Raccoons are intriguing creatures with their distinctive black and white markings and mischievous personalities. Known for their cleverness and adaptability, raccoons have long fascinated humans, inspiring countless stories, myths, and even cartoon characters. However, despite their undeniable charm, raccoons are not suitable as pets. In this article, we will take a closer look at raccoons, exploring their diet, appearance, behavior, habitat, and the reasons why they should not be kept as pets. Whether you're a wildlife enthusiast or simply curious about these fascinating creatures, this guide will provide valuable insights into the world of raccoons.
Distinctive Features of Raccoon
|Up to 20 years in captivity
|Gray and black fur with white markings on face
|High (may carry diseases and parasites)
|Highly dexterous front paws
|Mischievous and curious behavior
|Generally shy and avoidant of humans
|Low; require specific habitat requirements and diet
|Generally not recommended as pets due to unpredictable behavior
|Nocturnal and active
|Solitary, but may form loose groups
|Not commonly domesticated
Raccoons are a mid-type of carnivores They have a thick torso and mini limbs. Hind legs are comparatively longer than the front legs. For this reason, they appear hunched. The five forefeet have the wonderful ability to catch and maneuver food and other things. The black fur grows till close to the eyes and makes rings around the tail. A fully-grown raccoon weighs 15-40 pounds. Its length is 23-28 inches.
Breeding season for raccoons begins in late winter and lasts till early spring. A baby raccoon is born between April-June. Three to four litters or kits are born in one go. Kits till they are seven weeks of age stay in the den they were born. After this mother changes den with frequency. Kits spend the first winter with their mother.
Mostly the animal is nocturnal but is also active during the day. They live in gender-specific groups. Their ability to hear and night vision is excellent. Moreover, their sense of touch is very sensitive. It is because the nerves of the forepaw are highly developed. Through manipulation they recognize items. This ability is like eyes. Raccoon very frequently rub hands. Forepaw is very sensitive in a wet state. Moist paw has a wonderful ability to identify objects. They can open and lock doors with ease.
Their intelligence and memory level are high. They can solve difficult problems and remember them for up to three years. As babies, the raccoons are charming and playful. As babies they are gentle but as an adult not trained can hurt the caretaker. Their teeth are razor sharp. If you happen to keep pet raccoons seek counseling from professionals or experts in the field. It is necessary to domesticate it. If your other pets are in the house, adult raccoons are likely to eat it. They go out to eat dogs, chickens, rabbits, and other puny animals. A raccoon is destructive as well as unpredictable. This applies to pet raccoons as well.
Are Raccoons Good Pets?
Pet raccoons can be trained to some extent. They then happily play with the owner. Some commands drilled into them will be followed. They are sensitive to tone. However, the reality is even a pet raccoon after all the training and interaction will remain a wild animal.
Raccoons come with different temperaments; they vary from aggressive to friendly, from curious to territorial, some are fearful and they flee the place. After sexual maturity which comes at the age of 6, they are difficult to handle and cuddle. You may end up with a bite. They are intelligent creatures and dexterous. They can wreck the household. The feeding habits are disastrous they spread food and water all over the place. They open the cabinets and mess up the place. Even after many generations of domestication pet raccoons show wild instincts all through their life.
The best method to train a pet raccoon is through an established breeder. They help the animal to bond better with humans.
How to Take Care of Pet Raccoons?
It is important to note that raccoons are not legal pets in all areas and regulations regarding ownership can vary greatly. It is important to research and understand the laws and regulations in your specific area before considering a raccoon as a pet.
That being said, if you do live in an area where it is legal to own a raccoon as a pet and are considering it, here are some guidelines for their care:
Setup Habitat For Pet Raccoon
Pet raccoons cannot reside in an apartment and a flat. If you are keen on having a pet raccoon your house should have a garden and enough space to keep a spacious cage or a room exclusively for the creature. Pet raccoons should have the opportunity to climb trees, play in the fountain or wash their food which is their habit. Raccoons cannot be left in the cage for a long duration of time. If you leave the creature in the house it will spend a lot of time roaming playing, climbing, exploring, and being naughty in the house.
