I understand your desire. I, too, love raccoons and have been fortunate to have given care to two at different times in my life. The most recent one was in 2003.
Coming home one day, I found a box in my barn with what I first thought was a dead rat inside. Looking closer I realized it was a week-old raccoon kit. (I later found out my nearest neighbor had found a nest with a dead adult nearby and two kits in the nest, one dead, the other she brought to my house.)
My husband and I raised "Murphy" from an infant, and we certainly were not bored with him around. As he grew, of course, he became more "free-wheeling" and enjoyed wreaking havoc now and then. But we expected it, and dealt with it.
From the start, we had intended to raise him to an age where he would be able to care for himself, and as he began using the cat door more and more each evening, we knew the time had come. We took him to a neighbor's home a few miles away - a location that offered a beautiful creek, trees, no traffic, no hunting, and plenty of other native raccoons.
You mention "but if you bring them up well socialized are they going to be sweet and cuddly at all?" I can promise you now that no matter how young you start with one, and how well you treat him/her, the raccoon will never behave anything close to a dog or cat. They can be wonderful friends one minute, and turn in their skin (literally!) to bite you the next. My point is, no matter how wonderful these creatures are, they are WILD animals, and to keep one would be detrimental to that animal's true nature.
PETA mentions something at http://www.wildlifepimps.com/eaop/9.pdf
, but I would also strongly recommend a book I have read and reread for years. It is called "Frosty: A Raccoon to Remember" and is by Harriett E. Weaver. It is a true story by a Park Ranger who also raises an orphan 'coon, and the entire time the two spent together. Extremely informative and entertaining both.
I truly hope that you do not follow through with your plan to try to purchase one - both for your and the animal's sake. You ask "where can i go to buy one??" If you find someone who actually SELLS these wonderful creatures, the first thing you should do is call PETA and the local Game Warden. You can bet the odds are good that animals in the control of a person who would sell them are living in a personal hell.
wow.. thank you so much, that was very informative.
even if i was to purchase one, i would have no idea where to even START looking for one, and especially since they are illegal in georgia, i guess it wouldnt be such a great idea :(
they are so precious though, i wish i had something happen to me, that happened to you
:( so sad
thank you for your help
I completely understand. I continued to think of your wish last night and although I feel very lucky to have been given the chances with raccoons that I have, I, too, wish it could happen again, or that Murphy was still here.
But I feel better knowing what a good start in life we were able to give him. To be honest, if we didn't live near such a busy road, we probably would have left him to Nature's devises - to go wild when he chose, although as I said he was already at that stage, we just didn't want him to get hit (being nocturnal and all). On a rare occasion, but more than once, we have found evidence of raccoon(s) coming in to have a bite of cat food, play in the water bowl, etc. at night. (And this was pre-Murphy.) As the cat's door is always open (except at vaccination time), and is the perfect size for a healthy raccoon, we truly aren't surprised, and I only wish at those times that I was nocturnal. :)
You are right, they are precious. EXTREMELY intelligent, agile, dexterous, flat-out clever "critters", but again, because of their intelligence they can often be much more than you would expect. One thing I can remember Murphy used to do is pull the floor vent covers off and go traveling through the heating duct work (in the summer when the heater was off). I have a great picture (somewhere) of his face peering up at me from one of the vents - "Who, me?". Of course now, one of the ducts under the house is disconnected, and I have yet to find out where.
Obviously there are good people in this Forum that have raccoons continuing to live with them, but from what I can see, these animals are (hopefully) not caged at any time and will probably move on to natural lifestyles as they mature.
If you really want to have contact with raccoons, until you get a lucky break (and it may happen, you never know), I would suggest working or at least volunteering at your nearest State Park, Wildlife Sanctuary, Department, etc. Of course stay away from zoos - that goes without saying. But being nearer to their natural environment, you might just find a friend.
And remember, you will really find that book interesting. I think it was written in the 70's, and I don't even know if the author is still alive, but she was very descriptive, entertaining, and educational in her memories of Frosty, and raccoons in general.
2006-04-23 10:17 pm (UTC)
Have you considered volunteering at a wildlife rehab center? You get to work with adorable baby raccoons and are doing them a favor, instead of potentially hurting them and breaking the law.
There are many breeders online such as http://awesomeexotics.com
The point has been brought up that someone would would sell them would be putting them in a personal hell or something, but if that was truly so, I would think it would be encouraged to save them from these people. There are many breeders who will let baby raccoons into the wild if they cannot sell them, and after being handled by humans for such a long time, it could seriously hinder their ability to make it in the wild. If you are truly dedicated and up to the HUGE commitment it will be, you would be saving the baby from buyers who are not serious and just want a pet on a whim. So while it's true that you would be encouraging these people, chances are you'd still be saving a life.
It has been said that getting them from a bottle-fed age will help them bond to you, however neither of mine had been bottle-fed as a kit, so I cannot vouch for that.
Do you live alone? You do not want to keep a raccoon caged, as has been brought up. Mine have always had full run of the house. They need to have their own room, their own bedding, their own toys. (Or they will generally destroy yours). Even if they do have their own.. (They will generally destroy yours.) In my opinion, if you don't treat them exactly like you would your own toddler son, they will get sulky and vengeful. They ACT just like my two year old son; He loves me to death, but he does not like to cuddle. Mine have never enjoyed being picked up at all.
Like I said, I'm not sure if a bottle fed one would be more affectionate than one that came straight from the wild at an older age, as mine have. Both of mine were taken from the wild at an older age and kept in captivity for years, until they were given to me because the owner could not take the stress anymore. My first was not affectionate but would not oppose to me loving on it.
If you think you're ready for raising a "child", it can be very rewarding. As long as you are able to keep your house childproofed well enough to withstand the onslaught of a toddler-sized prankster who can climb sheer walls and is your personal liability for the next 10-15 years, be my guest! Please check around before you buy one first and see if there is anyone who will treat your raccoon if it is sick. Since it is illegal in your state, it will be near impossible to do so. If someone tattles on you for having one as a pet, they can come to your house, destroy it, and fine you.
Sorry that was so long, but I hope it helps!
Oh my god this post is half a year old. SO sorry, you probably have no idea what i'm talking about, or have found one already!