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New to Raccoon life..took in an adult

Posted: Sun Jan 21, 2018 12:53 am
by Critter Lady
Hi there,
I'm new to this page, so thank you all in advance for your time and input.
I recently acquired an 11 yr old male raccoon. The gentleman that cared for him is in the hospital and doesn't plan to be able to care for him again. I've done research but have had a hard time finding advice. This poor coon is severely over weight ( fed a horrible diet...) and lived in an outdoor enclosure his whole life. I'm having a hard time getting him to eat anything remotely healthy.. I've tried chicken, turkey, fish, veggies, apples, raspberries, blueberries, cherries, blackberries, grapes, honey dew melon.... He was fed a low quality dog and cat food kibble with Oreos, and occasionally peanuts & raw egg. I also for the life of me cannot get a harness/leash on him... He pulls it off with his darn hands right away or backs out of it and hides so I can't get it on..I don't think he has ever had one on. I'd like to get him moving and more exercise!
He is very sweet otherwise, warming up nicely, gives kisses, and loves being brushed/scratched/pet.
He is still currently in an outdoor enclosure..I was told by the previous owner that there is no way he should be brought inside it would be too hard on him.
I would absolutely love any input or advice if anyone has had a similar situation or has ideas. Is it too late to train an 11 yr old coon?
Thank you!!!

Re: New to Raccoon life..took in an adult

Posted: Sun Jan 21, 2018 1:02 am
by TamanduaGirl
Maybe try at least a quality grain free kibble so it would be similar but not as bad for him.

You could try using some honey on the good food items to try and entice him then if he goes for that slowly eliminate the honey.

Re: New to Raccoon life..took in an adult

Posted: Sun Jan 21, 2018 6:16 am
by Ana
So much depends on your house, but you can absolutely let him in and see how it goes, even if it's
only for brief visits, I think he'd enjoy it. Also moving around can help him lose the weight.

A coon can live up to around 20 years, you might have plenty of time together. ♡

P.S - my boys act like they are being murdered when the harness approaches them, so that's pretty normal. If you're in PA, there are several coon people who you can get support from!

Re: New to Raccoon life..took in an adult

Posted: Sun Jan 21, 2018 3:28 pm
by DeweysMom
Welcome, Critter Lady!! Glad you have joined here!! Please take the time to explore the information contained here - there is information on just about any question or concerns you may have contained on this forum, from foods to training and everything in between!

As TamanduaGirl said, definitely get him on a grain-free kibble. That's the first priority. Begin by mixing a little at a time in with the kibble he's familiar with, and gradually eliminating the other kibble. A transitional period of about 2 weeks would be a good idea. It'll give his body time to adjust to different food without messing his guts up and giving him diarrhea or constipation.

Not sure how much kibble you're feeding, but anything more than about a quarter cup twice/day of high-quality kibble is too much. If you need some suggestions of good kibble options, please inquire. There are many options out there, some seem more palatable to raccoons than others. Mine like brown rice and chicken kibble. Definitely nix the cat food. Not only is it higher in calories and protein than they need, but also can be detrimental to their kidneys. Mine do get a few pieces every once in a while as a treat, but it is NOT part of their normal diet by any means.

In his enclosure, you can hang or zip tie fast some plastic beverage bottles, such as quart milk jugs with the tops cut off, and attach to various areas of his enclosure. Then place his kibble in them, here and there, so he has to physically work his way around his enclosure to get his meals. They love doing this - it's more like how they ingest foodstuffs in the wild.

I would surmise the reason he's not eating any of the healthy food that you've tried is simply because he is NOT hungry. And that's OK. If he's grossly overweight, he can stand to take in less calories. As he drops the excess weight, he may begin to be interested in other foods, and also begin to be a bit less sluggish and more active. Also, this time of year, in the wild, raccoons take in less calories because there simply isn't very much out there to feed on, and so their body tells them they don't need to take much in. My guys have cut their intake down drastically in just the last 3 week, where before they were acting like starving hyenas. LOL

As far as too old to train or try in your house? Nah, it's never too late to try. Since he IS an older raccoon, chances are he won't be nearly as destructive as a younger one might be, simply because he is older and just not all that interested in checking stuff out. If you are seriously interested in trying him in your home, select a room that you can safely contain him in, remove anything of value or detriment to him and give it a try. He very well may surprise you. Our one raccoon is a terror in the house - he'll destroy, confiscate or break anything he can get his hands on. Our other raccoon, he could care less and would be a peach to have in our home, but because our one dog may very well attack the latter, we've not brought him indoors to try it. But they have a warm, LARGE and comfortable enclosure with many things to occupy themselves with, and I visit and interact with them at least twice a day - sometimes more, if they are in the mood. And they also have each other to play with, sleep with, etc.

