Ring-tailed Raccoon, RacoonFamily: ProcyonidaeRaccoon "Rufus"Procyon lotor
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
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!
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.
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!"|
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.
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.
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.