Do Raccoons Eat Pine Cones? (Explained)

Do raccoons eat pine cones? Raccoons are more interested in the seeds inside the young pine cones than the outer scaly layer but in order to access the nuts inside, raccoons prefer to tear open the pine cones instead of biting them because the scales are pretty much inedible.

Raccoons are known for their love of nuts, berries, and other fruits. They also enjoy a variety of vegetables, such as corn, peas, potatoes, carrots, and tomatoes. But did you know they also snack on pine cones?

Do raccoons eat all types of pine cones?

It’s worth noting that raccoons cannot make any distinction between pine species.

There are no specific species of pine cone that raccoons prefer. You will find that raccoons can eat all types of pine cones.

If they are climbing coniferous trees in the forests, you will find that they can even climb to the upper reaches of the Coulter pines, pinyon pines, and Monterey pines to reach the pine cones.

Do raccoons like to eat pine cones?

When it comes to pine cones, raccoons often try to pry these open to access the seeds inside.

Raccoons are opportunistic omnivores, which means they can survive on plant-based and animal-based food.

The raccoons living in urban areas are excellent scavengers. Hence, they look for food everywhere, and raccoons will consume anything edible.

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Are pine cones harmful to raccoons?

There is no record of pine cones harming raccoons or the animal becoming ill after chewing on a pine cone.

If you are thinking of your Christmas decorations and want to reuse them as suitable toys or food for your pet raccoons, then you can easily do it.

Can raccoons chew on a pine cone?

A raccoon may chew on the pine cone scales from time to time but after it gets a taste of how bitter it is, the raccoon will discard the brown scales.

Raccoons have sharp canines with a formidable bite force. However, when it comes to pine cones, the scales can resist even the raccoon’s sharp teeth.

As a result, you will find that raccoons avoid biting the pine cones and prefer to tear these open to access the nuts inside.

Therefore, the scales are discarded as these are inedible.

Are raccoons bred in captivity given pine cones as a part of their diet?

Pine cones do not fall under the everyday food consumed by raccoons.

Hence, when raccoons are bred in captivity, especially the ones you will see in zoos are not given pine cones.

Instead, they are kept on a healthy diet of slugs, worms, fruits, berries, eggs, and fish. This helps them to stay active and healthy.

If pine cones are not part of a raccoon’s diet, why do they climb the coniferous trees to reach them?

Raccoons are pretty curious animals, and they are always on the lookout for food, not forgetting that they are excellent climbers.

Hence, raccoons sometimes climb trees in search of pine cones. Once they get ripe cones, they can remove the scales and break them open.

Raccoons do this to access seeds inside the pine cones because they are not as interested in the scaly layer.

However, if you would like to feed your pet raccoon green pine cones, you should boil the green cones in water until they are softened before giving them to consume in bite-sized pieces occasionally.

Can pine cones be used as bait to attract raccoons?

If you have a raccoon infestation and want to capture some animals to release in the wild, you will need suitable bait.

However, pine cones are not the best bait to attract raccoons.

In the suburban areas and the cities, raccoons are usually underfed and drawn toward anything they find edible.

At the same time, they are more alert and will become aware that it is a trap. Therefore, to attract raccoons, you should use animal-based food as bait, not pine cones.

Should you give your pet raccoons pine nuts?

Given the fact that in the wild, raccoons are known to eat pine seeds occasionally, many times, pet owners feel that they can give pine nuts to their pet raccoons.

However, opinion about giving nuts to raccoons is divided. Therefore, you should avoid giving nuts to raccoons.

If you still want to give pine nuts to raccoons, you must ensure that these are completely organic and free of chemicals.

This will ensure that your pet does not suffer any adverse effects from consuming the nuts.

Are raccoons considered pests by pine nut farmers?

Regarding raccoons, the opinion is divided among pine nut farmers.

Raccoons usually do not climb trees to reach the pine cones when they have an abundance of fruits, nuts, and other delicacies on the ground level to feed on.

But as they are excellent climbers, they can do it quickly. Raccoons usually climb pine trees in search of pine cones when there is a lack of suitable food.

In such a scenario, the critters can be dangerous pests for pine nut farmers.

If there are repeated attacks of raccoons on the pine trees on their farms, farmers are known to take precautions to keep the raccoons from reaching the pine cones.

Are there any precautions you need to take if you give a Christmas pine cone to your pet raccoon?

Pine cones will be the best if you plan to convert your Christmas decorations into suitable toys for your pet raccoon.

Nevertheless, before you give it to your pet, clean it thoroughly so that any remnants of decoration and chemicals are removed.

Here is what you need to do:

  • Mix one teaspoon of baking soda with two cups of water for two minutes.
  • Place the pine cone into the mixed solution and spin for 30 seconds (you want to do this fast to rid the cone of any chemicals because the scales shut tight when it gets wet).
  • Keep the pine cone submerged in the mixed solution for 3 mins
  • Rinse the brown cone in tap water
  • Next, you should place the cone in a ventilated area to dry it off

This is necessary to strip the cone of essential oils or harmful chemicals.

The pine cone itself will not harm your pet raccoon, but if there are other chemicals on the cone-like paint and inadvertently, your pet raccoon licks it, this can become dangerous.

In addition, many smaller pets have been known to go into toxic shocks because of the chemicals in Christmas decorations such as pine cones.

Do raccoons eat pine needles?

Raccoons are opportunistic omnivores, but that does not mean they will eat anything.

Pine needles can be pretty sharp and can hurt the inside of the mouth of the raccoon.

Hence, you will find that the creature naturally avoids chewing on the pine needles. It is also a good idea not to use dried pine needles as bedding for the cage or the hutch where your pet raccoon sleeps at night.

Are there any animals that eat pine cones?

But certain animals and birds can reduce a pine cone to shreds. For example, these birds can tear through the sharp scales of a pine cone with their beaks and claws. So, the entire cone is edible.

Here is a list of the animals that like eating pine cones.

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