Do Raccoons Eat Fish?

what do raccoons eat

Photo: GotoVan

Raccoons can eat anything and are considered omnivores (eat both plants and animals like goldfish and koi). Known for eating whatever they can get their little hands on.  Often garbage bins, which has earned them the title of masked bandits.

Do Raccoons Eat Pond Fish?

Raccoons do eat fish. The water makes their hands more sensitive, allowing them to identify fish and grab them and their ability to move swiftly. Their teeth are long and thin and have claws that help break up fish quickly.

The raccoons have an affinity for water and tend to frequent ponds, rivers, and lakes in the wilderness. The water attracts their sensitive front paws. With the abundance of fish in lakes and ponds, it’s reasonable to conclude that fish is an excellent food source.

What Else Raccoons Eat

As opportunistic omnivores, raccoons can eat anything they can. Such as anything that falls from trees like fruits and nuts, snails, insects, slugs, roadkill chickens, animals’ eggs, vegetables, and even garbage-grade varieties of commonplace food items, such as pizza and burgers.

Raccoons have a robust digestive system to digest fruits, meats, and even plants and animals. Their brilliant brains, full stomachs, and sensitive paws make them great hunters. Fish are not that easy to catch. 

Fish are rich in nutrients like vitamin D and protein, iodine, and omega-three fats. Fish consumption improves brain function and reduces the risk of getting sick and reduces the risk of heart attacks, helps to cast off depression, and improves sight.

Research has shown that raccoons also benefit from eating fish like humans since we have normal digestion and nutrient requirements. Therefore, fish benefit raccoons in the same way as humans.

Their bodies are smaller than humans but still benefit from nutrient-dense food.

Raccoons increase muscle strength as well as joint flexibility. This results in more efficient bowel movements, increased blood flow and healthy sensory systems, enhanced vision, and immunity to diseases when they consume fish.

The front paws of raccoons are extremely sensitive when they are wet, and wet hands assist them in knowing what they’re holding. Additionally, their hands are agile and quick. It’s fast enough for a raccoon to crouch in the shallows of a pond to take fresh fish from your pond.

Once a fish is snatched out of the water, the raccoon nips the fish with its paws and then disembowels it with its razor-sharp teeth. The animal’s claws, feet, and teeth cut the scales of the fish and bones when it consumes.

How to Tell if a Raccoon is Feeding on Your Fish

In reality, raccoons frequently get a bad rep for things they could not have done. Other animals also enjoy fish as tasty treats. Possums, cats, birds, foxes, and other fishes consume fish.

If there’s no evidence of scales or intestines found in the area, the raccoon might not be the culprit. Due to their hunched back, raccoons aren’t fond of traveling long distances searching for food. They’ll eat the fish and leave it when they are done.

The raccoons are likely to return to the pond once they have found a new fishing hole.  So setting up a trail camera could confirm what is happening to your fish.

Raccoons can swim quite well; however, they prefer to place their bodies on slopes or shallow waters for fishing. If your pond for fishing is deep or steep, the raccoons are likely not to try to catch it.

How to Keep Raccoons From Eating Pond Fish

If you are aware that raccoons have eaten some of your pond fish, there are steps you can do to deter them. Please read our article on how to keep raccoons out of your fish pond.

What Else do Raccoons Eat?

Raccoons aren’t content with fish or meat alone. Their diet is usually comprised of various food items like amphibians, snails, mussels such as crabs, rabbits, birds and berries, nuts, cherries, vegetables, and anything else that might be found in your garbage can.

The flexibility of their eating habits can lead to them contracting numerous zoonotic diseases. Be aware and alert when you come across raccoons.


Raccoons are known to eat pond fish. They are omnivores who are opportunistic, with delicate teeth and paws. They can quickly grab fish from ponds.

Fish provide raccoons with a broad array of nutrients and benefits.

If you are worried that raccoons may be eating your fish, and there aren’t any scales or intestines in the vicinity, it may not be a raccoon.  Set up a trail cam to confirm.