Why You Can’t Keep That Baby Raccoon as a Pet
Even if it is the most adorable little masked orphan you’ve ever seen, you cannot keep that baby raccoon as a pet unless you have a permit, in most states. And you can’t get a permit unless you acquired the animal lawfully from a licensed breeder. Yes, you can just sneak the little darling out of the forest and into the house and hope nobody ever notices, but it could carry diseases. Diseases that can be transmitted to the humans in the house, as well as the domestic pets. Not only that, you will be liable if it scratches or bites someone. And if that someone blabs to the authorities, the animal will have to be killed. Yes, killed. Live raccoons can’t be tested for rabies. (This must be done even if you can prove you have had the animal vaccinated for rabies.)
Sorry, Little Orphan Randy Raccoon, the best we can do for you is call a licensed rehabilitator who will teach you to survive in the wild. (In Indiana, one choice is acritterschance.com.)
Things to Remember Before You Get a Pet Raccoon
If you do decide to get a pet raccoon from a licensed breeder, remember it will not always be little and darling. It will require a great deal of time and attention. You will have to entertain it. You will have to provide it a room of its own. You will have to let it make soupy messes by putting its food into its water dish. You will have to realize that what is adorable in this little orphan, such as climbing your leg, won’t be so cute when it weighs fifty pounds. You will have to accept the fact it may become vicious when threatened, which grows more likely as the animal ages.
Training Your Pet Raccoon to Be Semi-Civilized
Early on, get your raccoon used to being held. Let it swim in the bathtub. Use shampoo only twice a year to avoid destroying natural oils. If it bites, you can never hit it, threaten it, or frighten it, because it will retaliate. It will think of you as the enemy on attack and respond accordingly. Instead you must calmly say no and stick a teddy bear in its mouth. Yes, that’s right, you will need a a big supply of stuffed toys for the Masked Darling to chew on, instead of you, your toes, and your decorator pillows. Remember, there is no such thing as raccoon remorse. Unlike a dog who feels guilty when you are displeased, a raccoon has more of a “catch-me-if-you-can” attitude.
Why Your Pet Raccoon Needs Its Own Room
Because otherwise, he’ll destroy your room. And he may do so anyway. Also, because adult raccoons need solitude. Like Garbo, they vant to be alone, at least some of the time. Raccoons are nesters and will tear mattresses and couches into shreds to make things comfy. Provide Rocky his own room, supplied with mattresses, bedding, toys, and treats, but don’t expect him to pay rent.
Why You Can’t Keep Your Pet Raccoon In a Cage
Big no-no. If you want a pet, get a pet. If you want a miserable wild animal locked in a cage, think again. It’s really not fair. If you find you cannot handle your pet raccoon, call a rehabilitator who will teach it to survive in the wild. Did you know you’re basically dealing with a little bear? Yes, bears and raccoons have so many similarities, they were once thought to be related.
Remember, if you can find a vet willing to treat Rocky or Raquel Raccoon and spay or neuter them, they will be easier to domesticate, but can never be rehabilitated to return to the wild.
Part 2: How to Potty Train Your Pet Raccoon
Part 3: How to Send Your Pet Raccoon to Camp
Raccoons as pets
What to expect from a pet raccoon
How to care for a pet raccoon
A Critter’s Chance