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Do Coyotes Eat Raccoons?

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Coyotes are notorious for snatching up and eating small animals, but you may not realize some of the animals that they eat. We know that little dogs and free roaming cats can fall prey to them, but where exactly do raccoons stand when it comes to coyotes?

Coyotes do eat raccoons and are considered one of several natural predators to raccoons.

This does not mean coyotes always eat raccoons.

Healthy adult raccoons can easily defend themselves against coyotes. A starving coyote or pack of coyotes can spell danger for any raccoon in the right situation.

Raccoons are vigilant animals that do their best to steer clear of their natural predators including coyotes, but they do not always consider coyotes dangerous.

Learning about the unique predator-prey relationship between these two animals is necessary for any nature enthusiast.

Why Do Coyotes Eat Raccoons?

Coyotes are predatory animals by nature and raccoons are a natural prey animal for them. Raccoons, because of their smaller size, can be killed and eaten by a large coyote.  

Large adult raccoons are not ideal prey for coyotes because these raccoons are able to mount a credible defense.

Their long, extremely sharp claws and marked intelligence usually make raccoons a difficult kill for coyotes.

Coyotes prefer prey that is easy to kill and that does not cause them any injury. Raccoons will bite, shred, and claw at any coyote that tries to attack them, often enough so that the raccoon is able to escape without severe injury.

Do Coyotes Eat Baby Raccoons?

Coyotes that eat raccoons are able to more easily grab and kill the younger, small raccoons as opposed to the adults. A hungry coyote will have no probably eating a baby raccoon, especially if its mother is not around.

Baby raccoons are unable to defend themselves against coyotes like adult raccoons can. Young raccoons cannot injure the coyote enough to escape and they are literally no match for the larger coyote.

Do Coyotes Always Eat Raccoons?

Coyotes do not always eat raccoons like was always believed. In some areas, raccoons can live in the same area as coyotes without the fear of being attacked by them.

A study by Diversity journal was conducted in North Carolina that showed the raccoons in the area were not as afraid of coyotes as expected and they even foraged for food in the same areas as coyotes. The raccoons did not appear to consider the coyotes a natural threat, at least in the area of this study.

Coyotes prefer to attack prey animals that are easy to kill and unable to defend themselves. Since healthy adult raccoons can be extremely dangerous in a fight, coyotes will often look for easier prey unless they are starving.

racoon-and-coyote

Where Do Coyote and Raccoon Habitats Overlap?

Coyote and raccoon habitats overlap a lot in many parts of the country. Both animals like to live around trees and they both hunt the same areas at night, although they typically are after different prey.

In areas where prey is abundant for both animals, coyotes often will not hunt raccoons. It is not out of the ordinary to spot them on the same wildlife cameras ignoring one another’s presence.

Some coyotes know better than to even bother mounting a fight against a grown raccoon. When fights are spotted on game cameras, large raccoons are often able to fend off the coyote.

Do Raccoons Kill and Eat Coyotes?

Raccoons do not kill and eat coyotes because it would be difficult for a raccoon to actually attack and kill a coyote. Raccoons prefer small, easy to obtain prey like birds, fish, eggs, and frogs.

Raccoons are very intelligent and they are well aware that attacking any large animal including a coyote would be extremely dangerous.

Raccoons typically just try to injure or scare off any attacking coyotes so they are able to escape the situation.

Would a Raccoon Eat a Dead Coyote?

A raccoon will eat a dead coyote if it is easily accessible. Raccoons are scavengers of sorts and do not mind eating dead coyotes if they are hungry.

Would a Coyote Eat a Dead Raccoon?

Coyotes would eat a dead raccoon because it is an easy meal and it is one of their natural sources of food. Coyotes have no problem eating dead animals including raccoons.

Coyotes will come back to the dead raccoon or animal time and again until the carcass is completely bare.

25 Other Animals Coyotes Prey On

Raccoons are just one of many animals that coyotes prey on. Here are some of the most common animals that fall prey to coyotes across the country:

  1. Small dogs
  2. Cats
  3. Rabbits
  4. Chickens
  5. Mice
  6. Gophers
  7. Rats
  8. Snakes
  9. Cattle
  10. Sheep
  11. Goats
  12. Deer
  13. Fisher cats
  14. Squirrels
  15. Marmots
  16. Prairie Dogs
  17. Birds
  18. Fish
  19. Lizards
  20. Turtles
  21. Moles
  22. Elk
  23. Moose
  24. Bear cubs
  25. Harp Seals
coyote-eating

What Other Animals Eat Raccoons?

Raccoons may not appear to have a lot of natural predators, but they do. Feral dogs, bobcats, wolves, cougars, owls, eagles, hunting dogs, and mountain lions eat raccoons regularly.

Coyotes are often the least of their problems since they are unable to climb the trees which raccoons like to use to escape. Owls, eagles, bobcats, and mountain lions do not have a problem getting into the trees where raccoons tend to hide.

Final Thoughts

Coyotes will eat raccoons in some situations, especially young ones that are unable to defend themselves. It is not out of the ordinary, however, to see coyotes and raccoons living seemingly in harmony together in some areas.

As long as coyotes have plenty of easy prey to obtain, adult raccoons often do not top their list of food options. A hungry coyote, especially a pack of hungry coyotes, would surely attack and eat a raccoon if necessary.

Resources:

Researching coyotes and their interesting desire to eat raccoons is an educational experience. Here are the articles used to write this article.

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