to eat pretty much anything, finding suitable food isn’t going to be that big of a deal. Raccoons are survivors and they do a great job of adapting to their environments.

What Do Raccoons Eat When They Aren’t Near Human Population Centers?

Of course, raccoons aren’t animals that only eat trash and there are raccoons that live out in wild areas that aren’t near human population centers. These raccoons are also omnivores and they will seek out whatever they can to survive.

You will find raccoons eating things such as berries, eggs, and other edible things that they can find. Raccoons will also hunt for fish and other things that will allow them to meet their nutritional needs.

Raccoons will eat lots of things such as nuts and various edible plants that can be found in the forest. These animals also eat insects, frogs, and even small rodents.

The raccoons that live in woodland areas have to work a lot harder for their food. On average, you will find that woodland raccoons have to travel up to fifteen miles each day just to find enough food to eat.

When raccoons have to hunt and scavenge for every calorie that they can find, then things are going to be tougher. It’s a lot different than raccoons that live near urban areas.

As you can tell, raccoons that live in the forest are not going to be picky eaters either. They just have to put in a lot of effort to get the food that they need.

Why Do Raccoons Seem to Prefer Trash?

There is a good, logical reason why raccoons that can be found near population centers seem to prefer trash. It’s a lot easier to come by and they won’t have to travel nearly as far to get their food if they hunt in the garbage.

You read earlier about how woodland raccoons have to travel an average of fifteen miles just to get enough food for the day. That amount of effort can be cut down drastically by searching for trash in an urban setting.

A typical raccoon will have to travel less than a quarter of a mile to get the food that they need near a city. With so much trash being easy to access, it’s going to be a simpler living for any raccoon.

Animals are smart enough to know that they need to survive by whatever means necessary. Trash just gives raccoons a more reliable way to get the food that they need and that’s why they gravitate toward it.

How to Stop Raccoons From Getting Into Your Trash

Of course, having raccoons get into your trash is going to be a real nuisance that you will want to avoid. No one wants to have to clean up after a small group of raccoons tore into some trash bags.

Thankfully, there are a few things that you can do to protect your trash and keep the raccoons at bay. The first and most obvious method is to make it harder to get into the trash.

Your trash cans shouldn’t be easy to access if you know that you have problems with raccoons in your area. You can buy trash cans that have a lock on them and this makes it a lot simpler to keep trash bags secure until it’s time for the trash collectors to come and grab them.

Even if you don’t buy trash cans with normal locks, you can find cans that close more securely so that animals won’t have an easy time opening them. Some homeowners choose to create special bins to keep trash bags in as well and they only transfer garbage bags to the curb right before garbage pickup is slated to begin.

Even just washing your trash cans every so often can make your trash cans less appealing to raccoons. Take the time to hose down your garbage cans and then wash them out with soap. Doing so could help you to avoid many issues with raccoons moving forward.

Repellents can also be very effective when you want to keep raccoons at bay. You can easily spray your garbage cans with a special raccoon repellent that will keep raccoons from wanting to get near your trash.

You will need to reapply the repellent periodically in order to get good results but it’s actually a pretty worthwhile method. If you want to keep raccoons away from your property, then it’s worth looking into the repellent options that are available to you.

All of the above methods are pretty good at helping you with your raccoon problems. If you can be smart about your trash habits, then you shouldn’t have so much of a hard time with this.

It’s normal for raccoons to want to get into your garbage because they’re just trying to survive. You don’t have to let them do it, though, and it’s actually pretty simple to stop them when you take the right steps.