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Raccoon Dilemma

Coatimundis, Kinkajous, Raccoons, Ringtails, Cacomistles, Olingos

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Raccoon Dilemma

Postby FrazzleFran » Tue Sep 25, 2018 8:56 pm

A 5 week old raccoon fell into my life mid-May. Rehabbers in the area were full, and I knew what would happen if animal care and control got involved. I asked my aunt if he could live on their property once he got older (we live in the middle of the city, she has 25 acres and a raccoon of her own), and she was fine with it. Fast forward 4 months. We built Jeffrey (the raccoon) an outdoor pen that is hidden by a 6 foot privacy fence. My uncle is worried that Jeffrey (male) won't get along with Screech (female).

Jeffrey is the sweetest and orneriest raccoon I've ever met. But...he has managed to destroy one of our couches, and is on the path to destroying another (he likes to crawl inside it and rip out the foam). He was kind of potty trained for a bit (but would mark everything in his path), but now that he's been outside he seems to have forgotten where he is supposed to pee when he's in the house. For the first couple of weeks (until we completely secured his cage), he would get out at night, and wait at the front door (or back door) until the following morning when we woke up. In that short time, he learned to open the front door (if it wasn't deadbolted) and let all of the cats out. Speaking of cats, they aren't very fond of him, neither is my dog (but my boyfriend's dog absolutely loves him, and he loves her - they'll play for hours).

I feel terrible leaving him in his cage. We give him at least an hour of playtime every day outside of his cage. (He does pretty well staying near when I'm in the backyard), but I know it isn't close to enough.

Friends of ours have been suggesting letting him go at a campground or at a state park, and I really think that would put him in a worse place than he is now.

We plan on taking him out to meet Screech in 2 weeks, but I am worried it won't go well, and having no options to fall back on. Keeping him would be much more realistic if I could count on him not peeing on stuff or destroying the furniture. We can deal with him knocking stuff over, destroying indoor plants, knocking over anything with food in it, dumping beer, etc. Honestly, I'd prefer to find him a home with an experienced owner that has the time and the property. On top if that, there's the whole "buying from a licensed breeder issue."

Any suggestions/thoughts/ideas are appreciated.
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Re: Raccoon Dilemma

Postby FrazzleFran » Tue Sep 25, 2018 11:33 pm

Attached is a picture of Jeffrey and his enclosure. His fountain was getting cleaned at the time.
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Re: Raccoon Dilemma

Postby Ana » Wed Sep 26, 2018 8:16 am

You're in a terrible position, you've made efforts to accommodate him, but the reality is so, so hard. I've shared my home with raccoons for years.
The couch is replaced annually. The entire house has to be steam cleaned weekly. If you aren't absolutely committed to sharing your home with him,
building structures for him, creating spaces in the home that belong to him, it can't work.

When he's alone in that cage, he's going to be frustrated and depressed. This can manifest itself in different ways, all of them negative. If he could
live on your aunt's property, with access to food and water, that would probably be the best he could hope for. 25 acres is a good space, and might allow him to meet other raccoons and join a family group. Whether he gets along with Screech or not shouldn't matter in that situation?

I would not abandon him in a state park. When he approaches humans for food, animal control will be contacted, he'll be killed. He doesn't have foraging
skills, he's habituated to humans, it isn't remotely safe. He will suffer and struggle and starve.

Please keep in mind that 23 hours a day of isolation is the harshest punishment a human being can receive from the justice system. It's going to
cause his emotional and cognitive development to stagnate and distort. He needs to be released as soon as possible.
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Re: Raccoon Dilemma

Postby Ash » Wed Sep 26, 2018 1:06 pm

Can you find a USDA-licensed education facility that could take him for you?
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Re: Raccoon Dilemma

Postby pat » Sun Sep 30, 2018 1:27 pm

I agree with Ana, some or most raccoons want their own space.
you can have the both of best worlds keep him in the enclosure, but, you can also bring him inside with you once he learns what is off limits.

as for litter training, in my experience, raccoons are easy to litter train. I use cat litter and put it in the cement mixing pans.
a cat litter box is too small, unless the raccoons are very young. I only use the small ones to start them out. (at the age of 2-4 weeks of age)

if you have an extra bedroom or space, you can let your raccoon claim it as his own.
mine have their own room that has a a doggie door to go out in their pen.
I also let them in the house with me. they actually are very well behaved.

I have raised dog beds and mine nap on them in their room or in the house.
also, I have bunk beds (no mattress of course) a ladder for them to climb on the top.
they like that.

this is what I mean about the raised dog beds:
https://www.chewy.com/b/dog-288?query=e ... gIsU_D_BwE

I don't mean to be rude at all, only sharing my opinion, but the enclosure you have is too small.
what I did with mine was buy a 10x10 dog kennel put it up against the house, where it made a 10x20 enclosure.
they also have choices of climbing up high or on the ground. most raccoons like to be high up.
I have pictures of it, (I have so many pictures, I have to find the one I am talking about) :lol:

as for your raccoon chewing furniture. you can correct your raccoon. it takes time, but, it will work with most raccoons.
they do understand words, it might take them longer than it would a dog. when you see your raccoon getting into something he shouldn't,
tell him no, if no response, say it louder. also, you could try the bitter apple, not sure how effective it is.

again, I am not trying to be a know-it-all, cause I always try to learn new ideas. I only mentioned what worked for me.
I know Ana and Dewey's mom also has a good set up and also has a lot of experience with raccoons.
I have raised raccoons for about 15 years. I never had a problem with any of them.
raccoons especially young ones, need lots of attention.

some people have biting issues, I never did. but, if you do, let me know.

one last thing, are you able to get your raccoon fixed? If at all possible, I recommend it.

I really hope it all works out for you. I love raccoons and they do make good pets as long as they are handled properly and understood.

please keep us updated.
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Re: Raccoon Dilemma

Postby Trefoil » Sun Sep 30, 2018 5:27 pm

About your fears of him not getting along with your Aunt's female. If they don't get along then they will ignore each other for the most part. A coon isn't like a dog, they don't seen to seriously fight. If (when) he approaches her, she will growl,snarl,&/ snap at him and he will most likely back off. That will continue off and on until they decide whether they are best buds or not and whoever ends up being the boss will always decide how close they want the other. Because its her home place and because she's the female, she will probably be the boss. Is either of them fixed? What my worry would be is baby coons in the future. Please don't abandon him to the wild- its a death sentence-he will approach people and be killed as possibly rabid.
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Re: Raccoon Dilemma

Postby Trefoil » Sun Sep 30, 2018 5:35 pm

Thought I should add. When one snarls and the other back off, the snarler won't chase the other. The snarl,ect. is a "back off, you're too close" or "i want what you've got" signal and whoever is dominate gets the prize. In my experience that is the extent of coons fighting.
So unless they are confined to a small space if they don't get alone they will each go their own way.

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