Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Raccoons as Pets

Here's Juniper Russo's advice:

Here's my take on this subject: Raccoons are wild animals who belong outdoors.

You can make friends with raccoons (if none of your neighbors is trying to raise more useful animals that raccoons may injure or kill, or crops that raccoons may destroy). They'll learn to come when called. Eventually they may even caress you with their cute little "hands" and let you stroke their fur. In many ways they're like cats, only bigger and more resourceful.

Nevertheless, they're not cats. When the authors of Rascal and Frosty wrote vague euphemistic endings about how "the time came to return my pet to the wild," what they meant was that a full-grown raccoon is unlikely to settle for living as a house pet under humans' rules. If raised as a house pet, he's more likely to challenge the humans for control of the house...not just shredding their belongings out of playfulness and curiosity, but attacking their belongings and them in a serious effort to run them off what he's decided is his territory.
If you love your raccoons, talk to your vet about giving them rabies vaccine in the form of food treats, and leave them free to prowl outdoors.

(Although it's conveniently close to town and although the road going to the Cat Sanctuary looks a bit like "the wild," I try to discourage raccoons near the Cat Sanctuary. If you can responsibly keep raccoons outdoors, at least a mile away from me, and would like to adopt one from me, please send a message.)