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4.5 month old blind pet raccoon pacing in circles

Coatimundis, Kinkajous, Raccoons, Ringtails, Cacomistles, Olingos

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flufferluv
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4.5 month old blind pet raccoon pacing in circles

Postby flufferluv » Sat Sep 15, 2018 3:54 pm

Hi everyone. I'm new here - and SO glad I found you all! There's loads of information online on how to care for a baby raccoon with intentions of releasing it, but not very much info for juvenile or adult care that I could find.
I rescued a 4 wk old raccoon one night in May that had just been attacked by a dog. It was in the street with it's one eyeball hanging out of it's socket, and the other eyeball pushed into the cavity, and with a puncture wound right through it's snout. None of the wildlife centres would take him as they were beyond capacity, and he didn't seem like a good candidate for release (I live in Ontario Canada where all wildlife must be released after care or be euthanized). I did manage to find a local vet who would treat him, so the next afternoon he had the one eye removed, his nasal puncture closed, & was treated for a variety of smaller issues. We all had hoped that his other eye would be fine after the swelling went down, and that he'd be able to be released eventually. But sadly, that eye had to be removed also. My husband & I made the decision that we would take on the care of this little creature for as long as he is with us. My mom has raised & released several abandoned baby raccoons throughout my life, so I'm not new to them ... however I'm new to them as adults ... and I'm certainly new to them as blind! Our beautiful baby Wonder is 4.5 months old now. He moves around just like any seeing raccoon I've ever experienced. He's a little miracle for sure!
HERE'S MY CONCERN: About 3 weeks ago he started pacing around the dining table while I sat at it. I thought he was bored, so I took him outside to play. But then he did it again later that evening. My husband was away for 4 days on a canoe trip at this time, so I thought maybe he's missing more of his daddy's type of play, so I really upped his play time and ensured there was lots of running around outside. I did this every day that Andrew was gone. But Wonder still paced. So then I was more worried that it was a sign of chronic boredom or distress (as it can be in dogs), so I got a 2nd massive cat tree for him climb inside, and some foraging type toys that I put his food in. I should add that he has free run of our 1250 sq ft condo & 650 sq ft wood deck that's equipped with a small pond surrounded by a couple of small trees & tall grasses, a rock river bed installed just for him, about 30 linear ft of garden boxes filled with vegetables & bushes that he can destroy at his whim, along with lots of furniture & 2 cedar sheds he can climb on. He's safe here and cannot get down (from the 2nd flr) where he would be in danger from people, pets, cars, etc. He has lots of toys strewn about our place, and I also have 2 adult cats that he will sort of chase sporadically, but they won't play with him. So, I can't see it as chronic boredom, but "maybe". He seems to pace more when I'm sitting at the dining table (I often use my laptop there). Food will not distract him. Going outside seems to be the only thing that will pull him away from this behaviour.
Has anyone else experienced this behaviour? Do you think it's him coming into sexual maturity a little early? I read that it's best to wait until they're 6 months old before having them fixed. He's not even 5 months old yet ... or at least the vet thinks. Is this something normal in male or female behaviour? ... I'm not completely convinced the vet was correct in telling us that Wonder is a male. I had to wipe the wet pee from the fur in his genital area (as I often do), but he was in a calm & sucky mood yesterday when I did this, and so I was able to get a better look. Well I'm pretty sure I saw a small slit. I'm waiting for another submissive mood to strike, and I'm going to check again.
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TamanduaGirl
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Re: 4.5 month old blind pet raccoon pacing in circles

Postby TamanduaGirl » Sun Sep 16, 2018 2:14 am

The end of the penis has a slit in it. Males should have a penis more belly area, females are lower kinda between the legs like dogs.

I think the main question would be how long is he pacing? I'm not a raccoon owner but one of my anteaters in the past would run circles around the coffee table for awhile till he ran off some steam but he didn't do it all night. Ikigai is similar in that he will run back and forth in his window, can be from my doing something upsetting but sometimes he does it to blow off some steam but he doesn't keep doing it a long time.

