Most people love sweet and savory food, and so do raccoons; they will rummage on trash cans in search of anything to eat, and when they find sweet foods like chocolate, they will eat as much as they can; but the question is: Is Chocolate Good For Them?
Just like humans, a little chocolate is okay for these backyard bandits, but consuming a lot of this brownish goodness is deadly for raccoons.
All chocolates and chocolate foods are not good for raccoons because their digestive system cannot easily digest them because of the theobromine contained in chocolates, but that doesn’t mean they won’t eat them. Other foods are deadly to raccoons, and you will do well not to feed them to your pet raccoons.
Let’s Get To Know Raccoons
Raccoons are nocturnal animals mostly found in America and belong to the Procyonidae family. There are 22 subspecies of raccoons, and the classification is based on their looks and size.
The fluffy coats of raccoons come in different colors, from whitish gray to dark chocolate. They have a black stripe across their eyes, a long striped tail, and an underlayer that protects them from cold.
These voracious omnivores, which have strong fangs and paws, use their highly developed sense of touch to get their food, be it from dumpsters or trash cans, and they can live for up to 15 years in captivity, just about four years in the wild.
Is Chocolate Such A Bad Food?
Even though chocolate made from cacao seeds and contains caffeine and theobromine has some health benefits, especially as they contain some great minerals for the body, these benefits do not outweigh the dangers that raccoons are exposed to when exposed to they eat chocolate.
Granted that dark chocolate has an antioxidant effect on humans, including age delaying properties and the ability to relieve pain and stress.
So, chocolate is not a bad food in itself, but when eaten in excess by humans, it can be dangerous, as one of its downsides is that it can lead to obesity and cancer.
Can Raccoons Eat Chocolate? or Is Chocolate Harmful To Raccoons?
Raccoons have sweet taste buds or receptors, so they can enjoy sweet things, unlike some other animals like cats that do not have these sweet receptors and so may not enjoy chocolate.
But chocolate is a real threat to raccoons’ health and even life because their body system is not built to break down cacao. When they consume chocolate, they will experience excessive urination and diarrhea.
A raccoon will die if it takes the quantity of chocolate most people take, which is because of its slow metabolism, and this is one of the reasons why raccoons have a shorter life span than humans.
Although dark chocolate is good for us, it is more deadly for raccoons because of the high theobromine and caffeine content that they cannot digest. They can shut down raccoons’ kidneys.
A human requires 1,000mg/kg to cause toxic reactions or even death. However, that figure is much lower for pets and raccoons. Raccoons, in particular, are killed at 400mg/kg body weight.
The smaller the animal or pet, the greater the likelihood of death, but this is not true for some pets and animals, such as rats and mice.
Because of their tolerance, rats and mice require more chocolates to be killed than humans, and the digestive system is less sensitive and defensive to chocolates than humans.
While it will take 1,000mg/kg of chocolate to cause a serious toxic reaction or even death in humans, this is a lot lower in animals.
The smaller the animal, the greater the possibility of a smaller quantity of chocolate killing them. Raccoons, for instance, will die if they consume 400mg/kg of their body weight.
Symptoms Of Chocolate ‘Poisoning’ In Racoons
A raccoon consuming as little as an ounce of cacao powder in chocolate can be deadly, and there are a few symptoms you will notice, and they include:
- Abnormal heartbeat
List Of Chocolates That Are High In Theobromine
If you have a raccoon pet, you might not be able to stop it from scavenging food from around you, but be sure to keep foods that high in theobromine from them. Here are some of the Theobromine content of the common chocolate products that you find around:
- Cocoa Powder – 142mg per 100 grams
- Dark Chocolate Coated Coffee Beans – 147mg per ounce (28 beans)
- Hot Cocoa – 170mg per cup
- Sweet Chocolate Candies – 175mg per 1.5 ounces bar
- Dark chocolate – 228mg per square ounce
- Semi-Sweet Chocolate Chips – 138mg per 1oz handful
- Baking Chocolate – 376mg per square ounce
What Other Foods Are Harmful To Racoons?
Besides chocolates, there are lots of foods that we eat that are not good for raccoons; some of them include:
1. Cookies and Candies
Most processed human junks are not good for raccoons, and these are because they contain a lot of complex sugar and preservatives which raccoons cannot easily digest. Chewing gum and candy contain xylitol which causes seizures and liver failure.
Even though avocados are healthy for humans, they are harmful to raccoons. They get sick from eating the avocado fruit and choke on the seeds. Avocado has a compound known as persin, which causes diarrhea, vomiting, and even heart attack.
All food made from avocado like guacamole is equally harmful to raccoons, and you will do well not to feed your pet raccoons with avocado.
3. Onions and Spices
These are chemical compounds toxic to raccoons, and some of them are found in onions. Disulfide and sulfoxide are two chemical compounds found in onions and garlic that cause hemolytic anemia in raccoons because they damage their red blood cells.
4. Chips and Savory Snacks
Seasoned crackers, tortilla chips, potatoes chips, and foods like these all have a lot of preservatives and sugar, which can make raccoons sick or even kill them if they consume them in a reasonable quality.
5. Macadamia Nuts and Raisins
These foods are toxic to raccoons because they cause a lot of minerals to be concentrated in their intestine. These foods also lead to the increase of roundworms, endo-parasites that are dangerous to raccoons.
