Ring-tailed Raccoon, Racoon

Family: Procyonidae Raccoon Picture: quot;Rufus"Raccoon "Rufus"Procyon lotor
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I do not encourage having a pet Racoon, I have seen many Racoons SUFFER in cages! (And have let many back yard caged Racoons lose to their road to freedom) These... (more)  Allison

   Here is a raccoon up past his bedtime! This younster couldn't keep still, climbed all over everybody and was constantly "checking things out"!

   Racoons are a pet that requires a lot of attention (to keep them out of trouble?), but if given the right environment are lots of fun to keep. They are extremely smart, active, and curious animals. Please read some of the reader comments to get an idea of what problems can be encountered before considering taking on a raccoon as a pet!

   Since wild raccoons have adapted to suburban and urban environments, they are considered a pest by many people. Most states have regulations concerning ownership of racoons so check to make sure you meet all the requirements before you seek one out.

For information about Small Animals and their care visit:
Guide to a Happy, Healthy Small Animal

Geographic Distribution
Procyon lotor
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Data provided by GBIF.org
  • Kingdom: Animalia
  • Phylum: Chordata
  • Class: Mammalia
  • Order: Carnivora
  • Family: Procyonidae
  • Genus: Procyon
  • Species: lotor
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Scientific name:

Procyon lotor
Common North American Raccoon


   Raccoons range throughout the United States, actually they range from southern Canada to the Panama. They are fond of areas near water in piney forests and broadleaf woodlands.


   The raccoon is a medium sized mammal about the size of a small to medium sized dog. They will grow to about 30 inches long including a bushy 10 inch long tail, and will reach 25-45 lbs. as adults. They have a long pointy snout, large eyes and ears, five digits on each foot and a ringed tail.
   The name 'Ring-tailed Raccoon' describes them by one of their very distinctive markings, a ringed tail. They are also recognized by their familiar black ‘mask’, giving this wily animal an almost comical look. Their course fur is a mixture of gray, brown, and black.


   In the wild, the the raccoon will have a den built in a hollow tree. Usually an outdoor area at least 4'x4' with a source of running water is needed. If kept in the house they are readily box trained and are similar to keeping a cat or dog except you will probably have to put childproof latches on your cupboards and drawers!

Care and feeding:

   Provide lots of water (if not running water) every day as they have a curious habit of washing their food before they eat it. Raccoons are omnivorous. In nature they eat various small animals, fish, frogs. molluscs, and fruits.
   In captivity, most people feed them a ferret diet, cat food, and table scraps (they will eat just about anything). See about foods for ferrets here. Besides offering them their natural diet they will also eat vegetables, crayfish, crabs, insects, and they love eggs.

Social Behaviors:

   In their natural habitat they do not exhibit aggressive behavior, but males will defend territories. They are generally solitary animals except during breeding season. We have found no information on keeping several raccoons together so we assume that unless you are keeping a family, it is probably best to keep individuals separate in captivity.

Dr. Jungle says...."these guys are packed full of energy!"
Raccoon Pictures of "Rufus" and "Dufus"
Photo @ Animal-World
Courtesy David Brough

"Rufus" and "Dufus"

   These two young racoons, Rufus and Dufus, are both males and are 5 months old in these photos. They are about 15 lbs. now but will reach 25-45 lbs. as adults.

   As babies they were bottle fed with a puppy feeding formula - Esbilac, and powdered goats' milk. Weaning began at 8 weeks and took 2 weeks to complete. Science diet cat food blended to a pudding-like consistency was also used.


Handling and Training:

   The cunning Raccoon is easily tamed, and makes a pleasant 'monkey-like' pet. It should be noted however, that though young raccoons make entertaining pets, many become surly, rough and even vicious as they approach sexual maturity.

Activities - Exercise and Play:

   Raccoons are nocturnal, but are sometimes active during the day. They are a mammal that is known for their inquisitiveness. Besides being very curious and active, they are expert climbers. They will thoroughly enjoy some excercise time where they can explore in areas that are both high and low.

   Make sure that your raccoon's designated play areas are properly "raccoon-proofed", not only to prevent damage to the area but to reduce the chances of him injuring himself during play.


