Raccoons are omnivore animals and will eat just about anything. That includes pumpkins! However, most pumpkin types are too bitter for raccoons to eat. While raccoons are definitely possible eat pumpkins, this isn’t typically their preferred food source. Raccoons are omnivores and will consume a variety of foods. Still, pumpkin is not usually at the top of that list. In fact, according to wildlife experts, raccoons are more likely to scavenge nuts or fruits from trees than they are to raid gardens full of pumpkins.
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What Are Raccoons’ Dietary Needs?
According to the Michigan State University Extension, Raccoons are considered ‘omnivores’ and eat just about any type of food. They may also prey on wild birds that have migrated into their urban habitats, such as crows, blue jays, doves, pigeons, or house sparrows. They sometimes try to steal birds. During the fall, they develop a preference for fruits such as apples, peaches, and pears. Still, they also enjoy a variety of vegetables, such as sweet corn, potatoes, and peas.
Is Pumpkin Beneficial to Wildlife?
The flesh and seeds of the pumpkin are consumed by various animals. It is nutritious, so you can bet that animals will enjoy it. Old pumpkins that have been painted should not be fed to animals, as the paint may be toxic.
If you do not wish to attract wildlife, feeding old pumpkins to animals is not the only use for pumpkins after the autumn season. There are alternatives to recycling pumpkins for wildlife.
Do Raccoons Consume Entire Pumpkins?
At first, it might be hard for a raccoon to get into a whole pumpkin. But if they dig into it with their sharp claws and teeth, they will eventually break it open. While it’s possible for raccoons to consume entire pumpkins, this is not typically the case. Raccoons prefer to hunt small prey such as insects or rodents rather than eat large chunks of food. In fact, pumpkin seeds are one of their favorite foods!
What Pumpkin Parts Do Raccoons Consume?
As previously implied, raccoons consume every part of a pumpkin. They burrow into the soil and begin eating upward from the roots. They consume the pumpkin’s roots, stem, leaves, fruits, seeds, and every other edible part. During the fall, raccoons consume the entire pumpkin. They dig a hole down to its stem and continue eating into it until they get close to where their molar teeth are located.
Most of what remains are thrown out with no seeds, which would require more time for digestion than an animal could tolerate when hunting for food this early in the season. Similar behavior can be seen in squirrels consuming nuts earlier in the Autumn months.
What Other Animals Eat Pumpkins?
Deers eat pumpkins and other fruits. If a deer gets into your garden, keep an eye on it throughout the day since they have been known to escape after dusk in some areas. They lick or mash most of their natural foods but seldom snack on seeds unless there is no fruit around for them to raid.
Pumpkins are a favorite fruiting food for birds. They may eat the small seeds, but they also run out onto their feeders to pick off any fallen fruit and attract hungry moths.
Like raccoons, porcupine consumes every part of pumpkin plants, including roots, stems, and fruits, on early autumn feeding occasions. Any part left over from last year’s crop goes into storage roots exclusively.
Pumpkins are the favorite fruit of squirrels. They have been observed to eat them whole. Still, in most cases, fruits smashed open by other animals (deers very commonly) would be discarded, and only seeds are eaten. Squirrels generally attempt to hide all food remains from each other so as not to upset their clan’s sharing system.
Chipmunks are both plant and seed eaters, consistently consuming seeds found in various other places. They enjoy eating any berries they find, even if it is something completely unrelated to the area in which they live. During the winter, squirrels will kill chipmunk’s nuts by chewing on them until death, leaving chips behind from their gnawing efforts. Same as raccoons do with pumpkin stems and woodchucks use as gnawing blocks in their winter dens. The squirrels then break up and eat the chips once they awake from hibernation, where they have no access to any other food source, so the nuts littering inside will be a little-known treat for them. Primarily because chipmunks are pretty much bottom feeder eating insects and animals aside from that earless mole.
Larger kinds of bats all consume certain parts of pumpkin flowers and fruits. Most of the fruit consumed at present is located in or on them. Butterflies enjoy eating orange-colored moths that feed off flowers. Still, larger bat species do not share this interest, so they can consume pumpkin seed hulls by either gleaning through leaf litter or just finding them where others have discarded some because there is no other food available to them between hibernation periods.
Rabbits love pumpkin seeds, as evidenced by their abundance in the seed shells where no other animal would eat them until now. They snack on the leaves or sometimes consume some of the crops at this time but most commonly, they leave that to others and just enjoy snacking on pumpkin flowers from afar, a good distance away from any part of their bodies touching anything else. Babies harrumph against one’s mother very easily when you plant music in your vegetable garden bulb. Consumption of seeds was why rabbits were hunted down and exterminated by our ancestors during their thirteenth-century agricultural transition. Yet, through the subsequent centuries, they prospered in numbers. When once considered a nuisance today, they are among the most populous creatures on Earth.
Groundhogs are also very destructive rodents who peck and demolish everything in their path. Luckily one can employ defense against them successfully by securing a burrow around seeds from early October to December when most of these prey seems well established in the area. For then, it’s just about another four months before they come out again, but mostly alone until spring.
Chickens can eat the seeds and flesh of a whole pumpkin by making holes in it with their beaks. If you have leftover pumpkins from the fall, you can also feed your chickens pumpkin pieces.
Mice & Voles
Mice and voles often destroy surrounding vegetation to find food, including pumpkins. These animals eat the seeds of all four-seeded fruits (although not highly preferred) and other vegetable matter such as corn cobs and pumpkin leaves.