6. Cow Milk
The concentration of vitamin D and other compounds in cow milk makes it unsuitable for raccoons because it causes discomfort and indigestion.
7. Yeast and Bread
Many people don’t believe that food as common as bread can adversely affect raccoons s. But the reality is that bread contains yeast, which can cause fungal infections in raccoons.
So, What Do Racoons Eat?
Raccoons are omnivores that can feed on anything from plants to animals, insects, and grubs. A raccoon’s diet should typically contain 40% invertebrates, 27%, and 33% plants.
Raccoons in the wild love eating water-related foods like crayfish, worms, reptiles, amphibians, eggs, foraged berries, fruits, nuts, and acorn plants.
Raccoons have well-developed paws mainly for hunting weak and small animals like birds, frogs, fishes mollusks, and fishes, but this does not mean that they enjoy hunting for their foods; they rather have them the food they don’t have to sweat for.
When they get these tiny animals, they first moisten it water up the food so that it will be easy for them to Chow, and they use their teeth that are so sharp to grind up the food before eating them.
Rapid urbanization is causing more raccoons to live near humans; many people are now adopting raccoons as pets, and hence they are beginning to eat most of the things we eat ourselves, like chocolate.
Can Raccoons Eat Cacao Beans?
Raccoons will eat anything if they are starving, and so they will eat cacao plants and seeds just like other such animals who enjoy these seeds, like squirrels, monkeys, and bats.
Even though these cacao seeds are bitter, they are used in making chocolate, but they are still bad for raccoons because of the Theobromine and caffeine content of these plants, which raccoons cannot digest.
The sweet taste of chocolate results from these bitter cacao seeds mixed with loads of sugar which is why most kids love them.
Some Cool Facts About Raccoons
Raccoons are some special animals that many people have come to love, maybe because of how cute they look when they jump from one place to place or when they chew on some delicacy or another. Here are some interesting facts about raccoons:
1. They Love The City
Even though raccoons are wild animals and lice in the wild, urbanization makes these little cuties attracted to live in the city.
For instance, in Toronto, which is urbanized, there are more than 50 times more raccoons than you have in the rural areas around.
Raccoons are probably attracted to the city because crowded places mean there are more trash cans and places to scavenge for food. Remember, raccoons are not exactly great hunters, so they prefer getting their food easily.
2. They Have High IQ Levels
When you compare the Intelligent quotient of raccoons with those of other mammals, they rank very close to that of humans than most people imagine; this is after monkeys and apes.
They also have an evolving intelligence, which means they can be involved in critical thinking when the need arises and learn from their experience.
It will surprise most people to know that raccoons were once used for laboratory testing, but they had to be discarded because they were way too intelligent and also had an adaptive and strong will
3. They Make a Lot of Different Sounds.
Raccoons have a lot of different sounds that they use in communicating other things to themselves. They have about 51 different vocalizations that they communicate with; this includes growling, purring, hissing, chirping, squealing, and the rest.
4. They Have Special Paws
Raccoons have 5 dexterous toes on their 2 front paws, which function like fingers in Hunan’s. They use these paws to grasp things and rummage for food.
These paws have a lot of nerves that keeps them extra sensitive to their environment while their feet can make a 180 degrees rotation, which helps climb trees
5. They do not have partners for life
Some animals have one mate for life, and they do not mate with any other; this is typical for animals like beavers, wolves, and some birds.
This is not the case with raccoons; they have many mating partners. At the same time, the female raccoons mate with only one partner in a season, the males mates with as many females as they can find in season.
Another interesting fact about making raccoons is that they do not take part in raising their offspring; the mother raccoons solely bear that responsibility.
6. They Can Move At Very High Speed
Raccoons are always on the move in search of food and safety, which is one reason why they move at high speed. They can run at 15 miles per hour while running and climbing trees.
They are also excellent swimmers, especially when they are swimming away from predators or searching for food.
7. They Can Survive Almost Anywhere
Before now, you will find raccoons mostly in the tropics, but they have migrated to other habitats like mountainous areas and crowded cities. This is a sign that they can easily adapt to most conditions.
8. They are Nocturnal
You may be surprised to know that raccoons sleep through the day and are active at night. They are nocturnal, but that doesn’t mean you might not see a few of them running around during the day in search of food.
9. They Are Very Skillful.
Many people associate raccoons with vicious, wild, and violent behaviors, but this is not always the case; they can also show intelligence and skills. Many people have trained their pet raccoons to perform certain activities like dancing, clapping, and the like.
Even though chocolate is okay and even healthy, humans consume it in moderation, especially dark chocolate; this is not the case with raccoons.
Chocolate of any quantity or type is bad for them because of the theobromine and caffeine that chocolate contains, which is not easily digestible by raccoons.
Raccoons can be killed outrightly by consuming a sizeable quantity of chocolate. So steer your raccoons far from chocolate because it is harmful to them.
You May Also Like:
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- How To Kill Rats With Salts
- Is Chocolate Poisonous to Squirrels
- Can You Eat Squirrel From Your Backyard
We trust this article helped you understand if Raccoons can eat chocolate. You may also want to check How High a Raccoon Can Jump.
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