So You Want a Pet Raccoon

So You Want A Pet Raccoon

My favorite of all wild creatures is the intelligent and playful raccoon. I raise and release a few hundred orphaned kits each year and at times I have to discourage visitors to my center from wanting to obtain one as a pet. In order to dissuade their urges, I tell them a bit about life with these wonderful animals.

Birth to 3 months, you will be head over heels in love with your kit. They are so much like a human baby in habits, and like fluffy cuddly bear cubs in play. They will adore you and pet you and love you like there is nobody else in the world. You will feed a purring soft body a baby bottle, burp them over your shoulder and cuddle all through the night. You will take your infant around town with you everywhere and make big plans about the raccoon jungle gym you will build in the middle of your living room. You will take a roll of film a day and will put your baby in your will. Nothing foreseen will ever interfere with your immense dedication.

4 to 5 months, your scratches are beginning to heal as you have finally weaned the walking weed-eater. The laceration inside your lip however is infected. Must get that checked. The mattress on your bed has begun to smell funny and you haven’t seen your computer mouse in weeks. The jungle gym forgotten, your head begins to plan a really big cage. You want to go purchase the materials for it, but you shelled out you entire paycheck to replace the contents of your mother’s purse, which disappeared during her last visit. You think you saw a twenty in the garbage disposal this morning and her lipstick was in your shoe..OPENED. Yet another hole in the carpet. Time to rearrange the furniture, but where were those other two holes at? Oh well. Hit the garage sales and find another chair.

6 to 7 months, you have booted the rotten little beast outside and to get back at you, your raccoon has somehow broken into your car and shredded the seat cushion. To make matters worse, he left you a nice present of something smelly under the seat…somewhere…You try to get to the carwash, but you turn the key to absolutely nothing. Upon inspection under the hood, you search for broken wires…unplugged wires…ANY WIRES…there are no more wires. They are all gone.

At 8 months old your kit hates your living guts unless you have a marshmallow in your hand. You carry them in your pocket so you can get into your house. He waits blatantly on the step for you EVERY DAY and if you forgot your marshmallow, you prepare a tactical plan of entering through the chimney, otherwise, you have the pleasure of sharing your house with a 30 lb nightmare who will torment your every breath.

This is the point when I usually get a phone call from someone who called me months ago to find out what to feed the “precious new baby”, and hung up on me when I wouldn’t give care instructions and demanded they bring it to me now since we do not accept imprints. They always voice their regret for not listening to begin with so PLEASE, leave the raccoons to the experts and get a cat. You will thank me later.

And if all this fails, look up “Raccoon roundworm”. That will change your mind!

Annette King, Wildlife Rehabilitator
Wild Heart Ranch Wildlife Rescue
Claremore, Oklahoma