Food preferences of captive wild raccoons, Procyon lotor, from east Texas
We offered a random assortment of six foods to nine captive raccoons (Procyon lotor) during 10 days in February 1991 and to 10 raccoons during 9 days in January 1992; persimmon (Diospyros virginianus); southern red oak acorn (Quercus falacata); chicken egg; crayfish (Cambarus bartoni); corn (Zea mays); and earthworm (Lumbricus terrestris). Foods were given preference ranks 1-6 corresponsing to feeding sequence; we assumed that the item eaten first was most preferred. We calculated the mean of each raccoon's preference ranks for each food item over the days of the trial period. Persimmon was the most highly favored food both years, followed by acorn. Earthworm was the least preferred of the six foods. Testing the mean rank totals for each good separately showed that the 1992 group favored egg significantly more than the 1991 group. Males showed a preference for corn more frequently than females did. The results of this study are discussed with implications for enhancing habitat and reducing crop damage.