You have probably seen a raccoon before, whether it was in real life or in Western movies such as the largely popular Guardians of the Galaxy, which features an animated raccoon that is a member of the group of heroes.
Raccoons are mammals that are native to the Americas, and they are known for being generally calm animals. It is rare for a raccoon to attack a human being, though it isn’t impossible.
When they are in danger, raccoons produce defensive sounds such as hissing and growling, and they also express their defensiveness through body language. Just like cats and dogs, they stick up their fur and thrash their tail, in an attempt to look more intimidating.
However, raccoons are pretty tiny compared to other animals, thus they aren’t intimidating at all to species that are larger than them. Because of that, raccoons fall prey to quite a few animals. In this article, we’re going to show you 8 predators of raccoons!
Generally, coyotes are known for being scavengers, but they are also skilled predators that attack smaller prey — if push comes to shove, they can even attack larger prey. They act alone or in groups; however, it only takes a single coyote to kill a raccoon, given their difference in size.
When this racoo is out for food, it will activate its stealth mode once it spots its next meal. The minute they are close enough to a raccoon, a coyote will pounce on its prey, giving it no chance to run away.
The only way a raccoon can escape a coyote attack is by climbing up a tree — if there is a tree nearby. Coyotes, like all canines, are not the best climbers.
Bobcats are a species of cat that are found in North America (Canada, Mexico, and the United States). This animal is twice as big as the average cat and, unlike housecats, they can pose a real threat to human beings.
Bobcats, also known as wildcats, are carnivore predators that usually attack smaller prey and that have very few predators. Bobcats are pretty ferocious hunters, so they can also attack larger prey.
Raccoons are some of a bobcat’s favorite meals, due to their small size and lack of an effective defense system. Just like coyotes, this racoon predators go into stealth mode when they spot their prey and then pounce on them. Bobcats can leap a distance of 10 feet in one go, which makes their attack lethal.
3. Canadian Lynx
Bobcats and Canadian Lynx are all part of the same family and genus of mammals: felidae and Lynx, respectively. Because of this relation, these animals all look very similar, physically speaking. The difference between a bobcat and a Canadian lynx is that bobcats have smaller feet and their fur is not exactly appropriate for snowy environments.
One thing that bobcats and Canadian lynx have in common is that they’re both predators and that raccoons are one of their prey, for the sole reason of being smaller animals and for not having a defense system that fends off larger predators.
Canadian lynx attack their prey in the same way that bobcats do: by stealthily approaching the victim and pouncing on them unexpectedly.
The next racoon predator that we are going to look at is cougars, which are more commonly known across the Americas as “pumas” or “mountain lions”. Although they usually prey on deer, these big cats also hunt smaller prey such as raccoons.
Like bobcats and lynx, cougars attack their prey by pouncing on them out of nowhere before driving their large and strong canine teeth into the victim’s neck, immediately breaking their neck.
Similarly to bobcats and lynx, cougars are good climbers, thus raccoons cannot escape them even if they climb up a tree.
5. Domestic dogs
Raccoons are dangerous to house pets such as kittens and puppies. They can even be dangerous to small-sized adult dogs. However, larger dogs such as german shepherds and strong dogs such as pitbulls can easily take down a raccoon, though not without some fight.
Even though dogs are not exactly predators, they usually chase smaller animals and kill — but don’t eat — them, which is why they are potential threats to raccoons.
Wolves are usually compared to dogs, often considered a bigger, badder version of our beloved pets. Just like dogs, wolves are dangerous to raccoons — the difference is that wolves do eat their prey, which is something dogs don’t usually do.
This predator of racoons usually hunt in packs, but it only takes one wolf to kill a raccoon. Wolves test their prey’s weaknesses and, unlike other animals on this list, they don’t take their victims by surprise: wolves are bold-faced predators that openly chase their prey until they catch them!
The only way for a raccoon to escape a wolf’s attack is by climbing up a tree.
7. Large owls
Although they seem like fairly calm animals, owls are considered as birds of prey and they need to kill other animals in order to ensure their subsistence. Their diet is pretty broad: owls eat anything from insects to fish to small mammals. Unfortunately for them, raccoons are part of an owl’s menu.
Owls have a perfect eyesight that allows them to see pretty well in the dark and they also have very good hearing, which allows them to find prey just by the sounds they make. Because their wings are covered in feathers that muffle their flying sounds, owls can sneak up on their prey and catch them by surprise.
Once they spot their prey, owls will fly towards it and stretch their talons forward to stun their victim. This impact is so forceful that the prey has no chance at escaping. The owl will then snap the prey with its beak and proceed to tear it into tiny pieces so it can digest the victim.
Raccoons don’t have much chance fighting against owls, especially because they can’t simply climb up a tree to escape.
Although they love fish, eagles are another species of birds of prey that absolutely enjoy having raccoons for dinner.
Similarly to owls, this predator of racoons use their strong, razor-sharp talons to stund, hold, and shred their prey. It is estimated that the strength of the impact of an eagle stunning its victim is about 400 pounds per square inch per talon!
Raccoons are small, relatively defenseless mammals. Though they are predators of smaller animals — it is known that raccoons can drown an small-sized adult dog —, raccoons can fall prey to many bigger carnivores, such as bobcats and even owls!
Against larger animals, raccoons don’t have many defense mechanisms, thus their only chance at surviving is by escaping their predator and trying to climb up the nearest tree — this method is not foolproof, though.
I hope that this article on racoon predators was helpful! If you are interested, visit the Animal Facts Page!