Why Raccoons Wash Their Food?

Why Raccoons Wash Their Food: The Fascinating Explanation


Raccoons are some of the most interesting animals found in North America. One of their most fascinating behaviors is their tendency to wash their food. This habit has puzzled scientists and animal lovers for years. In this article, we will explore the reasons behind this behavior.

What Do Raccoons Eat?

Raccoons are omnivores, which means they eat both plants and animals. They eat fruits, nuts, insects, fish, small mammals, and birds. They are also known to scavenge for food in garbage cans and dumpsters.

The Washing Behavior

Raccoons are known for their habit of washing their food before eating it. This behavior is not limited to just water sources; they have been observed washing their food in streams, puddles, and even in the rain. This behavior is so ingrained in their nature that they will often dip their food in water even if there is no need to clean it.

Theories Behind the Behavior

There are several theories behind why raccoons wash their food. One theory suggests that raccoons wash their food to remove toxins or other harmful substances. Another theory suggests that raccoons wash their food to soften it, making it easier to eat. Yet another theory suggests that raccoons wash their food to enhance their sense of touch, making it easier to identify and manipulate their food.

The Real Reason

Recent studies have shed light on the true reason behind raccoons’ washing behavior. It turns out that raccoons have very sensitive hands, much like humans. When they dip their food in water, they can feel the texture and consistency of the food more clearly. This helps them to identify and manipulate their food with more precision. In fact, raccoons have been observed dipping their paws in water and rubbing them together to create a kind of “sensory sponge” that they use to feel their food.


In conclusion, the behavior of raccoons washing their food is a fascinating example of animal behavior. While there have been many theories behind why they do it, recent research has shown that it is simply a way for these intelligent animals to enhance their sense of touch and better manipulate their food. So the next time you see a raccoon washing its food, know that it is not just being cute; it is using its keen sense of touch to survive in the wild.

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