Raccoon

Ring-tailed Raccoon, Racoon

Family: Procyonidae Raccoon Picture: quot;Rufus"Raccoon "Rufus"Procyon lotor
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I raised a baby raccoon in July of 2011 that my parents had found in their back yard. I`m guessing he was about 4 weeks old at the time and I had no intention of... (more)  Anonymous

   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


Anonymous - 2015-01-20
I raised a baby raccoon in July of 2011 that my parents had found in their back yard. I`m guessing he was about 4 weeks old at the time and I had no intention of keeping him. I found a woman who runs a habitat for racoons and 2 days later on my way over to her place to drop off the little guy I realized I had fallen in love. The woman at the habitat could see me tearing up when I handed him to her and asked me if I would like to try and raise him myself. I quickly said 'YES'. She gave a pet crate and told me how to raise him and if there were any problems I could always call her. We named him Ricky and he quickly became a member of the family. Ricky would sleep with me at night in bed and became very attached to everyone in the family especially our dogs. Ricky had the run of the house spending many evenings with the family on the couch watching TV. When Ricky was about 14 months old the family went on a cruise for a week and while we were gone the woman at the habitat baby sat for us. When we brought Ricky home after 8 days he was a different raccoon. Something in him had changed and he was not our sweet little boy anymore. He had become aggressive and did not like our dogs anymore. After a couple of weeks we had no choice but to turn him over to the habitat. It broke my heart. I read somewhere that mother raccoons abandon their kits when they reach maturity and maybe Ricky thought he had been abandoned. About 2 weeks later the woman from the habitat called and said that Ricky was ready for release and would we like to come and see him. When the family walked in the room Rick was in his cage and ran to the door. When I opened the door he jumped in my arms and started licking me. He climbed on my shoulders and began licking my ears. After a sad goodby we left and Ricky was released the next morning. He was greatly missed and there felt like a family member was gone. But in May of 2014 we were blessed with 2 new arrivals, Max and Oscar, 2 little brothers even younger than Ricky was when we found him. The new boys were probably about 3 weeks old, eyes had just opened and they had no teeth. Their mother had been shot by a neighbor and they were found in their attic 2 days later. Oscar and Max were bottle fed for about a month then finally on hard food. They quickly became members of the family even with the dogs and for more than 8 months now they are still with us. The family could not love them more but we now that someday soon they will join Ricky at the habitat to become the wild raccoons that God intended them to be. So here is to the next generation of orophined raccoons that need a helping hand.

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Kimberly Creighbaum - 2014-01-09
I have a pet raccoon named baby. She was stranded by her momma last year. We waited two days for her mom to come back but she never did. So I called several rehabbers and no one wanted to take a raccoon. One person even told me to have a vet put her down. No way to that! I love animals.  Baby is a joy to have. Very affectionate and playful. She just has a look of pure joy on her face when she plays. We have a chihuahua and they are best buddies. I never thought a raccoon could be such a joy but Baby is really fun. They do keep you on your toes, you have to watch them all the time because they are faster then a two year old and love getting into things. Always exploring everything they can get into. Wouldn't trade her for the world though :) 

  • Linda - 2014-07-29
    I found a baby raccoon about 4 weeks old that I'm caring for. Can you tell me what did you for de-worming or any input you can share. Thanks Linda
  • Linda stokes - 2014-12-02
    Great story, I love to hear about people like you who love animals like I do. I have a mama racoon who came to me and I started feeding her, in a month or so she came to me with two babies ,so darling.now they almost a year old. I have to hide the food dish because where I live you can't feed wild animals. Thank goodness it is at night. The little girl lets me scratch her neck.the little boy stays away.they are so gentle.the mama eats grapes out of my hand, she is so sweet she never grabs or try's to bite. I just love them all. Thanks for story.
  • Linda stokes - 2014-12-02
    Great story, I love to hear about people like you who love animals like I do. I have a mama racoon who came to me and I started feeding her, in a month or so she came to me with two babies ,so darling.now they almost a year old. I have to hide the food dish because where I live you can't feed wild animals. Thank goodness it is at night. The little girl lets me scratch her neck.the little boy stays away.they are so gentle.the mama eats grapes out of my hand, she is so sweet she never grabs or try's to bite. I just love them all. Thanks for story.
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Herb Rowder - 2004-10-10
I once had a pet racoon named Renovie. I got him as a pup when a friend of mine found his dead mother by the side of a tree and 3 pups up in a nest. I also had a dog at the time, a cockapoo male, but they got along OK and even slept together. He would use a litter box like a cat, and would eat all kinds of things that people eat, and also what the dog ate. He liked to eat dry dog food by taking a piece in his paws and dipping it in the water bowl, letting it soak a while, and then eating it. He did not damage anything, but he could open any cabinet and would go in there and root around, and once in a while you would find him sleeping in a large speghetti pot. I only kept him for about a year though, because as he matured he really wanted to be outside all the time... he literally climbed the curtains. I would take him for walks with the dog, both on seperate leashes. The dog would visit the bottom of the trees and Renovie would climb them. I had people actually pull their cars over and ask me what kind of "dog" that was!

