Why Do Raccoons Wash Their Food?

There is some truth to the story that raccoons wash their food before eating it.

a raccoon washes its food

A raccoon may dip its food in water before eating it, but this habit does not indicate cleanliness, for the water may be dirty. And raccoons will eat most anything, whether it is washed or not.

Some people believe that a raccoon washes its food because the animal has a keen sense of touch and investigates objects by feeling them, using its front paws like little hands. However, the raccoon can investigate moist objects better than dry ones.

Frogs, crabs, and crayfish, some of the raccoon’s favorite fresh-water food, are “felt” (which is often mistaken for washing) the same way dry objects are.

Other people, however, believe that because the raccoon has a small throat, it likes to soak its morsel of food to make it soft before eating it.

Whatever the raccoon’s reasons for washing its food, it has been known to even do the same thing with pebbles, which it doesn’t eat! The raccoon washes and scrubs the pebbles until they shine, then piles them up in a mound to dry in the sun.

About Karen Hill

Karen Hill is a freelance writer, editor, and columnist. Born in New York, her work has appeared in the Examiner, Yahoo News, Buzzfeed, among others.

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