Comprehensive Guide: How to Get a Pet Raccoon

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Written By samdichter

Expert in Postpartum Nutrition, Breastfeeding, and New Mothers' Health and Wellness. 


Pet raccoons possess a certain allure due to their intelligence and playful nature. However, before you embark on the journey of owning a pet raccoon, it’s essential to understand the intricacies involved. This comprehensive guide will walk you through everything you need to know, from ethical considerations to the practical aspects of raccoon ownership.

Chapter 1: Is a Pet Raccoon Right for You?

Owning a pet raccoon requires careful consideration. These creatures have unique characteristics that demand special attention and care.

Understanding Raccoon Characteristics Raccoons are renowned for their intelligence and curiosity. They excel at problem-solving and can remember complex tasks. However, they can also be highly mischievous and unpredictable, posing challenges in a domestic setting. Their sharp claws and teeth make them capable of destructive behavior.

Legal Considerations: Where Can You Legally Own a Pet Raccoon? The legality of pet raccoon ownership varies from state to state. In the United States, it is legal in 16 states, including Arkansas, Delaware, Florida, Illinois, Indiana, Maine, Michigan, Nebraska, New Jersey, Ohio, Oklahoma, South Dakota, Tennessee, Vermont, Wisconsin, and Wyoming. Nevertheless, it’s crucial to research your local and state laws and obtain any necessary permits.

Ethical Concerns: The Welfare of Raccoons in Captivity Raccoons are wild animals with specific needs that can be challenging to meet in captivity. They require ample space to roam, climb, and explore, along with specialized care and a diet that’s difficult to replicate in a domestic setting. Owning a raccoon raises ethical concerns about depriving them of their natural environment and potentially causing them stress or frustration.

Challenges and Responsibilities of Owning a Pet Raccoon Taking care of a pet raccoon involves significant responsibilities. They have a nocturnal nature, which may not align with human schedules. Providing proper socialization, training, and health care are essential. Additionally, raccoons can carry diseases and parasites, posing risks to both humans and other pets in the household.

Chapter 2: Preparing for a Pet Raccoon

Before bringing a pet raccoon into your home, thorough preparation is essential.

Finding a Reputable Raccoon Breeder To ensure your future pet’s well-being, it’s crucial to find a reputable raccoon breeder who specializes in domestic raccoons. Avoid adopting wild raccoons, as it is illegal in most places.

Bringing Home Your Raccoon Kit: Bonding and Early Care When you bring home a raccoon kit, it’s essential to bond with them while they are still young and bottle-feeding. This early bonding lays the foundation for a positive relationship with your pet.

Childproofing Your Home: Protecting Your Property Raccoons are naturally curious and can get into anything. Childproofing your home is necessary to prevent them from causing damage or harm to themselves.

Setting Up a Proper Enclosure for Your Raccoon Raccoons need a spacious enclosure where they can move freely. For indoor pets, you can train them to use a litter box, but outdoor enclosures provide space for them to play and explore.

Providing Toys and Enrichment for Mental Stimulation To engage their natural instincts and intelligence, raccoons need toys and environmental enrichment. This helps keep them mentally stimulated and prevents boredom.

In the next section, we’ll delve into the daily care and responsibilities of owning a pet raccoon, including their dietary needs, training, and health care.

Chapter 3: Caring for Your Pet Raccoon

Caring for a pet raccoon involves a range of responsibilities to ensure their well-being and happiness.

Feeding Your Raccoon: Diet and Nutritional Needs Raccoons have specific dietary requirements that must be met for their health. A balanced diet for a pet raccoon typically includes a mix of fruits, vegetables, protein sources, and supplements. Consult with a veterinarian experienced in raccoon care to create an appropriate diet plan.

Training and Socializing: Nurturing a Well-Behaved Raccoon Early socialization and training are crucial for raccoons. Begin training them from a young age to ensure they behave well in a household setting. Positive reinforcement techniques work best, as raccoons respond well to rewards.

Health and Veterinary Care: Keeping Your Raccoon Healthy Regular veterinary check-ups are essential to monitor your pet raccoon’s health. They can carry diseases like rabies and raccoon roundworm, which can be transmitted to humans and other animals. Your veterinarian will also advise on vaccinations and parasite control.

Dealing with Potential Destructive Behavior Raccoons are naturally inquisitive and may exhibit destructive behavior, such as chewing on furniture or opening doors. Providing appropriate toys and enrichment can help redirect their energy and prevent destructive tendencies.

Understanding Raccoon Behavior: Insights for Owners Knowing raccoon behavior is crucial for effective care. Understanding their body language and communication cues can help you respond appropriately to their needs and emotions.

In the following chapter, we’ll discuss the legal and regulatory considerations surrounding pet raccoons, including state-specific laws and the importance of permits.

Owning a pet raccoon comes with legal responsibilities and requirements that vary by location.

State-by-State Overview: Where Is It Legal to Own a Pet Raccoon? The legality of pet raccoon ownership differs from one state to another. Familiarize yourself with the specific laws in your state and obtain any necessary permits to ensure you are in compliance.

**Acquiring Permits and Meeting Local Regulations

** Some states require permits or licenses for owning a pet raccoon. Be prepared to navigate the permit application process and meet local regulations to legally own your raccoon.

Responsibilities of Ownership: Ethical and Legal Obligations As a pet raccoon owner, you have both ethical and legal responsibilities. Ensuring the well-being of your raccoon and adhering to regulations is paramount.

Chapter 5: The Long-Term Commitment

Owning a pet raccoon is a significant long-term commitment that requires careful planning and dedication.

Lifespan and Care Throughout the Years Raccoons can live up to 20 years in captivity, meaning you’ll be responsible for their care and well-being for an extended period. Be prepared for the commitment required to provide a happy and healthy life for your pet raccoon.

Financial Aspects: Budgeting for Your Pet Raccoon Owning a raccoon involves financial responsibilities, including expenses related to their diet, veterinary care, and enrichment. Budgeting for these costs is essential to ensure you can meet their needs.

Emotional Bonds: The Unique Relationship with a Raccoon As you care for your pet raccoon, a unique bond will develop between you and your furry friend. Raccoons are intelligent and affectionate creatures, and many owners find deep emotional connections with them.

In the final chapter, we’ll explore alternatives to pet ownership for those who may be drawn to raccoons but are hesitant to take on the challenges of caring for them. We’ll also conclude with a summary of important considerations.

Chapter 6: Alternatives to Pet Ownership

If the idea of owning a pet raccoon feels daunting, there are alternative ways to interact with these fascinating creatures.

Volunteering at Wildlife Rehabilitation Centers Wildlife rehabilitation centers often care for injured or orphaned raccoons. Volunteering at one of these centers can provide a unique opportunity to learn about raccoon behavior and contribute to their well-being.

Exploring Raccoons Through Documentaries and Educational Media Documentaries and educational media can offer a glimpse into the lives of raccoons in the wild. Watching these programs can be both educational and entertaining.

Raccoon-Themed Merchandise and Art For those who admire raccoons from a distance, there’s a wide range of raccoon-themed merchandise and art available. From clothing to home decor, you can celebrate these creatures without owning one as a pet.


In conclusion, owning a pet raccoon is a decision that should not be taken lightly. While it may be legal in some states, it’s essential to prioritize the welfare of these intelligent and curious animals. Ensure you have the time, resources, and commitment to provide a happy and healthy life for your pet raccoon.


  1. Are raccoons good pets?
    • Raccoons are wild animals and can be unpredictable and destructive, so they are not recommended as pets.
  2. Can I keep a wild raccoon as a pet?
    • No, it is illegal almost everywhere to keep a wild raccoon as a pet.
  3. What states allow pet raccoons?
    • It is legal to own a pet raccoon in 16 states: Arkansas, Delaware, Florida, Illinois, Indiana, Maine, Michigan, Nebraska, New Jersey, Ohio, Oklahoma, South Dakota, Tennessee, Vermont, Wisconsin, and Wyoming.
  4. Do raccoons make good indoor pets?
    • Raccoons need a lot of space to explore, climb, and roam, so they don’t do well in cages or small bedrooms. They also tend to be destructive, so you might find them eating your furniture, bedsheets, and clothing as well as opening doors and unscrewing lids.
  5. Can I train my pet raccoon to use a litter box?
    • Yes, you can train your raccoon to use a litter box if they will be an indoor pet.

Remember that while raccoons can be charming creatures, it’s crucial to carefully consider the complexities of owning one as a pet before taking any steps. Always prioritize the well-being of these animals and adhere to legal regulations in your area.

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