Outdoor PestsRaccoons

Why Do Racoons Eat Trash?

Why Do Racoons Eat Trash?

Raccoons are bright, opportunistic creatures that take better care of themselves than you may anticipate. They are infamous for prying open or knocking over garbage cans to get at the food crumbs inside.

This might result in an enormous mess that must be cleaned immediately, lest the spilled waste causes safety and health concerns.

However, if raccoons consistently sneak into your trash, it is because they are familiar with always finding food, which may become a further cause for concern.

This is because raccoons are more likely to settle in regions where food is available. Once they discover that your trash can provides constant food, they may migrate into your crawlspace or attic, necessitating raccoon removal.

Keeping them out of your waste bins from the beginning is preferable, but this could not be easy to accomplish.


Raccoons may infiltrate your garden or your home in their search for food. They have been observed ravaging homegrown vegetables and fruit and searching through the garbage. They may also construct nests in your roof or crawl area.

Raccoons can be harmful and have been shown to carry a variety of diseases, including rabies. Raccoons can always find food and a place to sleep, regardless of where they are. Their intelligence and adaptability assist them in avoiding foods that are just not digestible by their body.

Trash may not smell appetizing to people, but foragers like raccoons find the taste and aroma of leftover human food quite appealing.

Raccoons do not experience hibernation but are less active in winter. They must be ready for winter rest by storing enough fat in the cold winter when food is limited. They immediately seek out high-calorie food sources, which human trash cans give in abundance.

Garbage bins are an excellent food source for raccoons because humans naturally toss out many foods that raccoons would never pass up.

9 Reasons Why Racoons Eat Trash

Reasons Why Racoons Eat Trash

Raccoons are omnivorous, which means they can consume almost everything, including plants and animals. They are generally opportunistic eaters, meaning they drink and eat anything available.

Raccoons’ native habitat has been encroached upon by urban development throughout time, which has helped them discover that human dwellings are a reliable source of conveniently available food.

This could explain why many raccoons have adjusted to urban areas rather than seeking out pristine wild habitats elsewhere.

Below are the reasons why raccoons are always in the trash:

1. Accessibility


Raccoons are popularly known for their weight, giving them high dexterity and the ability to easily open containers and trash cans. This makes trash cans an attractive source of food for them.

They have two front feet and five toes that can grasp, pull, and manipulate objects, allowing them to access food that would be difficult for other animals to reach.

2. Variety


Over time, raccoons have become familiar with the fact that trash cans often contain various food items, such as fruits, vegetables, meat scraps, and other leftovers.

Since a raccoon is omnivorous, which includes both plant and animal matter, this variety appeals to its diet.

3. Nutritional Value

Nutritional Value

Raccoons have a high metabolism and require a diet high in calories and fat.

As a result, they mainly feed on the fatty parts of animals, such as the brain, liver, and eggs, as well as nuts, fruits, and other plant-based foods.

They are consistently in the trash cans because leftovers usually have what they need to maintain their energy levels.

4. Lack of Natural Food Sources

Lack Of Natural Food Sources

In urban areas, natural food sources like nuts, fruits, and insects may be scarce or difficult for raccoons to access.

Humans, however, can easily buy some of these in stores. After using it, there could be leftovers in the trash cans, which is an easy alternative for them.

5. Convenience


Raccoons are lazy creatures and intelligent thinkers, not hard workers. They prefer to take advantage of any food source that requires minimal effort.

Foraging for food takes time and energy, and trash cans provide a convenient source of food that doesn’t need the raccoon to spend time searching or hunting.

6. Attraction to Odors

Attraction To Odors

The smell of trash may be unpleasant to us but not to raccoons.

They have a keen sense of smell and are attracted to the odors of food in trash cans which helps them detect food from a great distance and follow their nose to locate the food source.

7. Familiarity


Raccoons are creatures of habit and will often return to the same food source if proven reliable.

So, when they consistently have positive experiences finding food in trash cans in a place, they are likely to keep coming to the exact location or a similar position.

8. No Risk of Predation

No Risk Of Predation

Because raccoons are generally nocturnal and shy and prefer to feed in areas where they feel secure, the trash cans provide a safe place for them to forage for food without the risk of being preyed upon by other animals.

9. Human Habitation

Human Habitation

Raccoons have become accustomed to living in the presence of humans or in proximity to humans and have learned to take advantage of the food sources available in the form of waste in these areas.


Raccoons enjoy jumping into or knocking over trash cans for food, particularly in cities. Raccoons aren’t picky eaters, so they’ll eat almost anything in the trash can, provided it’s not spoilt.

Sealing waste containers is the simplest yet most efficient way to deter raccoons from devouring rubbish.

Bring a compact camping garbage can that can be locked and packed away at night.

Double-tie the bags while using heavy-duty trash bags to keep these critters out of your trash.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can a Raccoon Eat From Anywhere Else?

Raccoons are omnivores with a varied diet that allows them to eat from various sources they can get their paws on, including plants, fruits, insects, small mammals, eggs, and even human food.

They come to the trash because they know they can get something good from it, plus their sense of smell also directs them.

Is a Raccoon Harmful?

Raccoons have sharp teeth and claws and can bite or scratch if threatened. They can carry diseases harmful to humans, such as rabies and roundworm, on their bodies.

There is nothing to fear, seeing that raccoons are usually shy around humans and will only attack if they are cornered or feel threatened.

You should avoid approaching or feeding raccoons and keep your distance if you encounter one, and if a raccoon shows signs of aggression, it’s best to contact local wildlife control services for assistance.

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