Whether you see them scampering around your neighborhood or have one as a pet, raccoons are well-known for their naughtiness and willingness to eat anything they find. Don’t be surprised if you see raccoons munching on popcorn—they love that, too! But can raccoons safely eat popcorn?
Raccoons eat popcorn, and they can eat as much as is available. Small quantities of plain popcorn are harmless to raccoons and provide some essential nutrients. However, popcorn doesn’t form part of a wild raccoon’s typical diet. As for pet raccoons, they should only eat popcorn in moderation.
This article will discuss whether or not raccoons eat popcorn. I’ll also discuss whether popcorn is nutritious for raccoons and some excellent popcorn substitutes. So, keep reading.
Do Raccoons Eat Popcorn?
As survivalists, non-picky eaters, and opportunistic omnivores, raccoons will eat anything available.
Raccoons eat popcorn, and they usually enjoy it. If you leave popcorn out for the raccoons in your neighborhood, or you offer some to your pet raccoon, they’ll undoubtedly eat it.
In the wild, though, a raccoon’s main diet is protein-rich and consists of insects, crabs, frogs, worms, and the occasional piece of fruit.
Popcorn is a popular treat for people to give to their pet raccoons. Raccoon owners love watching their pets picking popcorn pieces apart with their sharp claws before eating them.
Is It Okay To Feed Raccoons Popcorn?
If you have raccoons hanging out in your neighborhood or you have a pet raccoon, you might wonder if it’s safe to feed them popcorn.
It’s okay to feed raccoons popcorn. But opt for plain, unbuttered, and unsalted popcorn. Also, limit the popcorn amount you provide to raccoons as they’re omnivores and eat small quantities of a wide range of foods. Don’t give raccoons chocolate or caramel-covered popcorn—they’re toxic to raccoons.
If a raccoon occasionally eats a few pieces of plain popcorn, don’t worry; they won’t harm it. The raccoon will enjoy having popcorn as a snack. However, never feed a raccoon salted, seasoned, and buttered popcorn, as these varieties can cause digestive problems.
When raccoons eat chocolate or caramel-coated popcorn, they can experience nausea, diarrhea, vomiting, and stomach cramps. Their digestive tracts aren’t designed to break down chocolate or caramel.
Air popping is the best method of preparing popcorn for raccoons as there’s no risk of the oil upsetting the raccoon’s digestive system.
Occasionally leaving handfuls of popcorn out for the raccoons in your neighborhood is harmless, but you should avoid feeding it to them every day.
Below are some reasons to reconsider feeding popcorn to raccoons regularly:
- The raccoons may stop looking for food in the wild. Providing wild raccoons with a constant food source can make them reliant on you, and they may lose their natural ability to hunt or scavenge for food in the wild.
- You may attract more raccoons to your neighborhood. A raccoon’s natural habitat is moist woodland, but they sometimes approach urban areas when food is scarce. By providing a constant popcorn supply in a metropolitan area, you’re encouraging raccoons to live outside of their natural habitat.
- Too much popcorn may harm a raccoon’s health. The healthiest diet for a raccoon is wild-sourced insects, small water creatures, and fruit. When you regularly leave popcorn out for wild raccoons, you’re encouraging them to eat human food leftovers from trash cans, which can be innutritious.
Is Popcorn Nutritious for Raccoons?
If you have a pet raccoon, you probably want it to eat a healthy diet.
Popcorn is nutritious for raccoons as it’s high in protein. It also contains B vitamins and minerals, nutrients that raccoons obtain from fruit. However, popcorn is high in carbohydrates, and raccoons don’t typically eat much starch.
A 3.5 oz (100 g) portion of plain popcorn contains 0.46 oz (13 g) of protein, 0.17 oz (5 g) of fat, and 2.75 oz (78 g) of carbohydrates. It’s also rich in the following vitamins and minerals:
- Vitamin A
- Vitamin B1 (Thiamin)
- Vitamin B3 (Niacin)
- Vitamin B6 (Pyridoxine)
- Vitamin K
When raccoons eat large quantities of popcorn, the high-carbohydrate content can cause them to gain weight. If you notice that your pet raccoon has lost its visible waistline and you can’t feel its ribs, your raccoon may have gained weight and will need to consume a healthier diet.
Plain popcorn shouldn’t be a raccoon’s primary source of nutrition—it’s only okay as an occasional snack.
What’s the Best Way To Feed Popcorn to a Raccoon?
By now, you should already know that raccoons like to eat popcorn. But what’s the best way to serve popcorn to them?
The best way to feed popcorn to a raccoon is to serve a handful of popcorn in a regular feeding bowl—this only applies to domesticated raccoons. If you want to feed popcorn to a wild raccoon, leave a handful of popcorn close to where it usually scavenges for food.
Raccoons sometimes dunk their food in water to clean it. Your pet raccoon may rinse its popcorn if there’s a water bowl close by, and this can cause popcorn pieces to come loose and make a mess.
Is Popcorn a Good Fiber Source for Raccoons?
As omnivores, raccoons need fiber in their diet for healthy digestion.
Popcorn is a good fiber source for raccoons—a 3.5 oz (100 g) popcorn serving contains 0.46 oz (13 g) of fiber. However, raccoons may experience cramps or diarrhea if they eat too much popcorn. That’s why they should only be given popcorn in limited quantities.
Raccoons aren’t fussy eaters. Wild raccoons will eat popcorn if they find it. Pet raccoons enjoy eating popcorn and will eat as much as you give them.
Plain, air-popped popcorn is the best way of preparing popcorn for raccoons because salt, seasoning, and butter can cause digestive problems. You shouldn’t feed raccoons chocolate or caramel-covered popcorn as it’s toxic to them.
Occasionally giving a raccoon a handful of popcorn as a treat is fine because it contains plenty of protein, vitamins, fiber, and minerals. Raccoons don’t need many carbohydrates, and you shouldn’t feed them more than a handful of popcorn.
Additional Information On Animals Eating Popcorn
Are you curious about what animals can eat popcorn? Click here for an animal overview or click on an animal below to find out specific details: