Should I Adopt a Pet Raccoon? Do They Make Good Pets?

Raccoons are recognizable wild animals found in North America. They often look cute and playful, which may make you feel that they’d make a great pet. 

The truth is, most people will want to avoid taking in a raccoon. Raccoons can cause many issues, and there are problems associated with adopting one. 

While raccoons are shown as cute and cuddly in many cartoons, real raccoons can be troublesome and cause a lot of headaches for you.

Do Raccoons Make Good Pets?

Raccoons are very intelligent and have the capacity to solve problems and remember things. It is illegal to adopt a raccoon in many states. They need constant supervision and often get into things. They are difficult to tame and are known to bite. Raccoons need space to explore and have special dietary needs as well.

Adopting a raccoon can feel like a job, and you need to be ready to take on the commitment should you go ahead and do so. 

Common Problems with Adopting a Pet Raccoon

There are several problems associated with adopting a pet raccoon.

Having a pet raccoon is illegal in many states. However, for states where it is legal, there may be other laws, such as what happens if your raccoon gets loose or if it attacks someone or someone else’s pet. 

Is It Unethical To Adopt a Pet Raccoon?

Raccoons are wild animals, and some might say it’s unethical to force a wild animal to live in a confined environment. You’ll be in charge of their care, which means taking care of their diet, providing them with enough space to explore, and taking care of any health needs that they have. 

One way to see what it’s like to adopt a pet raccoon before doing so is to go to a wildlife rehabilitation center and spend time around them.

Do Raccoons Carry Diseases?

Raccoons can carry what’s called zoonotic diseases and parasites, which spread through animals and infect humans. Such diseases can cause damage to a human’s central nervous system and are exceptionally dangerous to children.

Raccoons Can Be Dangerous

While raccoons are small animals and aren’t much larger than a big cat, they have sharp claws and teeth, which they use to defend themselves or when annoyed. A scared raccoon can cause harm to a human with these sharp claws and teeth, and this might make you think twice about adopting one.

Raccoons Don’t Bond Well With Humans 

Unlike dogs and cats, raccoons don’t form the same type of bond with a human. They aren’t as social and can instinctually be hostile towards humans and other animals. 

Many have tried to breed raccoons to get them to be more domesticated, but this has often been met with failure as raccoons generally don’t become overly social with humans. Raccoons are unpredictable and can be pretty aggressive.

Some raccoons will bond with their human if raised from a young age, but it’ll likely not be the same as a dog bonding with its human.

Raccoon Temperament and Behavior

Given that raccoons are problem solvers and very intelligent, they can get into things and cause mischief. In addition, they’re nocturnal and retain their wild animal traits when taken in by humans, making them exceptionally difficult to care for.

As they explore, they very well may destroy things in your home or yard with their sharp claws and teeth. They need a lot to occupy their attention, such as toys, or they might wreak havoc on things in your home.

Being problem solvers, raccoons can find their way through closed doors and other closed areas. They can figure out how to open latches and then remember how for the future.

How to House a Raccoon

Raccoons need room to explore, so keeping them in a cage or small room may cause issues. If you adopt a raccoon, you’ll need to raccoon-proof your home. They chew on just about anything, including wires. They’re known to climb on things and knock things off counters and shelves. 

Possibly the best place for a raccoon is outdoors in an enclosure like a fenced-in space in your yard that also has a ceiling. 

Keep toys and puzzles ready for them so that they always have something to do.

What To Feed Your Pet Raccoon

Raccoons are omnivores, so they need a combination of plant-based food and meat-based food. They also need a lot of water. An exotic vetenarian should be consulted to determine how much food to feed your raccoon.

You’ll also learn that raccoons get involved with their eating. As a result, they’ll make a mess when they eat, and you’ll need to keep their feeding area clean. 

Pros of Adopting a Pet Raccoon

  • Unique pet: Most people don’t have a pet raccoon and you’ll have a unique pet with a unique personality at home with you.
  • Housetrainable: Raccoons can be trained to use a litterbox. It may take more time than training a domestic animal, however.
  • They’re easy to feed: Raccoons eat dog kibble as well as meat and produce.
  • They groom themselves: Raccoons clean themselves, which means you won’t have to groom them often.

Cons of Adopting a Pet Raccoon

  • They’re wild: Even a domesticated raccoon has sharp claws and teeth and can be dangerous to humans.
  • They bite: Raccoons bite, and even if they’re just playing, they can bite hard, and it’s often very painful.
  • Full of mischief: These curious, intelligent animals will find ways to get into just about everything. While this might seem cute at first, you might find yourself frustrated at times.
  • They carry diseases: Raccoons carry diseases that can spread to other pets and to humans. 
  • May damage your home: Raccoons are constantly exploring, and when they’re bored, they’re likely to chew on things, including your sheets, doorframes, floors, carpet, and more.

Final Thoughts on Adopting a Pet Raccoon

Adopting a pet raccoon should only be done after careful consideration and only if you can truly spend enough time taking care of it. Raccoons require loads of attention and have many challenges associated with them if adopted.

That said, they can make interesting pets for those who have time to commit.

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