Raccoons are omnivores who eat a wide variety of foods, including fruits, nuts, berries, insects, frogs and smaller mammals. Their diet is largely dependent on the environment in which they live, with raccoons who live in urban and suburban areas sometimes browsing through garbage cans in search of food. Raccoons who live further from human dwellings eat a more natural diet.
Most of a raccoon's diet consists of plants foods, such as nuts, grains and fruit, and invertebrates, such as insects, clams, earthworms and crayfish. Raccoons eat smaller animals as well, such as mice, birds, snakes and squirrels. They break into chicken coops to eat chickens.
Pet food left outside attracts them closer to houses, where they scavenge any food sources available. Raccoons have very dexterous front paws, with five fingers that allow them to manipulate clam shells, garbage can lids, closed doors and other places where they find food. They climb trees to raid birds' nest to eat eggs or nestlings. They like to eat fish and often steal them from garden ponds.
Raccoons hunt prey, but they are also scavengers, cleaning up carcasses they find. The raccoon's dietary adaptability makes it a successful species across a wide range of habitats, from forests to cities.