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Do Foxes Eat Raccoons?

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Foxes are sly, gorgeous creatures that are known for sneaking into chicken coops or snatching birds and other small creatures. It is interesting, however, to see exactly where raccoons stand with foxes.

Foxes do eat raccoons because foxes are natural predators of raccoons and other small prey. Foxes are able to overpower, kill, and eat raccoons in certain situations.

However, it is also true that, for the most part, foxes and raccoons tend to stay away from one another to avoid altercations altogether.  

The predator-prey relationship between foxes and raccoons is intriguing since both species like to hunt and eat the same small animals. The more you know about their relationship, the more you will understand why most raccoons steer clear of foxes and fox dens.

Fox standing on snow

Why Do Foxes Eat Raccoons?

Foxes eat raccoons because they are an excellent source of meat and they are often smaller than the fox.

Raccoons are not easy for foxes to catch and they have sharp claws, which make them a strong adversary for foxes.

Foxes may opt to avoid raccoons because they are able to bite, scratch, and severely injure foxes. If a fox is hungry enough, however, then a raccoon, especially a smaller one, would make an acceptable meal for the fox.

Do Foxes Eat Baby Raccoons?

Foxes will eat baby raccoons, especially if their mother is nowhere to be found. Fighting off a mother raccoon would be dangerous for a fox and most foxes avoid the situation if a mother raccoon is around.

Baby raccoons are suitable prey for small predators like foxes.

They are not a threat to most foxes and are simply a small part of a larger food chain in nature. 

Do Raccoons Fear Foxes?

Raccoons tend to have a natural fear and understanding of predators, including foxes. Unless it is unavoidable, raccoons will keep their distance if they smell foxes nearby.

Prey animals develop a natural instinct that helps them stay away from predators. In this case, raccoons know that foxes pose a threat, so they maintain a safe distance from them when possible.

Can a Raccoon Kill a Fox?

In the right situation, it could be possible for a large raccoon to kill a fox. Raccoons have very sharp claws on each paw as well as a nasty bite that can cause severe injury to a fox.

Raccoons, when provoked, can become extremely aggressive, especially if they are being attacked or cornered by a fox.

Types of Foxes That Eat Raccoons

Red foxes are most likely to eat a raccoon due to their large size.

Red foxes can weigh up to 31 pounds, making them more capable of attacking and killing a raccoon.

Gray foxes may eat raccoons, however, their smaller size makes it less likely to occur. Gray foxes only weigh up to 20 pounds, so it is possible for them to overpower a raccoon.

Gray foxes are able to climb all the way up trees, unlike any other fox in the world. This means they can get to some of the raccoons that hide in trees, although it may not be a fun experience for either animal.

Red and gray foxes are both omnivores and enjoy eating meat as well as plant material to survive. Both red and gray foxes are more than capable of eating baby raccoons if they are hungry enough.

fox in the wild

Where Do Fox and Raccoon Habitats Overlap?

The interesting thing about foxes and raccoons is that they tend to hunt similar prey and also at the same time of day. Both foxes and raccoons are nocturnal creatures which means they do most of their hunting at night.

Fox and raccoon habitats overlap in woodland and forest-type areas during their hunting hours, when both animals tend to search for food. Raccoons appear to avoid areas that foxes frequent since they consider foxes potential predators.

Do Raccoons Kill And Eat Foxes?

Raccoons are not likely to kill and eat foxes at all. Raccoons consider foxes to be potential predators and prefer to stay away from foxes altogether.

It is possible for a large, starving raccoon to kill and eat a baby fox, but again it is unlikely. The smell of a fox alone is enough deter most raccoons from the area.

Will a Raccoon Eat a Dead Fox?

While is possible for a hungry raccoon to eat a dead fox, it is not common. Smelling a fox, dead or alive, persuades most raccoons to move to another area.

fox eating a raccoon

7 Other Animals Foxes Prey On

Foxes eat a large variety of small animals other than raccoons. Foxes are fast, skilled hunters that can easily sneak up on and kill small animals.

Here are several of the most common animals that foxes tend to prey on.

Rodents

Rodents make up the majority of a fox’s meat intake because they are small, abundant, and relatively easy for foxes to catch. Rodents like mice, moles, squirrels, pocket gophers, voles, and chipmunks are all considered prey in a fox’s eyes.

Rabbits

Foxes often eat rabbits of all varieties that are found in the wild. Rabbits are small, somewhat easy to catch, and make a great meat option for foxes.

Ungulates

Ungulates include hooved animals like giraffes, sheep, deer, camels, and pigs. Foxes are usually unable to kill and eat large ungulates but they are often able to overpower small, young ungulates.

It is not common for a fox to kill ungulates, due to their larger size and tendency to live in herds, but it is possible. Red foxes are known to occasionally kill and eat these small ungulates.

Reptiles

Foxes also enjoy eating reptiles like lizards and small snakes. It may seem unimaginable, but foxes can actually hear prey that hides underground like some reptiles.

Birds

Birds are a fun and quick snack for foxes in the wild. Foxes will eat adult birds, baby birds, and even bird eggs if they are able to find them on the ground.

Since gray foxes can climb up a tree, they can potentially find bird nests filled with eggs or baby birds. A gray fox will have no issue eating young birds or bird eggs.

Insects

Foxes will also eat insects that they are able to find and grab easily. Various worms, moths, and other bugs are often eaten by foxes, especially when other food is scarce.

Farm Animals

Foxes enjoy eating small farm animals, despite your best efforts to keep your farm animals safe. Foxes will eat chickens, turkeys, ducks, small pigs, baby calves, lambs, and baby goats that are unable to defend themselves properly.

A hungry fox will snatch farm animals and take them back to the woods or their own dens to eat. You may not even see the fox or the dead animal at all.

Final Thoughts

Although somewhat rare, foxes do eat raccoons if they are hungry enough and able to easily kill them. Raccoons are a natural prey option for larger foxes that are able to overpower them.

Baby raccoons can fall prey to foxes while larger, adult raccoons may fare well against a predatory fox. Most raccoons are intelligent enough to stay far away from foxes whenever possible to avoid any altercation at all.

Resources:

Learning about foxes and raccoons is more interesting than you might imagine. Here are the sources used to write this particular article.

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