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7 Notorious Animals That Eat Trash

You may not think that dumpsters and trash cans are the most appetizing places, but there are several different animals that eat trash who would disagree with you. While trash is not supposed to be a part of an animal’s diet, many creatures have become accustomed to eating junk and scrapes left behind by humans.

Keeping reading to learn more about the animals that eat trash.

7 Animals That Eat Trash

While trash may not sound appealing to you, it can act as a food source for various animals. Unfortunately, there are downsides to animals consuming trash and it can even pose a serious risk to the health of the animal. Let’s take a look at the animals that eat trash and what potential problems could arise for both you and the wildlife.

1. Raccoons

Raccoon | Image by Alexa from Pixabay

Scientific NameProcyon lotor

Raccoons may be one of the most famous trash eating animals out there. They are infamous for not only consuming trash, but for also having the ability to open up trash cans and dumpster lids. In fact, these masked creatures can quickly become a nuisance when they decide to target your home as their food source.

Raccoons are also known for ripping trash bags opening a making a heck of a mess that you have to clean up. To make matters worse, raccoons carry various diseases that pose a risk to humans and pets, such as rabies and roundworms.

2. Opossums

Opossum on tree branch
Opossum on tree branch | image by ramendan via Flickr | CC BY-ND 2.0

Scientific Name: Didelphidae

Opossums are another trash-loving animal that will quickly turn your garbage into their next meal. Like the other animals on our list, opossums are opportunists and will scavenge for food.

They usually consume insects, frogs, worms, and berries. But sometimes they find food in garbage cans in residential neighborhoods.

Unlike raccoons, however, opossums rarely get rabies. But that doesn’t mean you should entice them into your yard.

3. Rats

Black Rat eats food on a wooden floor
Black Rat eats food on a wooden floor

Scientific Name: Rattus

Rats are not a welcome sight in homes or businesses, and for good reason. Rats carry a wide array of diseases that can be passed onto you and your pets. Not to mention they can damage your home by chewing through wood and wires.

Unfortunately, rats are attracted to trash and will quickly move in if there is enough food source. And once they have made your home theirs, trying to get rid of them can be extremely difficult.

4. Coyotes

Coyote lying in the grass
Coyote lying in the grass

Scientific Name: Canis latrans

Residential neighbors provide a slew of food sources for coyotes. Small animals, pet food, bird feeders, and trash are all things coyotes will eat if given the chance.

Coyotes may look like just another dog, but these creatures can be pretty vicious. In fact, it is not uncommon for coyotes to snatch a small dog or cat right out of their yard. That is why it is important to take the necessary steps to prevent coyotes from gaining access to your trash.

5. Black Bears

Black Bear
Image by Brigitte Werner from Pixabay

Scientific Name: Ursus americanus

There is a reason why most camp sites will have a sign stating not to feed bears and even warn you against keeping trash out. This is because once a bear knows you throw out food, they will keep coming back whenever they are hungry.

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This can cause potentially deadly consequences for you if the bear ever feels threatened. Additionally, bears do not need trash in order to survive, so the bears won’t starve if you ensure your trash is properly put up and secured.

6. Seagulls

Seagull perched on a gutter
Seagull perched on a gutter | Image by Dx21 from Pixabay

Scientific Name: Larinae

Even though trash wasn’t their main source of food, it is slowly becoming a major part of the seagulls’ diet. The bad thing about that is it causes the bird to stray farther away from its native habitat.

Additionally, as the seagull is rummaging through the trash, they can begin to consume plastic, which is extremely dangerous for the bird. While their digestive systems can break down plastic into smaller pieces that they then expel, the toxic substance left behind stays in their intestine.

7. Monkeys

Monkey by PublicDomainPictures from Pixabay

Scientific Name: Cercopithecidae

Trash shouldn’t be a main part of a monkey’s diet, but with the habitat of monkeys and humans intertwining more and more, these creatures are getting used to consuming the scraps and junk we leave behind. Not only does this pose a risk to humans, as monkeys can be aggressive and dangerous at times, but it also poses a hazard to the monkeys.

Trash isn’t a natural part of the monkey’s diet and consuming these scraps and junk can lead to nutrient deficiencies and reduce the overall health of the animal.