BLACK BEARS sybils den
 
Welcome to Sybil's Den.  This site is meant for information purposes  on raising  pet exotics animals based on my experience.  There are care sheets for black bears, foxes, raccoons, emus, farm animals and domestic animals.   Also please find a very informative message board with a lot of great members.

For some of the species of animals I have or had information on, You will find their photo gallery.
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RACCOON  CARE  SHEET    

       
PERMITS
Before buying a raccoon, please check with your state to see if you need a permit or if they are legal.

Every state has different regulations.  For the safety of the animal, it is best to ensure  he/she is legal.
Otherwise, You will have a  difficult time finding a vet. Most vets will not  treat an illegal raccoon.  It is not fair to even ask a vet to treat a raccoon that is illegal. If a vet would treat an illegal raccoon, you are putting their job in jeopardy.

Also, most states will confiscate an illegal raccoon and kill it, topped off with a fine.
 
RACCOON COLOR VARIATIONS
Raccoons come in different colors.
(These are the only colors that I know of at this time)
 
Albino Blonde Cinnamon white
Black Brown (common color) Platinum  
 
BUYING A RACCOON
PLEASE make sure you understand the proper needs of a raccoon prior to buying one.
Have you done extensive research? Are they legal in your state?
Have you talked with raccoon owners? 

Raccoons are generally destructive.  They can rip your carpet up, scratch up doors, Open cupboards and pull the contents out of your cupboards.

If you get bored with your raccoon, or find out what a mess they make,
YOU CANNOT RELEASE THEM INTO THE WILD. They are dependent on you and
will have a hard time fending for themselves. Chances are really good, a released raccoon will get shot or hit by a car.

Prior to buying a raccoon, please make sure you have done extensive research. This also means talking with other raccoon owners.  A raccoon is NOT like a dog or cat and should be raised with a lot of knowledge and understanding of a raccoons disposition.

If you are still considering buying one, then read on:

The average cost of a raccoon is anywhere from $100.00 to $400.00

Make sure you buy a raccoon from a reputable dealer.  You should get one at a very young age. I recommend getting a raccoon that is still on the bottle. This helps with the bonding process. Please remember to check  the legality of owning a raccoon in your state, county/city/twp.. 
Look for the most calmest raccoon in the litter.
DO NOT TAKE A RACCOON FROM THE WILD. Captive born raccoons are generally more docile than a raccoon from the wild. Also, you will not know the background of a wild raccoon.

Please do not buy one online, unless you know for sure who the breeder is.  Keep in mind, there are a lot of scams online that claim they have young raccoons.
please make sure you research who is selling them.   In other words, don't fall prey to the scammers.

if you are looking for a good breeder here are a few:
 
Hillview Exotics Tiny Tracks Wess Exotic Animals


There is also many raccoon owners on Sybil's Message board. please feel free to join and ask questions
prior to buying a raccoon.

 
Diet
Babies on the bottle, should have powdered milk with high fat content. This can be bought at a farm store or pet store.    NEVER give your raccoon whole milk.  You can later offer them some fruit when they are ready to eat. (depending on their age)  Raccoons are generally easy to bottle break.  At least mine was.

When they are off the bottle and ready for food, raccoons will eat almost anything.
Introduce their food slowly. Start with fruit or something soft. You can mix a little milk with it.
Some raccoons bottle break easier than others.  Larry (my oldest raccoon) decided he didn't want the bottle any more, in just one day.   George (my youngest raccoon) wanted his bottle, and took longer to break him.  I kept trying different foods that he really liked. raw eggs was one of them.
 
MAIN DIET Raccoons:
 Chicken or Turkey cooked Raw Chicken/Turkey Giblets Deer Meat  
Grain-Free Dog food Can Cat food (small amount) Fish (gutted) Liver
Organ Meats Raw Eggs *Minnows Fruits
* Minnows can be put in their play water. They love fishing for them.

The most common food for a raccoon is chicken or fish (beef and pork is not recommended)
A little bit of beef or pork is OK, but not as a daily diet.
FISH: If you catch fish for your raccoon, make sure the fish is gutted to check for hooks.

This is how I make their food:
Mix together:
1. Dry grain-free dog food (I use blue buffalo and/or 4-Health)
2. Can cat food (depending on how many coons you have to feed, use about 1/4 -1/2 can.

