In this guide, we’ll answer the question:
“What eats raccoons?”
First, you’ll find a short summary of what animals eat raccoons in the wild and then get a detailed list of raccoons predators.
Raccoons are medium-sized mammals in the family Procyonidae under the order Carnivora. These omnivores are native to North America but are also distributed across mainland Europe, the Caucasus, and Japan.
The average lifespan of a raccoon is 2 to 3 years.
What Eats Raccoons?
Animals that eat raccoons include alligators, bobcats, coyotes, eagles, foxes, hawks, mountain lions, owls, wolves, and humans. A raccoon has many natural predators and falls prey to a variety of species.
One of the main reasons an American alligator eats raccoons is because these mammals encroach on the alligator’s territory. According to National Geographic, “Raccoons eat eggs and baby alligators.”
So it’s not that alligators are actively seeking to prey on a raccoon but that raccoons are a threat to the alligator species. And therefore, alligators attack them and feed on the body.
Bobcats are fierce hunters that can kill animals much bigger than themselves, but this carnivore typically eats smaller game like raccoons, rabbits, mice, and squirrels because they’re easier to catch.
A bobcat hunts most animals by biting the skull, neck, or throat for an instant kill.
In some parts of the world, coyotes are common raccoon predators that will actively hunt and prey on both adults and juveniles. But in other areas of the globe, coyotes leave raccoons alone.
An article published by NC State University shows that raccoons are unlikely prey for coyotes in the North Carolina region. “Raccoons do not seem to be vigilant toward coyotes when caught on camera, and their activity patterns overlap, all of which indicates that coyotes are not depredating raccoons, meaning they’re not eating them,” said Chris Moorman, professor and interim associate head of the North Carolina State University Department of Forestry and Environmental Resources.
Eagles like the bald eagle are opportunistic predators that will hunt for live prey as well as steal it from other animals. The National Eagle Center reports, “[A bald eagle’s] prey items include waterfowl and small mammals like squirrels, prairie dogs, raccoons, and rabbits.”
Therefore, raccoons are not safe in any way from a bald eagle. This bird will prey on adults and juveniles it finds in the wild as well as try to steal them from other animals that have already attacked and/or killed them.
Foxes are scavengers as well as predators and are relatively the same size as raccoons. So it’s most common for foxes to eat younger and smaller raccoons than their adult counterparts.
The red fox, which is is the largest of the true foxes, is the most active type of fox that preys on raccoons.
Hawks are another predatory bird that is a threat to raccoons. However, a hawk cannot carry an animal that’s heavier than its own body weight. Therefore, most hawks attack smaller raccoons like babies and juveniles.
Mountains lions can eat between 20 to 30 pounds per meal and can easily devour a raccoon that typically weighs between 7 to 20 pounds.
Also, mountain lions are opportunistic hunters that hunt from dusk to dawn, which is prime time for killing raccoons that are nocturnal animals.
Owls like the Great Horned owl are known to actively kill and eat raccoons, even though their diet mainly consists of mice and small rats.
A common occurrence for owls attacking raccoons in nature is when a raccoon climbs a tree to steal the eggs or newborn birds from the nest. The owl will defend its offspring from invading raccoons by striking with its talons to puncture the internal organs of the raccoon.
Raccoons are an easy target for wolves, especially when they hunt in packs. A raccoon is no match for the speed, agility, and strong jaws of a wolf.
Interestingly, a new study reported by How Stuff Works indicates that “The fear of wolves, bears and more can affect how a raccoon acts, and have ripple effects through an ecosystem.” Having a presence of wolves in the habitat keeps raccoons from being as active in the day, which allows other species to thrive.
The article goes on to say that without a balance in the ecosystem, “This puts a lot of stress on the second-tier predator’s prey, which might, in turn, create a population boom further down the food chain, which affects the next level down. And so on and so forth.”
Raccoon meat is a popular food for humans, especially in the Southern United States. It can be boiled, fried, and grilled and is said to be similar in texture and taste to the dark meat of chicken and turkey.
What Do Raccoons Eat?
Raccoons are predators and must prey on other animals to survive.
You can visit our other guide on what do raccoons eat to find out more about what these mammals feed on for nutrition.
Animals That Eat Raccoons Summary
You now know what eats raccoons in the wild and which species are the top raccoon predators.
As you discovered in this guide, there are about 10 animals that eat raccoons in nature.
I’m the lead editor and writer for Animal Answer Guide. I enjoy sharing expert knowledge on the various characteristics of common species within the five distinct groups of animals: amphibians, birds, fish, mammals, and reptiles.