One look at their little masked faces and there is no doubt about it– raccoons are cute.
However, while these clever animals are certainly adorable and cuddly looking, they’re not the easiest family pets on the planet. While lovers and wildlife rehabbers will tell you they are fascinating and loving companions, keeping raccoons as pets are uncommon for a reason.
In some ways, they are a lot like a big ferret or a puppy. They can be caring and lively with their preferred people. Most raccoons always seem to be full of mischief, too. They are extremely high maintenance and unpredictable, which is why most animal specialists advise against keeping them as pets. Lots will damage your home and belongings as part of their day-to-day shenanigans. They’re tough to really tame and are infamous biters when something bothers them. Plus, raccoons have dietary requirements and health problems that can be difficult to manage. If you have the patience and time to properly care for a raccoon, they can be remarkable and amusing companions.
Are Raccoon Pets Legal in Your Area?
In many areas, keeping a raccoon as a pet is illegal. Check your state and your county laws; even if your state allows you to keep a raccoon, some city regulations will forbid it.
If they are allowed where you live, the very best way to get a family pet raccoon is through an established breeder. Raccoons reproduced and raised in a home with human beings can bond more easily and adjust faster to life as domestic animals.
Raccoons as Pets
Raccoons can be remarkably affectionate. They can become really attached to their owners and invest long periods of time snuggling. If they are scared or become mad, they can and will bite. There have also been accounts of wild infant raccoons or young raccoons being great pets, but adult raccoons becoming mean.
Raccoons are extremely independent and still have wild instincts. There will be days where they wish to play and snuggle all the time, and others were they want to retreat to their own space. Because of that, they typically require a full room inside that is entirely theirs. They need lots of toys to keep them occupied, bedding, and things to climb on and inspect.
If they are not provided adequate space to roam and enough toys to play with, they can become very devastating and inquisitive, entering into locations you would not expect and causing damage.
Raccoon Behavior and Temperament
Raccoons are intelligent animals, known for their great memories and problem-solving capabilities. Plus, these North American natives are nocturnal, implying they’re most active in the evening. And even when they’re born in captivity or raised by people, they normally maintain their wild traits.
As family pets, they do not do well in cages or even in little bedrooms. They need places to roam, climb up, and check out to be pleased. Raccoons are rather adept at breaking through locks and other protected locations if their curiosity gets the best of them.
Thanks to their intelligence, most pet raccoons are able to know their name and even a couple of commands, such as “sit” and “shake.” They likewise can be trained to use a litter box. However, they are rather stubborn and selective about when they want to obey. And lots do end up being quite cuddly or lively at times. Plus, they may assault other family pets in your house, particularly small animals, as they are predators in the wild.
While they do make some vocalizations, raccoons are typically peaceful animals. Life won’t feel quiet with a family pet raccoon. These animals need a lot of space, maintenance, and supervision.
Caring for a Raccoon
Raccoons also require special care to keep them healthy within your home. They ought to eat a diet mostly comprised of fresh vegetables and fruits. Some chicken or fish, or high-quality pet dog food, need to be used to supplement their diet plan.
While they can be trained to use a litterbox, if you irritate them, they will willfully punish you by having mishaps around the house; raccoons hold grudges!
Housing the Raccoon
Some people who keep raccoons house them in a large pet dog crate when they aren’t home to watch their family pet. The bulk of a pet raccoon’s time should be invested wandering your home, playing, climbing up on things, checking out, and being mischievous. Raccoons are prone to chewing on cords, climbing on racks, and knocking down prized possessions.
If you have space, it’s perfect to offer a safe and secure outside enclosure for your raccoon. Inside, your raccoon must have access to food, water, shelter, and structures (e.g., large branches) for climbing up and leaping. Have toys, such as balls and food puzzles, to keep your pet amused.
Raccoons and Finding a Veterinarian
In captivity, raccoons can live to 10-15 years old. They do require some veterinarian care, and it can be challenging to find a doctor going to see a raccoon since they aren’t common family pets. You will normally need to look for a special or wild animal vet. Your raccoon will also have to be vaccinated for rabies and canine distemper.
Raccoons can be loving and sweet pets, but they need a good deal of work and maintenance as they are still wild animals. They are not the type of domestic animals you can leave alone for very long; when they get tired, your home can be damaged in your absence!
The best thing you can do is research raccoons’ needs and behaviors thoroughly before bringing one home. If you’re considering raccoon ownership, ensure that all members of the family are on board with the commitment and the knowledge that having a raccoon in your home can change your life.
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