After a year, I saw my friend again who had given him to me and he said that he would take Renovie to a farm he knew of where the people would feed him and let him run around in their protected wooded area. That seemed like the right solution so I had to let him go. I missed him though. He was a good pet. Perhaps a female would not have been so anxious to go out and roam, but I doubt it. They are after all, wild animals and that instinct is very strong in them.

In the year I had him, he went from about 2-3 pounds to a little over 25 pounds in weight so they grow very fast and are always kind of hungry. Having a pet racoon is like having an animal that is a cross between a cat and a monkey. They are very curious and intelligent animals. At least as smart as a very smart dog. They figure things out and can use their hands very effectively to solve problems and open things. They will reach into your pockets and pull stuff out to have a look. I used to keep some "snacks" in my shirt pocket so when Renovie would sit on my lap he would reach in there and get something to eat. If his little "stash" ran out he would complain about it and poke me in the nose with his nose and paw my pocket so I would put more stuff in there for him to pull out. He seemed to like the act of getting the snack out of my pocket as much as actually eating it. Like a dog, he knew his name and would come when you called him, making a little chittering sound like the cooing of a dove. Anyone who ever had one would have to say they were good pets and worthy of respect.

  • Patience - 2014-06-26
    Hello I have a pet raccoon he is very sweet but I heard they seem to get mean when they get older is that true at all?
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Kristin Goodrow - 2013-12-30
I recieved two baby raccoons b/c the mom was trapped and relocated and the people had no idea that the raccoon had babies in their attic. Swindle and Sway are their names. I wresteled with how I was going to release them after tons of studying because I was bonded to them. When they were old enough they would follow me around the back yard and swim in our pool. I sat under trees for many hours while they played. We let them out more and more until they chose they wanted to stay outside and we filled a bowl of food and water for them. Both became pregnant and they still came home for food and treats. Swindle still comes inside the house to say hello to the dogs and would bring her baby with her. Swindle imprinted on me and I had thought that I would never be able to release her but the slow release proved to me that raccoons instincts are strong. From a young age they dug in the ground for food. Sway is wild to the point I would no longer attempt to pick her up but Swindle chooses to climb in my lap and eat a cookie still and when she sees me in the yard at night and she's out in a tree somewhere she always comes to say hi to her mom! My husband and I are rabies vaccinated and know well that raccoons are unpredictable so we are cautious. However we have a special bond with our raccoons who are almost two now. We love them.

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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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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
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Nicki - 2012-11-11
I am looking for a good home for a wonderful little raccoon. She is completely tamed and loves dogs and people. My friend who has raised her has recipe toy had a special needs child and would like to re home the raccon to where she can get more attention. Any info anyone could give me would be very appreciated.

  • bell city girl - 2012-11-26
    i might be interested in your raccoon if it is still available.I have had a raccoon in the past i just love them. My old raccoon Bandit we let go last summer.please let me know if you still have him.
  • Clarice Brough - 2012-11-26
    You'll need to put some contact information in your post...
  • Melissa Immel - 2012-12-08
    I have a 5 month old male and I love him so much. He stays in the house with a cat & 3 dogs. They play all the time. The dogs go out in the daytime and he goes too when I go out with him. I would love to have a female too so he can have a companion.
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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.
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