Raccoon

Ring-tailed Raccoon, Racoon

Family: Procyonidae Raccoon Picture: quot;Rufus"Raccoon "Rufus"Procyon lotor
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My baby raccoon is sick! He is 6-7 weeks old and stopped eating the other day after throwing up. He got better yesterday and ate like normal. However, today he is... (more)  Annalia

   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

Background:


   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.

Description:

   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.

Environment:

   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.

Breeding/Reproduction:

   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.

Ailments/Treatments:


   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.

Availability:

   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


Annalia - 2016-06-14
My baby raccoon is sick! He is 6-7 weeks old and stopped eating the other day after throwing up. He got better yesterday and ate like normal. However, today he is sick again... He is not eating and throwing up again as well as being weak and a bit skinny from being sick the other day. I am giving him pedialyte (or however you spell it) and have started him on Panacur in case it is the parasite like a vet told me it could be. He hasn't thrown it up and maybe this will help him, but I would love it if anyone has advice or has been through this before. Also, he does not have any symptoms besides the lack of appetite, sleeping more, throwing up, and faster than normal breathing. I believe he has a fever but am not certain. He does not have diarrhea by the way. Thank you.

Reply
Belinda - 2007-06-29
I have had Raccoons as "pets". I use the word pet loosely, because there were more like members of the family. I agree that 99% of people who want a pet raccoon will probably not be able to properly take care of them. They are so very precious when they are babies, but like everything else, they grow up. I kept my coonies inside and they had full run of the house. They were never caged and were allowed to go in and out at will. They chose to stay inside most of the time and I have never had one that went out and did not come back. They used a litter box that was filled with water instead of litter. I simply dumped out the dirty water once or twice a day and as long as the water was kept relatively clean, they never used the potty anywhere else except the box. They are extremely curious and those little "hands" are constantly feeling of everything around them. I get the biggest kick in the world out of them and would take in another in a NY second, but I know what to expect and know that I can handle it. They are as destructive and mischieveious as they are cute. They can get into anything, anywhere. I had childproof locks on EVERY SINGLE CABINET IN MY HOUSE! They can open medicine bottles, the refrigerator (nothing like coming downstairs in the middle of the night to see what the noise is only to find a raccoon sitting in the fridge, eating what looked good and tossing the rest onto the kitchen floor), they will unplug your clocks, tv's ect., break your trinkets and whatnots, hide your keys, chew the buttons off your cell phone, and yes...they DO and WILL BITE. They have very sharp claws and teeth and can inflict damage even when not meaning to. They (at least mine did) become very territorial towards their house and their family. You must put them behind closed doors before letting company inside. Mine would not tolerate the presence of anyone that did not live in the house. If a thief had ever broken into the house, he/she would have been easy to find later. If they managed to get out of the house, you could just check the local ER for a shredded person! So...if you are super patient, don't mind replacing material possessions, can take pain from bites and scratches, have adequate space, never go on vacation, have excellent homeowners insurance, rarely have company and if you have the proper paperwork/licenses to keep one, go ahead. But please please! Be sure you can take care of it FOREVER or provide for it in case you are unable to.

  • Gunner\'s Mom - 2013-05-07
    You nailed it. I have had mine for two years. We bought him from a breeder, as a baby. He is fixed & vaccinated. He is my son. You are absolutely correct. I talk a lot of people out of the idea because it takes a rare, certain person to be a Forever Mom. If an owner were to decide they don't want the pet anymore, chances are this beautiful animal would wind up being put down at some point, as they don't like serious change. Therefore, one must make a life long commitment to this pet. I am fortunate Gunner has myself & his daddy, otherwise, there would be no vacation for me. Only one of us goes at a time..the other remains home with him. As far as his minor mood swings (like any person has), he has learned my stern voice, 'don't you bite me.' I do want to point out that tbe column above is incorrect, which I am sure you noticed too... For those unaware, DO NOT FEED RACCOONS CAT FOOD OR TABLE SCRAPS!!!!! A good quality DOG food & HEALTHY people food (as snacks). Nothing pertaining to tomatoes, onions, garlic, CHOCOLATE....cat food will eventually harm & kill internal organs, chocolate can kill immediately, & the other at the least will cause major tummy trouble. I feed mine Iams weight control dog food, celery, frozen green beans (awesome snack!), & fresh spinach leaves. Respect your baby, & he/she will show you respect & love in return :-)
  • David Darkstone - 2016-06-03
    You people are the worst kind of people, you think you are doing a good thing by discouraging people from having pet raccoons but yet you say you are special that's why you can have one, that's a load of b.s .its people like you that cause the laws to be so harsh towards raccoons and raccoon ownership, you people should encourage others so the more people have them and see how possible it is to have one the laws can start to change but instead you choose your ego and tell everyone how horrible they are yet you are special you can have one not because they are good but because you are special and have animal bonding abilities, you people are sick. If you really cared and loved these animals you would care about their kind and spread a positive message about them instead of feeding your egotistical needs.
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SunChaserWildlife - 2010-01-17
The debate on whether to have a pet raccoon has been surpassed by the need of your voice for all urban wildlife. State Wildlife agencies are responsible for the welfare of ALL wildlife, not just the animals selling hunting tags. Wildlife is owned by the citizens and is to be managed by the state agency under the terms of a Public Trust Doctrine.

Yet, over-stated risks and lack of proper education and reporting is leading our society to malign intelligent, beneficial urban animals such as skunks, raccoons, foxes...There is NO perspective anymore! Always use caution with wild animals, but do not act in fear. Research the animals that live in your backyards and learn the truths.

And please, speak up for these animals and defend their rights to not be banned from rescue and rehab. States like NC order all these animals be killed, denying qualified rehabilitators (citizens who own the wildlife equally) the right to rescue & rehab them. Such state killing programs are becoming the "norm" because the public does not speak up against this.

Rabies testing is a billion dollar business - millions of healthy animals are killed and their heads sent to labs for testing. Oral rabies vaccine baits can eradicate this disease - but people have to care enough to demand it be done by their local and state gov't.

Raccoons intelligence has been proven second only to higher monkeys. Raccoons kill venomous snakes, and as with skunks are the best mousers you can find!

  • David Darkstone - 2016-06-03
    Part of the problem is people who have pet raccoons telling people that they don't make good pets, what is that all about? Is it egotistical nonsense where these people want to feel like they are unique and have special animal bonding abilities? Those people need to stop saying things like that because the public gets an idea in their head and that's it. These animals are intelligent creatures and make great pets and the whole thing about destroying things and getting into things is the case with any animal such as dogs or cats just look at all the Youtube videos about them tearing up things so why demonize these little guys its just wrong but these are the people that can tell others and instead choose their egoes over the animals reputation and until the raccoon owners stop saying they don't make good pets this injustice will not stop.
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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.
Reply
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.
Reply
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
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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.

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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.
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