Raccoon Care

Pet raccoon care: Tips and tricks you should consider!

Getting a pet is something many of us want, but when you think about adoption, raccoons aren’t the first pet that comes to mind. It’s easy to see why because these animals are unpredictable and have relatively high maintenance requirements. Raccoons are not meant to live indoors, so they are very anxious; they move around a lot and might even damage various items.

Then there are other considerations like what they need to eat or potential health problems. We made a list with some tips and tricks to keep in mind if you want to adopt a pet raccoon. These animals can weigh up to 7-20 pounds or more, and their size is 16-28 inches, depending on the animal.

Is it legal to own a raccoon in the US?

Every state has its own regulations. Most of the states won’t allow you to own a raccoon legally. In Oregon and Missouri, you can own them, but there are particular requirements you need to abide by. Other states like Minnesota, South Dakota, Iowa, Nebraska, Oklahoma, Tennessee, Kentucky, South Carolina, Florida, Indiana, Ohio, Delaware, New Jersey, Vermont, Illinois, and Michigan allow you to adopt a raccoon from a breeder, but you will also need to follow specific requirements.

In Wyoming, there’s no importation allowed; however, owning a raccoon is legal. On the other hand, Arkansas offers up to 6 weeks with no requirements, and in Pennsylvania, it’s legal to have a raccoon if you buy it from a breeder.

We should also consider ethics. Raccoons are meant to live in the wilderness and have certain boundaries you need to respect. That’s why it’s essential to understand their daily diet and other requirements. Once you learn that, you will know how to take care of your raccoon and what kind of food they need. Remember that owning a raccoon is not inexpensive; if anything, it’s very time-consuming and costs a lot of money. Check with the local vet to see if they can help with raccoon care/checkups.

What kind of enclosure should you have for a pet raccoon?

You need to remember that raccoons love to climb, so verticality is something to consider when you create an enclosure. Having paneling walls is essential, or you can replace them with an even stronger material. Otherwise, the raccoon can end up damaging the wall.

Although pet raccoons can be trained to use the litter, you shouldn’t have a carpet in their enclosure because their nails can end up damaged. You can’t use cat litter, as it can damage their paws. Go for special litter or alternatives like pine pellet horse bedding or corn cob.

When it comes to decorating the enclosure, you should always have things like a wheel, maybe a swing, climbing structures, a few toys, and so on. It also makes sense to try and switch between the toys from time to time, so you can avoid boredom or any other issues.

What kind of diet do raccoons have?

They are known omnivores, meaning variety is key for their diet. You also need to know how much food is necessary; otherwise, your raccoons can become obese. That leads to joint issues, but also diabetes and potential heart issues. Keep the portion size under control while eliminating any sugar or treats from their food as much as possible.

Great raccoon food includes walnuts/chestnuts, crape myrtle petals, chicken, roses, cucumbers, carrots, and sugar snap peas. Insects like mealworms or crickets can also be great for a raccoon. Fish, rabbits, and poultry are ideal for them too. 

Another thing to consider when it comes to pet raccoons is they can eat dog kibble (if it’s low-protein). If possible, you can also go for omnivore diet products; these are explicitly made for opossums, skunks, and raccoons. It can be hard to establish portion sizes, so you may want to consider weighing your raccoons often and then adjust their diet accordingly.

You also need to avoid certain foods, specifically foods high in sugar, sodium, or many calories. While you might think that cat food is okay for raccoons, it’s not the case. That’s very bad, and it can lead to kidney problems or even death in some cases.

How often should you take your raccoon to the vet?

Ideally, you want to find a vet specializing in raccoons since not all of them can assist. In addition, you should go to the vet at least a few times per year. Your raccoon needs vaccines for Rabies, Parvovirus, Canine Distemper, and Feline Panleukopenia. The rabies vaccine doses should be received by your raccoon as soon as he is 16 weeks old, after that, on an annual basis. 