Mix together, add a little olive oil or similar. then mix again.
You can also add a little syrup or honey on top of their treats.
Treat I use:

I will feed raw chicken once in a while to my raccoon.  a small chicken thigh.

Another good option (which I use) is a meat grinder. after I cook their chicken, I grind the chicken along with the small bones (that is all that fits in my grinder)

You can also add a few raw carrots or other veggies to the mix.  Depends on how much you make as to how many carrots to use. don't over do it, they might not like the food.  You can try other veggies, but, mine seem to prefer the carrots.  I try and make large batches, and freeze it.

Marshmallows Dog Milk Bones pedigree
marrow bones
rawhide bones cherios Worthers Hard candy Nuts
The above is altered daily.  They don't get all the above in one day. I will put a little syrup or peanut butter over the marshmallows. My raccoons  sometimes get a small bowl of ice cubes with watermelon and a little syrup over it. You can try other fruits, but mine seem to prefer watermelon.

Corn on the cob is another food they like, but, they don't get this everyday.  I have found if I husk it, break it in half, and put a little bit of oil on it, my raccoons  seem to prefer it prepared this way.

Raccoons have a sweet tooth. Do not feed them anything that contains sugar replacement/sugar-free to them. 
Do not over feed them. They tend to put on weight easy.  They need a lot activity.

Raccoons can get bored with the same food everyday, so it is good to alternate their food.

Raccoons are really not big meat eaters, they don't prefer an all meat diet.
Also, raccoons don't always eat their food all at one time. they like to scavenge for their food.
You could try putting a couple dishes with a little of their food split up.
It is important to have water next to their food. Some like to dip their food in water.

Since raccoons are scavengers, putting some of the treats in a wide mouth bottle, bag, kong, they seem to enjoy working to get their food.

Raccoons should have a dish of water next to their food. They will dip their food into the water prior to eating it. They do make a mess.  you could put cardboard sheets under their water and food dish to make clean up a little easier.  The water dish must be cleaned once or twice a day. I generally have several water dishes for my raccoons.

They also have a couple large pans of water to play in. Raccoons love to play in water. So the pans should be something that they can't knock over.

In their outdoor pen, I use two large "cement mixing pans" These can be bought at Lowes or Home Depot.  The pans do not need to be filled full.  I fill them less about half than half.  I also have a flat log in front of the pans to make it easier for them to get in. However, raccoons can climb in without the extra step, but, I just like to make
their set ups as easy as I can for them. Mine seem to prefer the extra step to get into their pool.  Their pool gets changed everyday.  I just dump the water out, and replace it with fresh water.  I have an outdoor faucet and  hose in their pen. (makes it a lot easier to change)

Sometimes I will put minnows in their pool, and they just love the challenge of catching and eating them.  (best done in their outdoor pen) When available, I also put a large cat fish from our pond  or fish caught at a lake (must be gutted for fish hooks)  they will share their fish with the foxes. But, my foxes don't 'seem to prefer much fish.

 
ENRICHMENT
Raccoons seem to do better if they have someone to play with.   Mine love my dogs, and willCOONHOUND AND RACCOON play with  them, as long as the dog  is willing. My raccoons  prefer playing with the dogs. Helps keep them active.

Raccoons will play with toys, squeaky toys, kongs  filled  with treats is good also. I also will put some treats in a wide mouth plastic bottle. They seem to like the challenge of getting the treats out.

Brown paper bags with a little bit of treats in it, keeps them busy for a little while.
If a raccoon is kept occupied, they are less apt to get into as much trouble.

My raccoons loves to be petted and scratched, and he loves kisses.  However, I don't advise this, unless you are absolutely sure your coon is calm. 

I feel it is important to have activity for a raccoon. If they get bored, they are more apt to get into trouble.

Allow your raccoon to be as active as possible. They need room to run/walk around. If you keep your raccoon confined, then plan on having an aggressive raccoon.
 
 
LITTER TRAINING
Litter training a raccoon is pretty easy.  They need to be started the first day you get him/her.
When I first got mine, I kept them in a 3x4ft cage at night and a little during the day.
The cage should be large enough for a litter pan, feeding dish and bedding. 