Try buying him/her a cat wheel. I've seen other coons use them and after some training to use it he can get his jog on without circling.
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Re: 4.5 month old blind pet raccoon pacing in circles

Postby flufferluv » Sun Sep 16, 2018 7:28 pm

Hi Mary. Thanks so much. Well now we're totally confused as to what personal pronoun to use on our beautiful Wonder baby - LOL! He/She can run anywhere from 10-30 mins if left alone without our interference or distraction. So maybe it is just a means of burning off extra calories & energy. I certainly hope he/she isn't stressed because we don't know what else we could do. But I love the idea of the cat wheel if it's just the sense of running that he/she is looking for. I'll let you know how it goes. Thanks again.
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Re: 4.5 month old blind pet raccoon pacing in circles

Postby Trefoil » Mon Sep 17, 2018 5:55 pm

If its a boy, he will have a penis like a dog only smaller. Because he is blind, get in the habit of talking to him and otherwise making sure he knows when you are approaching him, when he's older he will bite if startled. Does it work if you put him on your lap while you're on the computer, maybe with a toy or 2 to play with? Don't play rough with him. I'm so glad he's got you. Good luck.
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Re: 4.5 month old blind pet raccoon pacing in circles

Postby DeweysMom » Thu Sep 20, 2018 1:36 pm

It really isn't all that hard to discern a male from a female. A male has a penis & sheath on his belly, about 2/3's of the way towards the back end, and a female doesn't. If you rub around in that area, even if you can't visually see it, you certainly would be able to feel it. Typically, the penis stays inside the body, but you can still feel the end of it if you rub the area. I can't believe the vet completed surgery on this poor lil creature and never bothered to look - or tell you - the gender.

However, that being said, thank you so much for rescuing, treating and giving this little guy (or gal) a furrever home.
Dana

2 Dogs - a Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Retriever, & an Australian Shepherd; 3 Cats; 2 horses, 1 mule; One very spoiled raccoon and the love of my life, Dewey James, and the recently added but much adored, Bobby Lee, brother raccoon to Dewey
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Re: 4.5 month old blind pet raccoon pacing in circles

Postby TamanduaGirl » Thu Sep 20, 2018 5:01 pm

The vet did tell her he was a male but she was doubting that because she saw a slit. So I said the penis(sheath over it really) can have a slit that she might have seen. Will mainly come down to location. If the vet thought he was a boy he probably is since they are set up much like dogs down there.
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Re: 4.5 month old blind pet raccoon pacing in circles

Postby DeweysMom » Sun Sep 23, 2018 6:30 pm

I guess I missed the part where she said the vet said it was a male.

flufferluv, if you're on Facebook. look up Trouper and Friends. Trouper is a blind raccoon who is used as an ambassador for teaching people about wild animals. Miss Dot (Trouper's main caretaker) may be able to give you some ideas of how to deal with, entertain, etc, a blind raccoon. You can also find limited information about Trouper and the organization here:
http://www.wildlifeeducationproject.org/about/
Dana

2 Dogs - a Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Retriever, & an Australian Shepherd; 3 Cats; 2 horses, 1 mule; One very spoiled raccoon and the love of my life, Dewey James, and the recently added but much adored, Bobby Lee, brother raccoon to Dewey
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Re: 4.5 month old blind pet raccoon pacing in circles

Postby Ana » Mon Sep 24, 2018 9:29 pm

Does s/he have any 'dens' where s/he can go for privacy? Coons are semi arboreal, and love to sleep up high. If you could put a den at the top of one of your cat trees, I bet it would be appreciated. As the seasons change there is some anxiety, uncertainty. My Corso, who is visually impaired, does a 'crying in the hallway' thing as fall approaches. Now that it's been going on for so many years, there's a definite pattern. I use unsalted unprocessed sunflower seeds to distract him.

