Should I get a raccoon for a pet?
I didn't wake up one day and decide "I am gonna get a racoon today." I actually took my father to a breeder to purchase a bird. While we were there we decided to check out his "inventory". He discovered one of his young mothers had died while giving birth. Porkchop was the only baby alive in the nest box. He was going to kill her because he didn't have time to bottle feed anything. I know this is normal for farmers and breeders the "only the strong survive" attiude. Well after a while of begging this guy not to kill her he gave her to me. I brought her home and bottle fed her. She got stronger and stronger. I had full intentions of taking her to the local rehabber. On the day we were to go my whole family was sitting there in tears. We decided to make the adjustments in our home to keep her. I do realize that it would have been better to give her to the rehabber but the thought of her being chased by dogs, shot, trapped or ran over by a car was just too much to bear.

Now we could not imagine our lives without her. When people ask about getting a racoon as a pet I always tell them not to do it. I grew up on a farm and have dealt with more animals than I can count. My husband and I use to raise reptiles. My father even raised racoons when I was a child (outside). None of this prepared me for raising one of my own (inside). Racoons are more work and harder work than anything I have ever encountered, which includes raising children. Mine is very protective of me. For the longest time she would not let any other animals around me. She also wouldn't let my son near me. She has since accepted him and likes to lay on his lap when she is pouting.

Over the last year I have been bitten and scratched to the point of scaring because she wanted her way. I have had to replace a large portion of my plumbing and toliet because she filled it full of pennies, nails, marbles, rocks whatever she felt needed washed. We had to change our cabinets and install key locks to keep her out of danger area's. I had to remove all the plants from my home, except for those that I could hang high enough from the ceiling that now require a ladder to water. Mini blind and curtain last about a month. We redesigned our whole basement with the full intention of making it a safe, fun place for her to call her own. I know as well as I am sitting here when she wakes up and comes up to play she is going to find something new to get into and we are gonna have to change it. It is almost a daily activity here. Oh here is one, she got under the kitchen sink while she was playing she disconnected my sink plumbing. When I left the water out of the sink instead of going down the drain it went all over my newly installed kitchen floor. The installers had to come back and fix what the water had damaged, at a extra charge. Baisically what I am saying is you think you have everything secured, locked down and coonie proof. Then they discover something new. It is a constant cycle.

When you go on vacation you have to find someone who will take care of them. Keep in mind there is no racoon boarding facilties like they have for dogs and cats. The person has to be someone that the racoon likes and trusts. I established legal godparents for mine. The look on my lawyers face when we did this was priceless. My company that I have my homeowners insurance through didn't even know how to class her on my papers. Yes, I pay extra insurance just like you would if you had a aggressive type dog.

If you have one tiny hole in your drywall that will catch their attention and they can get a pawnail in get ready it will soon be a huge gapping hole that needs major repair.

We put a shelf above our bathroom mirror. Figured our stuff would be safe up there. I still don't know how she got up there but she made it and threw all the stuff to the floor and streched out on the shelf. All the while giving me a look of total offense because she threw down several bottles of perfume that broke so the room smelled awful. She thought I should be able to make the smell go away. My husband left the stamp collection closet door open one day. She got in and found a box of loose stamps he had not yet put in books. She destroyed about $2000.00 worth of stamps. All because the door didn't close completely behind him.

She constantly hides our cell phones and keys. She removed every key off every keyboard in the computer room.

These are just a couple of my experiences over the last 11 months. These are things that a year ago I would have never dreamed would happen. That I never took into consideration. Things that you should consider before getting a racoon.

I was asked this question by someone interested in getting a racoon as a pet. Would I get another one? My answer is No. As much as I love my baby girl Yes, I would rescue one from certain death like I did with Porkchop but it would go directly to the rehabber. I would probley volunteer to help out with her if she wanted my help, buy formula for it or whatever she would like me to do but I would not keep it and raise it on my own.

I hope I didn't ramble on too much here. I just wanted to help paint the picture of what life is like being owned by a racoon.


My favorite of all wild creatures is the intelligent and playful raccoon. I raise and release dozens of 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". I always tell them to keep my number, they will need it in a few months to which they try to convince me they wont. Once I FINALLY get these raccoons, it is a lot of dangerous and tedious work for me to get them fit for release, so PLEASE, leave the raccoons to the experts and get a cat. You will thank me later.

Annette King

If you have a story to share about your experience with having a 'pet' raccoon, please email us.
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since Feb 25, 2006

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