One of the most frequently asked questions I get is "Where can I get a baby raccoon for a pet?" My answer:
- Which life would YOU prefer? -
Raccoons are not pets in the way that cats and dogs are, no matter how many generations have been bred in captivity. At best, they can be considered a companion friend. At worst, a liability insurance nightmare! They live by one set of rules - theirs. And they change the rules whenever it suits them. They will melt your heart with their loving face. And shed your blood (any anything else you may value) with their razor sharp teeth and claws. If you keep a raccoon caged, all you will have is a caged wild animal, not a pet. If you let it have the run of your house, then it will be the raccoon keeping you as a pet as it does what it pleases to the house and you. And an adult raccoon is quite capable of causing a great amount of damage, to both you and your possessions, in a very short amount of time! I believe
wild animals belong in the wild when at all possible.
Sometimes wildlife rehabbers have raccoons that are not releasable for
various reasons, such as I experienced with Tiki
. At the Wildlife Rehabilitation Directory, you'll find a list of rehabbers throughout
the U.S., arranged by State. Perhaps there is one near you that may have an
unreleasable raccoon that needs a home. Or maybe you might want to help
rehab and release a raccoon back into the wild. It's the best of both
worlds. You get to raise and share the love of a baby raccoon and return it to the wild where it was meant to be. Yes, it is
bittersweet when you release them, but you'll find it won't be long before
there is another tiny furball that needs your help and your love.
Please read maskd_bandit's Twenty good reasons not to have a pet raccoon and t.a.r.a.s.t.a.r.'s Raccoons As Pets before considering a pet raccoon. And consider this: there is no approved rabies vaccine for raccoons. If your beloved pet raccoon bites or scratches anyone, your local health department will require you to submit your raccoon for rabies testing, regardless of the fact that you may have raised him from a newborn. This is a death sentence for the raccoon, as they will cut off its head and send its brain to a lab. I have gotten many letters from heartbroken owners asking me what can be done to save their raccoon. The answer, sadly, is nothing. It may not even be legal for you to have a raccoon in your state. You can check it out at State Regulations.
If you are still determined to have a pet raccoon, know what you are
getting into! Remo Coon's website has a page entitled "PLEASE - TAME ME!" ..BUT FIRST..". He is not exaggerating the difficulties you will experience! If you don't believe him, check with any of the "pet" raccoon owners listed on my page Other Raccoon Sites. These owners will be the first to tell you of the problems and sacrifices you must be prepared for if you are considering a raccoon as a pet.
If you are considering getting one from a
breeder, please check out About Breeders and RACCOON BABY'S (Kits). Somewhere in these pages will be info on how to get the name of a breeder near you. The catch? You have to read these two pages first. Maybe it will make you rethink and decide not to get a raccoon from a breeder. Among other things, the breeders take the nursing baby raccoons away from their mothers - how traumatizing and cruel for both mother and babies!
Raccoons as pets require a deep understanding of what you are getting into in terms of both personal sacrifice and financial costs. It is a commitment that could last 16 years or more. People who think they can just dump a pet raccoon back into the wild when it gets too wild
(surprise!) to handle, are just sentencing it to a slow and cruel death.
"You become responsible forever, for what you have tamed".