   Raccoons' breeding season is from late winter through early spring. Females give birth from April to June and have an average litter of three or four babies. The pups remain in their birth den until they are about seven weeks old, at which point the mother moves them to a series of alternate dens.
   In some parts of the country, young raccoons spend their first winter with their mothers, but it is just as common for them to leave the mother in the late fall of their first year.


   As with all animals, raccoons can become ill or hurt. You can do your best to avoid this by taking good care of your pet. Make sure he gets proper nutrition, grooming, and exercise. This will keep your raccoon in the best of conditions and reduce the chances of him getting sick.
I   f your raccoon endures serious injuries such as back injuries, severe bleeding, broken bones, or poisoning, it should be taken to a veterinarian.


   Most states have regulations concerning ownership of raccoons so check to make sure you meet all the requirements before you seek one out, your pet store can help you with this.
   Be sure to check your state and local restrictions before acquiring a raccoon.

Author: David Brough. CFS.
Lastest Animal Stories on Pet Racoon

Allison - 2007-06-17
I do not encourage having a pet Racoon, I have seen many Racoons SUFFER in cages! (And have let many back yard caged Racoons lose to their road to freedom) These are wild animals and 99% of the people who get them wish they never have. Wild animals belong in the wild. To anyone thinking of getting a baby Racoon..think again and get a Bunny. Leave the Racoons that are injured or orphaned to the licenced wildlife Rehabilitators. It is cruel and inhumane keeping a Racoon in a cage Period!

  • katie nightstocker - 2016-10-16
    I would have to agree if I was in a cage I would not like it eat her
    I have a house I live in and never in a cage I do get into things at times mainly
    cause I want attention I don't climb on stuff or get in to much long as I got food water and a clean
    litter box I'm a good girl
  • Sabrina - 2016-11-04
    Dude, if you ever came on my property and attempted to let any of my pets loose, you would be shot and charged with trespassing. How does it feel to know that those raccoons you realeased to their "road to freedom" you actually let loose to their road to DEATH. Wild raccoons live 2-5 years, in captivity they live 15-20. And they can live VERY HAPPY lives in captivity with attention, food, toys, and safety. People like you are what's wrong with the world. You think you're doing something good and have no clue you are actually hurting the animal you think you are "helping". Educate yourself before you unwillingly kill another animal. My raccoon is a very happy animal and when given the opportunity to leave, he doesn't! Imagine that.
Jeana - 2016-10-30
I have 2 racoons,brother and sister,prob 8 months old,if they have been raised by me,would they make it in the wild?if you can pm on my fb jeanaramey,with answers

Safari Raighn - 2016-08-08
I have found my first baby raccoon .his name is Koon Baby YhaYha. I feed him every three hours .he has his eyes open and he is the most amazing baby I have or ever can have. He goes every where I go .i carry him in my mommie pouch purse.I take a warm shower I bring him along he loves the water...this baby isn't just a raccoon he is my own baby..I am in love with my baby boy..I love the way he wraps his little hand around my finger when I feed him...he has a very loud purr sound that he does when he's happy ..I have enjoyed being his mommie .I know the time isn't to far away that I will have to release him back into the wild so I made him. A promise that I will love and cherish him and spend as much time with him as possiable.and I have kept my promise to him ... I know he will be a little prowler and I know he will be into every thing he can open so I have already raccoon proof my home. I have made him his own little flower bed with a fish bowl trees sand rocks the works so he will do what the raccoon's do in the wild . In a couple weeks he will begin his rabie shots...I am excited about him being a coon mommie .I read some where that the cage or i should say the raccoon prison to keep the raccoon safe well i don't own a cage.nor will my son ever be in a cage I don't have the right to put him in a cage and take his freedom by doing so .if people are worried about saftey for them self then they don't need to have them.I told yall earlier I coon proof my home and my home is my son's home he sleeps with me he bites me and older he gets the harder the bite will be so I am getting the fire proof gloves that nothing can penatrate including his teeth..I am so blessed and I'm so thankful for my baby boy..I hope if any body takes the time and reads this I hope u spoil ur baby and prepaid ur house and don't put ur baby in a cage please..