If possible, give an outdoor enclosure to your pet raccoon. It should be an enclosed space with a facility of food, water, shelter, and instruments for climbing, jumping, and doing exercises. Toys can be made available for play. Pet raccoons will require two baths in a year. The fur protects the creature with a layer of fat over fur. The neutral shampoo is best suited. Rinse well after the bath. Raccoons molt once a year. Nicely brush the pet without giving it injuries.
Know What to Feed Pet Raccoon
A raccoon is an opportunist as well as an omnivore. They enjoy eating water animals like crabs, frogs, fish, crayfish, etc. vegetables, fruits, insects, nuts puny animals in the wild. A pet raccoon should be fed poultry eggs, fish, fresh vegetables, fruits, and prey food like mice. Dog food is not enough for them. Add to the list is mealworm, crickets, earthworms. If the prey is alive it will give the pet raccoon some exercise. Nuts and seeds should be given in moderation as it is high in fat content.
Begin limiting the diet when pet raccoon reaches the age of six months. A handful of dog food is enough because grain-free dog food is rich in calories. Begin with 1/8 cup twice or thrice a day and a tablespoon full of fresh vegetables as well as fruits in the diet. Add egg, chicken, insects sometimes a mouse is a balanced diet. If the pet raccoon shows signs of waist fat reduce diet intake. Baby raccoon feds on milk replacement at a pet store. The human baby formula and cow’s milk do not suit the creature. A few weeks old kits begin to eat soft foods and later all foods.
Raccoons dip their food in water prior to eating. Keep a big sallow water dish at feeding time. As they are messy eaters you will have work at hand for cleanliness. Make the pet raccoon work for their food as they do in the wild. Give them insects like crickets in plastic under the bed storage box. You can hide food on steps, under the boxes, inside boxes. This is mental as well as physically stimulating work. This way the animal will not be bored and destructive. The diet of the raccoon varies with the surrounding.
Common Health Problems of Pet Raccoons
The pet raccoon should be immunized against rabies. The creature is likely to be a carrier of rabies and distemper. Raccoons should be dewormed on a regular basis. Once you decide to keep a pet raccoon search for a veterinarian for treatment in case the creature falls sick. Raccoons have ailments such as obesity, infection of the skin, fleas, intestinal parasites, urinary tract infection hip dysplasia to name a few. Visit the vet to avoid health issues.
Raccoons carry worm Baylisascaris procyonis which can be transmitted to humans. This infection can be fatal. Other diseases to be careful of by humans and other pets from the creature are distemper, Chagas disease, rocky mountain spotted fever, leptospirosis, and salmonella.
Frequently Asked Questions About Pet Raccoon
Some of the generally asked questions are below:
Is it Legal to Pet a Raccoon?
It is illegal to keep pet raccoons in many states. Find out the local and state laws. Raccoons are illegal in Arizona, Colorado, Idaho, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maryland, and Massachusetts. Some states allow raccoons as a pet, but the creature cannot be imported. That’s not legal. Fur-bearing animal laws are harsh. Get raccoon from a breeder. As regards vet, search for an exotic or wild animal vet.
Can raccoons be potty-trained?
Raccoons can be litter box trained, but it requires a lot of patience and consistency. They are intelligent animals and can learn quickly, but accidents can still happen. It is important to provide a large litter box and to clean it regularly.
Do raccoons get along with other pets?
Raccoons can be aggressive towards other animals, including dogs and cats. They may view other animals as a threat or competition for food and resources. It is not recommended to keep raccoons with other pets unless they are closely supervised.
What kind of habitat do raccoons need?
Raccoons are active and curious animals that require a large and secure enclosure with plenty of space to climb, play, and explore. They also need access to fresh water, hiding places, and materials to build nests. It is important to provide a safe and enriching environment for pet raccoons.
What are the health risks of keeping a pet raccoon?
Raccoons can carry diseases that can be transmitted to humans, including rabies and roundworm. They also require regular veterinary check-ups and vaccinations. It is important to practice good hygiene and to handle pet raccoons safely to reduce the risk of disease transmission.