Revolution can be great against fleas, and you could use Capstar too. Raccoon worms can be a problem, especially tape, hook, and roundworms. You can get rid of these with fenbendazole and pyrantel pamoate.

Providing enrichment to your raccoons

One thing to remember when you want to adopt a raccoon is that such an animal thrives in the wild. They are very intelligent and always perform a variety of tasks. They run, climb trees, and check the region for predators. When you keep them captive, raccoons cannot perform these tasks anymore. That can make them not only more aggressive but unhappy and obese as well. 

To maintain that sense of enrichment, you can focus on mental stimulation like using toys, feathers, bells, ball pits, and anything similar. You can buy a sensory board, texture fabrics, or even a kiddie pool for tactile enrichment.

Olfactory enrichment is also necessary; here, you can bring new food scents, spices, and herbs, but also some pet-safe essential oils or furs from other animals. Audio-visual enrichment can be great too, so it makes sense to sing to him or play music, maybe even play sounds from other species. Adding in mirrors, changing the enclosure from time to time, or planting a butterfly garden near his enclosure can help too.

Raccoon temperament

Raccoons are very active at night, even if you train them in captivity. They like to climb and run, so any small enclosure is a problem for them. They also have sharp claws, so any materials you use need to be strong enough; otherwise, they can easily get damaged. Not having items that stimulate their mind can be an issue; without toys, they will end up chewing on door frames, sheets, or anything they can.

Even if these are wild animals, they are known for bonding with people. That’s true, especially if you adopt a raccoon at a very young age. But they also like to bite, so you need to be very careful. It’s important to note that a raccoon will not generate a lot of noise, aside from some random vocalizations. 

If you want a raccoon-proof home, it’s important to avoid hanging valuable items on the walls. Since they like chewing on stuff, keep chewable items near them or in open areas around your home. Outdoor enclosures are ideal for raccoons; however, an indoor enclosure might also be okay, depending on the weather and other factors. Also, you want a substrate within the crate where your pet might sleep. A dog bed or washable blanket can work great, so it’s up to you to find the right option that fits your needs.

Do raccoons need any exercise?

As we said, these animals are very active, and without exercising, they become obese. That means proper exercise is crucial for any raccoon; otherwise, your raccoon will get fat very fast. It makes a lot of sense to offer various activities for your raccoon if possible. That means toys, running along with them, and maybe even providing access to shelves, branches, or stuff they can climb onto if possible.

Raccoon grooming

Raccoons can shed from time to time, especially during times of stress. Thankfully, brushing your raccoon regularly can remove the excess fur. These are clean animals, so they rarely require baths. In that case, you want to use a mild shampoo if possible. Nail trimming is also necessary; you can ask your vet how often you should nail trim or what shampoo you should use.

Is it expensive to keep raccoons as a pet?

While prices vary, you can generally spend around $30-$50 or more every month on raccoon care alone. You also need to set aside money for emergency care and annual checkups. So it’s not inexpensive to care for a raccoon. 

The best thing you can do is check the local laws and see where you can acquire a raccoon. Normally, if you can buy a raccoon, you can only do that from a breeder. Purchase prices can be anywhere from $300 to $700 or more. Breed quality, age, and particular traits can add to the price.


Adopting a pet raccoon is a great idea, but you need to keep in mind it’s not easy. Taking care of a raccoon is not simple, and it certainly comes with monthly expenses. However, raccoons are delightful pets; they can bond with humans nicely and are also very intelligent. Check if you can adopt a raccoon within your country/state, and then create a proper enclosure for your animal. Raccoons can go up to 20 years old in captivity, so they can have a long and happy life if they are well taken care of!

want to read other related articles and broaden your knowledge on the subject of raccoon care click any of the links below:

The articles below are related to the one you just read and will touch on some points we didn’t get into in our own article and also reinforce of the points we already talked about but the important thing you should keep in mind when it comes to raccoon care is that there will always be more to learn so the reading and studying about these beautiful creatures never ends. Contact us if you have questions.

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