Can You Have a Raccoon as a Pet?

young racoon looking for a pet

Having a pet is a great idea. Asides from serving as comforting companions, pets provide us with emotional support, reduce our stress levels and sense of loneliness.

Most people love their pets to be cute. And with just one look into the masked eyes of a raccoon, it’s undeniable that they fit the bill. These cute, cuddly bandits look adorable from afar, but do they make great pets? In this post, we answer that question.

cute racoon

Raccoons Are Wild Animals

There’s a reason you don’t see pet raccoons frequently. Raccoons are wild animals and very difficult to tame. Hence, they are high maintenance and fairly unpredictable.

As notorious biters, they will bite on household items for fun, or anytime they feel fearful. And when they feel threatened, they can bite and attack even their favorite people.

Although raccoons can be tamed if they’re born in captivity or raised by humans, it is important to remember that they usually retain their wild traits. But if you feel you’re up to the task, you can learn more about keeping a raccoon as a pet at

The Legality of Owning a Pet Raccoon

Before you purchase a pet raccoon, it is important to verify the legality of owning one in your state. As of 2020, it is reportedly legal to own a pet raccoon in 16 states in America. They include:

  • Arkansas
  • Delaware
  • Florida
  • Indiana
  • Nebraska
  • North Carolina
  • South Carolina
  • Michigan
  • Oklahoma
  • Pennsylvania
  • Rhode Island
  • Texas
  • Virginia
  • West Virginia
  • Wisconsin
  • Wyoming

However, note that it is illegal to take a raccoon from the wild to raise as a pet. Removing a raccoon from its natural habitat greatly stresses it, and it may eventually die.

Hence, it is best to acquire a pet raccoon from a reputable breeder. And that’s if owning a pet raccoon is legal in your local district and state.

What You Should You Know About Owning a Pet Raccoon

Raccoons are highly intelligent, fun, and sociable animals. But as pets, they come with their unique sets of challenges. Here are some things to know before you purchase your pet raccoon.

  • They Are Unpredictable

Tamed household raccoons can become affectionate. This is particularly true when they are young. But as they grow older, they become more aggressive and can bite family, pets, strangers, and other animals.

  • They Are Disease Carriers

Raccoons carry bacteria like salmonella, parasites like roundworms, and infectious diseases like distemper and rabies. Note that there’s no approved vaccination for rabies. So, if your raccoon scratches or bites someone, it may be euthanized for testing as a safety precaution.

  • Finding Care Is Difficult

Even in states where owning a pet raccoon is legal, finding a vet that specializes in raccoon care can be challenging. But that’s not all. Imagine you’re going for a vacation, and you need someone to pet-sit your raccoon. You might have a tough time finding someone up to the task because caring for a raccoon is way different than caring for a cat or dog.

  • They Are Mischievous

Raccoons are very smart – even smarter than dogs. Their intelligence, high curiosity level, and dexterity make it difficult to keep up with their antics. Do not be surprised if you find your pet raccoon using its long-fingered paws to open the doors or unscrew lids.

  • They Are Dirty Eaters

Raccoons love to dunk their food in water before they eat it, so they leave a mess everywhere. But one good thing is that raccoons are omnivores, so they eat a wide array of diets, from fruits to insects to even dog food.

  • It’s A Lifetime Committment

It is illegal to release a partially domesticated raccoon back into the wild. So, if you become frustrated with the burden of owning a pet raccoon, euthanization is the only option.

If you enjoyed this you can learn how some people even find ways to keep bears as pets

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