If you walked past a raccoon in the wild, it would probably be eating something.
If it was eating, there is a big chance that it might be doing so with its front paws.
Depending on what the food is, eating can involve licking or dunking, munching or chomping, gnawing, or crunching.
Whatever the food is, if a raccoon does not wash it before consuming it, you can bet that the raccoon will probably attempt to do so shortly after.
The reason that a raccoon washes its food is that it tries to get rid of any irritants and poisons on the outside of the food.
Raccoons have no way of knowing whether or not a particular food is poisonous, and it does not do the raccoon any good to wait until after it has eaten poison to find out.
Even if a raccoon eats something that is not poisonous this time around, there is no guarantee that the next batch of food will be safe and clean enough to eat without washing.
Raccoons always wash their food, regardless of whether or not they feel that it is necessary to do so.
Another reason why raccoons wash their food is that it takes time before eating to prove whether or not the food has been tampered with.
Putting anything into a raccoon’s mouth can be dangerous; raccoons have powerful jaws, sharp teeth, and a nasty bite.
When a raccoon has been eating for a while, it can determine whether or not the food is safe to eat without needing to actually taste it again.
Do Raccoons Always Wash Their Food?
As mentioned above, raccoons always try to wash their food before eating it – but only when they feel that it is necessary.
Raccoons will eat anything and everything if their food supply starts to dwindle.
Raccoons in captivity still exhibit this same behavior unless they are fed a balanced diet with the appropriate amount of nutrients.
When a raccoon does not need to wash its food, it will not do so.
The raccoon will not waste time and energy on something that it does not need to do, and the raccoon eats only if it knows for sure that its food is safe to eat without washing.
Raccoons also do not wash their food when they know that there is no point.
If a raccoon knows beyond any doubt that its food is not going to have anything wrong with it, the raccoon will eat it without taking extra time and effort to wash it off.
In cases where a raccoon eats something that it knows has been treated in some way – such as being covered in oil or pepper spray – the raccoon’s goal is not to cleanse the food but to rid itself of the irritant.
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