How long does it take for raccoon to decompose?

August 26, 2023
min read

Short answer

The decomposition time of a raccoon can vary depending on environmental conditions, but it generally takes about 1 to 3 weeks for a raccoon to decompose completely.


The decomposition process of a raccoon involves several stages, each with its own distinct characteristics. The first stage is known as the fresh stage, which begins immediately after the raccoon's death. During this stage, the body still retains some warmth, and rigor mortis sets in, causing the muscles to become stiff. As time passes, the temperature of the body gradually decreases, and the skin may start to discolor.

The second stage of decomposition is the bloated stage, which typically occurs a couple of days after death. During this stage, the body begins to bloat due to the accumulation of gases produced by bacteria and other microorganisms. Bloating can lead to the distension of the abdomen and the limbs, giving the raccoon a puffed-up appearance. The gases released during this stage also result in strong odors emanating from the carcass.

The final stage of decomposition is the advanced decay stage. At this point, the raccoon's body has significantly decomposed, and the skin may appear discolored and tattered. Maggots and other insects are attracted to the decomposing flesh, aiding in its breakdown. The body may also exhibit signs of skeletonization, with bones becoming visible. Over time, the raccoon's remains are gradually converted into organic matter, providing nutrients to the surrounding environment.

Is it possible to recycle raccoon?

Intresting facts

  • Raccoon decomposition typically follows five stages: fresh, bloat, active decay, advanced decay, and dry remains.
  • During the fresh stage of decomposition, the body of the raccoon appears intact, and it often exhibits a strong smell of decay.
  • In the bloat stage, bacteria start producing gas, causing the raccoon's body to expand and become bloated in appearance.
  • Active decay is characterized by intense decomposition, where the body starts to break down, and fluids and tissue become liquefied.
  • In the advanced decay stage, most of the raccoon's flesh is reduced to bones, hair, and some connective tissue. The smell starts to decrease during this stage.

Summary and final thoughts

The decomposition time of a raccoon can vary depending on the environmental conditions. In general, decomposition processes can be categorized into several stages: fresh, bloat, decay, and dry. During the fresh stage, the raccoon's body begins to show signs of decomposition, such as discoloration and a strong odor. The bloat stage is characterized by the build-up of gases, resulting in bloating and the potential for the skin to rupture. In the decay stage, the body's tissues start to break down, and bones become visible. Finally, during the dry stage, all that remains are the dried skeletal remains. While it is challenging to provide an exact timeframe for raccoon decomposition, it typically takes several weeks to several months for a raccoon's body to completely decompose, depending on factors such as temperature, humidity, and the presence of scavengers or insects.

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