Put a blanket on half of the cage. On the side where the blanket is, put a small box for them to sleep/hide in.  The litter pan should be at the opposite side of the cage. The food dish close to their bedding. All you need for the litter box is a small litter pan, or small flat box, line it with newspaper, then put a thin layer of litter.  (no need to fill it like you would for a cat, raccoons do not bury their feces) 

If the raccoon don't use the litter box, put his/her feces in the litter box. If he/she urinates, soak a little on some newspaper and put it in the litter box. 

When the baby raccoon is out of his/her cage. put the raccoon in the litter box every couple hours.
I had a pretty easy time with mine. It didn't seem to take long for them to figure it out.

As your raccoon gets older.  Keep a few litter boxes for him/her. Keep one or two in the house.
and one or two in it's pen.  I use those black cement mixer pans.  They are cheaper than a cat litter box,
and larger.  I line it with newspapers, and a thin layer of litter.
 
RACCOON'S DISPOSITION
Keep in mind, that a young raccoon is VERY destructive.FOX AND RACCOON
They might  chew electrical cords.  Plugged in or not. You will have to know their every movement.

They can be thieves, and will take whatever they can whenever they feel like it. They will scratch doors, carpets and can even bore holes in wood.
This is why they need to be watched their every move. some raccoons are calmer than others.  A lot depends on how they are raised.  As the raccoon gets older,
they seem to be calmer. assuming they have a lot of activity, and a lot of space.

Remember, raccoons are NOT like dogs and cats, they need to be raised in a different manor, with a lot of understanding and patience.

If a raccoon is raised properly, it is possible to have a really great raccoon.

If you do not have your raccoon fixed and do not spend much time with him/her, you will have a very aggressive raccoon.

Assuming you raised your raccoon properly, and your raccoon has a lot of activity. They can be really lovable.  (not quite like a dog or cat) but, for an exotic animal they can almost domestic.

Overall, raccoons are curious animals.  They want to investigate everything. This would mean, opening your cupboards, refrigerator, climbing. My oldest one use to get into mischief, but, my two youngest ones never did.

Since raccoons love water, you should keep the bathroom off limits. They will play in the toilet, in the bathtub, open cupboards and pull everything out. some might not.

However, keep in mind, that if there is a closed door, chance are, the raccoon will want to see want is behind that door.  If they want in bad enough, they will scratch the door and carpet. If you are concerned about your doors, you can put some kick plates on the bottom of the door. This will prevent the raccoon from scratching any holes in the door.

Raccoons can understand words, as long as a lot of time is spent with him/her.

Raccoons love water, so anything is "fair game" to them. If you have a glass of water or whatever, plan on the raccoon spilling it.

Some raccoons will climb up your drapes, (mine never has)

Basically, depending on the breeding stock you buy one at, it all boils down to how you raise him/her.
Also, the environment, enrichment and treatment will be a factor in his/her behavior.
 
OUTDOOR PEN
I feel it is very important to have an outdoor pen for a raccoon.  LARRY THE RACCOON

They love the outdoors, but, also love their owners.  Let them have the best of both worlds. 

I DO NOT RECOMMEND PUTTING YOUR RACCOON IN ANY TYPE OF CAGE. (with he exception when you bring him/her home as a baby)

An outdoor pen for an adult raccoon is very convenient, especially when you are not at home.  I do not advise leaving a raccoon in the house when you are not home.  They can be very destructive. Raccoons have almost human-like hands where they can open cupboards and refrigerators.  They are very curious animals, and will make a mess.

The outdoor pen should have several places where they can hide.  Mine seem to prefer being up high.
If possible, build them something they can climb up and hide in.  Otherwise,  wooden box with lots of straw should work.  Give them a couple optional hiding places.

The larger the pen, the better. The more room in the pen, the more exercise they will get.
The pen should be build with chain link. also a top, and bottom. The pen I have, is shared with my foxes.  I bought a 10x10 dog kennel chain link fence.  Then attached it to my house, which gave a pen area of 10x20. A doggie door that goes into the house, a corrugated roof panels. Basically, they have their own room with a doggie door to their pen, and a tower to climb.


The picture to the left shows their tower.  It is accessed from their pen.
The top has an enclosed box, below is two more shelves. 

The foxes and raccoons love it, they really get a birds eye view.
Each shelf has steps for them to climb.

I hope to enlarge their tower in the near future. whatever it takes to make them happy is what I try to do.