Top of my head, pacing at the dining room table, often while you're on the computer -

1. Wants to be in your lap, or on the table, destroying your keyboard.
2. MOM MOM FALL IS COMING MOM ARE WE READY FOR FALL MOM????

Adding dens up high helped a LOT here. You can go very simple, like a plastic tote with an entry hole, or a wood box, cement board box.
They will naturally den up during the colder months, it might be soothing to him to have such a thing.

What a gorgeous little ....umm. individual! :lol: You've done a good thing here, both for you and him. Raccoons don't see super well - he/she
will thrive with you. Sorry to be late to the thread here, six raccoons in the house is a full time job and I don't recommend it! :lol:
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Re: 4.5 month old blind pet raccoon pacing in circles

Postby flufferluv » Sun Oct 14, 2018 3:37 pm

Thank you so much everyone! And, I'm sorry I haven't been able to respond or update until just now. I've read & considered all advice long before today.

Ana - I don't know how in the world you're coping with 6 raccoons! It seems that this little guy has just about taken over my life.

Trefoil - he's too big to play on my lap while I sit. Sometimes he'll come play on the dining table, but when he paces, he seems to just want to be left alone to run. Toys & food will not distract him.

DeweysMom - I've read & watched a lot on Trouper ... what a story! But reaching out to Miss Dot is a great idea. So far, Wonder doesn't show any signs of brain injury so he's as energetic as a seeing raccoon, but I'm sure she's got lots of tips I could use. I've raised a couple of blind cats, so have some experience with noise training (talking lots to them, word training, tapping, etc) & of course, not moving things around too much. It really is quite incredible to watch Wonder run around ... you would never guess he's blind. I'm assuming their other senses are stronger than a cats, because the cats moved a bit more cautiously after they were blind.

GENDER UPDATE: about 2 weeks after I posted my original questions, his little slit more than doubled in size and protruded somewhat like a penis ... so Wonder is definitely a boy.
PACING UPDATE: he still paces, and even does it outside now on occasion, but it seems to be less intense. Our guess is that he's burning off some extra energy or dealing with some stress. We've cut down on the fruit we feed him to see if less sugar in his diet has any affect.
DEN UPDATE: we have 2 cat trees - one smaller 4 ft tall one and a much larger 7 ft tall one with several dens & perches. He doesn't sleep on either of them, but just plays on them. The cats use them to get away from him mostly. But he climbs up on our cedar shed & cedar pergola now, and sleeps up there for hours during the day. We always make him come in at night because 2 wild raccoons have started coming on to our deck at night.

QUESTION RE MARKING: He's scheduled to get neutered tomorrow, but I may reschedule it for next week as I worry he may have a bladder infection ... or he may just be marking. We were away for 4 days (Tues-Fri) for the first time since having him. My mom (who's raised & released many wild baby raccoons) came to stay with him while we were gone. He took to my mom right away, but she said he did seem distressed while we were gone, with a lot more pacing and not eating his usual food in his usual amounts. He also started peeing everywhere while we were gone ... especially on the sofa and on our bed. So, out came the waterproof mattress covers over all the furniture again. I'm not sure if he's marking out of stress or sexual maturity or because he can smell the 2 wild raccoons; or he may have a bladder infection as our small pond that he drinks from often got really dirty with soil & mosquito larvae (the pump broke). Any thoughts on if this could be marking or not?

Thanks so much.
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Re: 4.5 month old blind pet raccoon pacing in circles

Postby Trefoil » Sun Oct 14, 2018 5:47 pm

Probably peeing out of stress,but the vet can check for infection. I'm really afraid if you continue to let him outside unsupervised that you are going to lose him and he won't survive. Its getting colder ( where I am at least) and if it is where you are, he is going to be looking for somewhere secure to sleep during the day. Also being outside exposes him to all the disease & parasites that attack wild animals.
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Re: 4.5 month old blind pet raccoon pacing in circles