  • katie nightstocker - 2016-10-16

    I got full roam of the house I don't get in too much only time I ever get anything my when my keeper is home I will sit down and snuggle and give kisses
    PI don't climb on the cupboards I really didn't do anything that I'm not suppose to I get up set when I'm eating and u mess with me I don't growl or bite cause if I do it gets takin from me I I do so at n
    most I'll just go some where else to eat or just keep eating and not get upset
Gillian Waters - 2016-09-09
My husband and I live in the Uk and have 2 pet raccoons who are 2/1/2 years old. They are very tame, get into mischief a lot but are very lazy too. They live in an enclosure indoors but also run around the house and garden on a daily basis as long as we are with them. They are very fussy eaters and wont try anything new, They like to stick to a regimented diet of chicken, nuts, advocado, eggs and frozen veg, they wont eat fruit or greens. They have a large outdoor enclosure but they are not that keen in being in it although they have lots of climbing experience, pool and toys in there. We love them so much, they have enhanced our life.

Danna - 2012-09-09
If anyone needs a home for a raccoon i would love to offer a home. We have raised them before. We live on 3 acres in eastern nc on the water. I have rehabbed deer, squirrel and raccoons. Email dczesak@gmail.com or text 9102645900

  • ABW - 2012-09-18
    I have a friend with a young female raccoon that she saved. It's beautiful and has been given the utmost of respect in quality care. If interested, please email me and I will pass along your info to her.
  • michelle - 2015-11-04
    6m old female, sweet and playful. Needs home help
  • Sara Melsha - 2016-06-01
    Hi I have recently rescued 4 baby coins after our friend shot their mother not know she had babies. They raise fox but I am interested in talking to you about domestacating them and was wondering if I could ask you some questions. There is one that is super nice last night it slept in my NECK for hours even though its a male and not the runt or the female it's super nice and would like to keep it as a pet and my boyfriend wants to at least keep the female. One also hurt his foot and walked on it wrong but it now looks better. Just wanting to talk get some advice and tips and tricks. Thank you email me if you are willing to talk.
  • Sandy - 2016-07-30
    Wish you lived closer. A baby coon approximatly 6 to 7 weeks old showed up and approached us. Climbed right up my husbands leg. We watched to see if we seen other coons around throughout the day. The little guy did not want to leave us. Tonight he is in my garage to keep him safe. I fed him kmr kitten replacement formula. Hoping to sit outside tomorrow to watvh him run around a bit and try to decide what we should do. He is a sweet little guy.
penny strong - 2012-07-03
I have a baby raccoon that was found alone under a car 6 weeks ago. She is about 7 weeks old..She lives in our house but with many dogs that think she is like a squeek toy.. I do not have a safe place to release her and we do love her sooo much.. She is however very lonely as my time is divided in so many ways.. Does anyone have a great place were she can be homed forever or a soft release.. We need help soon... Thanks Penny

  • Anonymous - 2012-07-03
    Also about this baby (Scarlett) She lives only in our home and is so sweet. My worry about setting her back to the wild is that she does not know she is a raccoon. She does still drink from her bottle but only because she loves it. She also eats most anything we offer... I am willing to travel to get her to a home were someone understands and loves her. It is agaist the law her to own one so I worry about this as much as my careful eye with our dogs who on the most part are good with her. I just dont trust them 100%.. Please please can any one home her. My phone is 802-888-2662 Penny
  • Garcia Alina - 2013-03-16
    if you wher located in tampa i could take her i hope you find an apropriate place
  • renee - 2015-06-03
    Where do you live my number is 706-507-9696 call me will see if I can help
  • Nathan patterson - 2016-05-24
    My name is nathan and I've been looking to give a raccoon a home for months now I do know what I'm getting into I've done my research and I'd love to give your raccoon a home please call me asap 8645461381
Baily Gregory - 2015-04-21
I'm looking for a baby raccoon in the east tx area! I grew up with raccoons in the house and I would love to have my own.

Richard Rodgers - 2013-08-01
I have a three year old male, I have had him since he was a baby. I would like to find him a happier home, he lives in the house and is very lovable. If you are interested text me at 440-328-9699 or call if you would like to.

  • felicia b - 2013-09-18
    You have a male ring tail cat for sale?
  • lolo - 2013-10-12
    He/she is lovely ...... ps I want one.