If you've not already offered him toys, please do so. Having a daily play time with him will not only make him more active, but it will increase the bond between the two of you. Stuffed toys (dog quality) are usually a favorite. But until you see how he is with toys, don't allow him to have them unsupervised, as he could take apart, destroy the item and ingest something, which is never a good thing! Shiny objects, jingle balls, seashells, smooth rocks - these are things that interest them. You could also get a few of the treat balls/toys for dogs, and put his meal kibble in them, making him have to work for his meals. It will stimulate his mind, and get him moving, rather than just placing a bowl with his kibble down in front of him to eat while he's sitting.

I do want to thank you for taking this love in and giving him a home, now that he's lost the only one he's ever known. We have a good bunch of raccoon parents here that can help you as you navigate the new terrain of raccoon companionship. It sounds like he's a sweetie pie, so half the battle is already won. We're here to help with any questions, issues, etc that you might have. Please do not hesitate to come here for advice, help, etc.

And photos!! If you have some. We love seeing everyone's fur-kids!!

Re: New to Raccoon life..took in an adult

Posted: Wed Jan 24, 2018 9:45 pm
by Trefoil
Hi critter lady, welcome. He and you are so lucky to have him. What's his name? 1. I don't think coons are ever too old to be potentially destructive. So you are going to want to coon proof your house. put away anything fragile that you treasure,not up (coons climb) away, out of sight and best behind locked door. Failing that you can let him in and go ahead of him and secure everything he shouldn't have that he shows interest in. If you can, its easier to lock him out of your kitchen and put his water in your bathtub. I use a cement mixing pan or a busboy tub. They both work well. The one room deal is if you are going to want to lock him in it when you are away. I feed a non grain dog food to my coons (taste of the wild) but if you think about it,grain is a food for coons, so as long as its a good quality food It doesn't have to be non grain. It may help widen his list of acceptable foods if you try sharing what you are eating with him. Otherwise just keep trying, he should be more agreeable to different foods before he's eaten. Have you tried cheese, just as a treat? I have the same problem with harnesses,probably because I didn't keep at it when they were young enough. He sounds like he's a real treasure and you'll enjoy him even more as a house pet and I think once he gets used to it he'll like it better too. I don't think a coon is ever too old to train you.

Re: New to Raccoon life..took in an adult

Posted: Sat Jan 27, 2018 8:14 pm
by Critter Lady
His name is Rocky ☺️ I'd add a picture but I'm not quite sure how to! I just wanted to thank you guys all so much for all the helpful advice I've received, I appreciate it more than you know!

Re: New to Raccoon life..took in an adult

Posted: Sun Jan 28, 2018 9:05 am
by pat
hi critterlady and welcome.

I know how hard it is to keep weight off raccoons. my oldest one is obese, well was, he is losing weight. I cut back his food.
he don't get many treats. I feed mine cooked chicken, a few mini marshmellows. not much dog food and not every day.

you could try grapes, mine love grapes. my oldest one love prunes :roll:
watermellon is a good try. if your's won';t eat better foods, start out with sprinkling a little brown sugar or syrup (not sugar free food) on the food he won't eat. then decrease it each day.

if you need him to walk more, you could try putting a few marrow bones (mine love) and let him walk to get the marrow bone.
or you can have a treat in your hand and let him follow you around for awhile (this might help with him moving more)

also any where you can put something he can climb on? mine have bunk beds in their room with a ladder to go to the top.
my oldest one loves it up there as does my other 2. they have a place on the top to sleep in. you can always put a carrie on top with a blanket in it.
mine also have outdoor enclosure, but this time of year they stay in their room more. when the weather gets better, they will hang out in their enclosure where there are more places for them to cliimb.

Re: New to Raccoon life..took in an adult

Posted: Fri Feb 02, 2018 7:02 pm
by Trefoil
About toys- mine love small rocks and golf balls (its sooooo entertaining to roll golf balls around the bath tub at 3am). They like but quickly desqueaker stuffed toys. One of mine had a pacifier he loved. Some will chase a laser just like a cat. They are all different in what they like but mine have all played with and sometimes treasured their toys.