Postby flufferluv » Sun Oct 14, 2018 7:29 pm

Thx Trefoil. He has an appt with vet tomorrow. They’ll check for infection and if it’s all good then they’ll neuter him.
He can’t get anywhere from our deck. Because he’s blind, he can’t find the way the wild raccoons get up (they climb a small cedar tree, walk along top of a chain link fence, scale up the corner of a brick wall about 2.5 ft, and then climb over our railing. Wonder can’t feel anything below our railing, being 2.5 ft down, so I don’t think he’ll attempt to scale down it. My husband lined the side of our smaller shed with plexiglass so Wonder can’t climb up on that one where he would very likely find access to a large tree or to our neighbours deck.
He’s recently started climbing up on top of our larger shed and sleeping there for 2-3 hours during the day. We haven’t had to close our patio doors yet because it’s just started getting colder, so he’s had full access in and out of our place since we’ve had him. I don’t know how he’ll react when we’ll need to open the door for him. Maybe we can train him to ring a bell. Lol
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Re: 4.5 month old blind pet raccoon pacing in circles

Postby flufferluv » Tue Oct 16, 2018 2:59 pm

WONDER'S A GIRL! This has been a funny ride so far. We randomly called her a girl when we rescued her at around 4 weeks old, but then my mom believed that based on the number of rings on her tail that she was a boy (I don't even know if that's a real thing or not - lol). The vet (who admittedly has never treated a raccoon before) also thought she was a boy but said he didn't really know yet as she wasn't showing any discernible signs that he could recognize. Well, she's spayed now, and we're really enjoying telling her just how pretty of a girl she is ... she already knows she's tough as nails :)
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Re: 4.5 month old blind pet raccoon pacing in circles

Postby pat » Tue Oct 16, 2018 3:22 pm

guess he is a she, if she was spayed. I am sorry to hear your raccoon is blind. how sad. was she born like that? sure wish there is way to reverse that, but, I doubt it

overall, it is pretty easy to tell a male or female. the male's penis is more on the lower to almost mid stomach.
the female has nothing on the stomach.

some people think a raccoon is designed like a dog, which they are not.

this brings me to a funny story, with my 1st raccoon. my sister and brother-in-law were visiting me, my brother-in-law was petting my raccoon. he kept fooling with the raccoons stomach and when I asked him what he was doing, he said he was trying to pull off a piece of candy. however, it was not candy, it was his penis. (city folks LOL)
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Re: 4.5 month old blind pet raccoon pacing in circles

Postby flufferluv » Tue Oct 16, 2018 4:09 pm

LOL!! Now THAT'S funny!! Oh Pat - please let me tell this story to my friends & family ... they'll love it!

Wonder wasn't born blind. She was attacked by a dog when she was just around 4 wks old, so I'm guessing she fell out of a tree or the dog got her while her mom may have been moving dens. I found her in the middle of the street in a quiet residential neighbourhood around the corner from my home just moments after the attack, with her left eyeball hanging on her face, and her right eyeball pushed in behind the socket, and with a huge puncture through her palette & snout. None of the sanctuaries could take her, but I miraculously found a vet who would risk everything to save her. So, we're breaking the law by keeping her, but I just couldn't send her to her death without an honest fight. We had hoped that the one eye would heal and that she'd be able to be released eventually, but it had to be removed a week later. We made an honest decision to change our lives and to care for her for as best we can for as long we can. She's doing far better than we ever imagined, and she's been quite the challenge, but as you already know ... she's rewarded us tenfold. We love her so much. The level of care she's required has only strengthened our bond ... with her, and honestly, also with each other. The teamwork and intense co-nurturing has been incredible for our relationship. I wouldn't recommend it for the feint of heart, but I also wouldn't change it for the world now.
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Re: 4.5 month old blind pet raccoon pacing in circles

Postby Trefoil » Tue Oct 16, 2018 5:57 pm

Congratulations! That is just too funny. Usually urination problems if not due to infection are a hormone problem with spayed females- easily treated by a vet. Did he find any signs of infection? For the right person coons make a great pet, you are both lucky you found her.

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