 
NEUTER/SPAY
I highly recommend neuter/spay your raccoon before they reach a year old.LARRY THE RACCOON
If a raccoon is not fixed. you will have a very moody raccoon on your hands.
At breeding time, their moods will change drastically.

I have seen and heard of raccoons that were intact, and were very nasty.  They will bite and when they do, I have heard that it can be very nasty bites.  some bites that people required stitches.

If your raccoon is fixed, you will have a much more pleasant  experience with him/her, assuming you understand their proper needs and care for them properly.

Remember to have a vet lined up prior to buying your raccoon. Find out if that vet has experience with raccoons or is willing to research prior to spay/neutering them.

Here is a partial list of vets that MIGHT treat a raccoon:
http://sybilsden/reference/vets.htm

 

 
CORRECTION
NEVER smack your raccoon.  They will not understand.  If your raccoon should show any aggression, tap him/her on the nose and say "NO". You could also try scruffing your raccoon with a gentle shake, and tell him NO. Eventually, he/she will understand. It will take persistence and time. If your raccoon don't respond to the "no" use a louder tone of voice.

Once your raccoon learns the word "NO" and assuming he/she is attentive. He/she should listen when he/she is doing something they should not be doing.

Mine like to climb on my computer desk. As soon as I say "NO" Larry will get down. The good part is, it seems, as they get older, they will calm down a little. Of course assuming the raccoon is raised properly and generally not bored.

Some raccoons might not want to be picked up. If you need to pick your raccoon to move them in their pen or another room, and they seem bitey, you can push them to the ground and single or double scruff them and carry them to where you want them. but, you have to be quick about it.

Keep in mine, "A bored animal is a bad animal"
 
 
DO' S AND DON'TS
Do NOT let young children near your raccoon.  It is even best to not let anyone other than the owner handle the raccoon.   If your raccoon should bite or scratch and that person needs hospital care, then it could be a sad ending for the raccoon.  I have heard this happen many times (even within family members).

Do NOT take your raccoon for walks in public.  You run a risk of the raccoon biting or scratching a stranger.  This could result in a lawsuit, and the loss of your raccoon.  You cannot put a collar on him/her, even a harness is debatable.  Raccoons can slip through them or manage to take it off.
Also, by having your raccoon in public, you stand a greater chance of someone complaining.
There are a lot of people out there that feel these animals should be left in wild.

Do NOT attempt to have their canines removed. This will break their jaw.

Do NOT take in a raccoon from the wild. (unless your state allows it)
if your state does, you could have more of a challenge of raising it.

Do NOT release your raccoon into the wild. If you find you cannot handle him/her anymore,
try and find a home for it, or take it to a rehab center.

Do talk to your raccoon as much as possible.  This is small part of building a bond with him/her.

Do pet/scratch/comb your raccoon, they like that, assuming you have a good natured raccoon and was raised properly. I use the stainless steel dog comb on mine.

Do get your raccoon spayed/neutered.

Do extensive research prior to buying a raccoon.

Do check with your state for the legalities of owning a raccoon.

Do have a large outdoor pen for your raccoon.
 

 
FINAL NOTE

There are a lot of responsible exotic animal owners out there.  But, the sad part is, there are many people that are NOT. But, there is also a lot of people that feel all exotic animals should be left in the wild. Then of course, there is the peta group, that feels no one should have any animals (even dogs and cats).

We are trying very hard to give information on what it is like raising exotic animals.

There are people out there that will buy these cute little animals, then when the animal grows,
these people realize they can't take care of them properly.  So when something goes wrong, the media knows about it. Then it makes all responsible exotic animal owners look bad. This in turn, is  generating more and more bans state wide.

If you are considering getting a raccoon or any exotic animal, PLEASE make sure you completely understand their proper needs and expense.  By doing so, this makes life much better for you and your pet.

I sincerely hope some of this information has helped.Please pitch in and spread the word to help others.

Thank you for taking the time to read through this.  However, there is still more that needs to be said about raccoons.

Please join my message board to learn more.  Once you sign up, you can post and you can then view all the pictures. Raccoon topic is under "little critters/raccoons"  http://sybilsden.com/bb/

 
This care sheet was written by Pat (owner of Sybils Den) Information provided was based on my experience with raccoons.


 



 

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