Raccoon as a Pet

There aren’t many of us that would consider owning a raccoon as a pet. Most people consider them to be bothersome. Rarely does a raccoon become a good pet.

The raccoon is a medium-sized mammal that can be found in most areas of North America. Raccoons grow to a length between 16 and 28 inches with their tail ranging between 7 and 16 inches. They are rarely more than 12 inches in height at the shoulder. The weight of an adult raccoon varies greatly depending upon what they eat but the average raccoon usually weight in-between 8 and 20 pounds. The most defining characteristic of the raccoon is the dark, black fur that surrounds the eye area. The rest of the face is usually white. The body fur of a raccoon is darkly colored and usually gray. Raccoons are also well known for their tails that has contrasting black rings around it.

Owning a raccoon takes a significant amount of time and patience. This is one pet that will need constant supervision, care and attention. A raccoon kept in a domestic setting has a life expectancy of 10 to 15 years so be prepared to make a lifelong commitment by adopting a raccoon. Once raised in a domestic setting, an adult raccoon will not survive in the wild.

Giving a raccoon lots of attention will usually keep them out of too much trouble. They are smart, active and full of energy. They love to play and should be socialized with other household pets and children at an early age.

Adult raccoons do not do well in confined spaces. They like to explore and have free run of the house. Baby raccoons can be caged for short periods of time but should be allowed to play outside of their cage. They can be very destructive and will require constant supervision just like a child. Cabinets, doors and other household items will need to be raccoon proof including child safe locks on all of the cupboards.

Raccoons are naturally omnivores and will feed on just about everything they can find in the wild. When raised domestically, raccoons often suffer from obesity. It is very important to provide your raccoon with a healthy, nutritious and varied diet. Provide your pet with plenty of water. Raccoons should be fed a healthy mixture of fresh fruits, fresh vegetables, chicken, turkey and fish. Alternatively, a raccoon can be fed a high-protein dog food mixture, high-quality cat food and in some cases ferret food. Raccoons will eat just about anything but in order to keep them healthy make sure you provide a proper diet.

Owning a pet raccoon is illegal in many states. As with any exotic animal, check the legality of owning one in your area and jurisdiction. You may be required to obtain specific licenses and permits. Also, not all veterinarians will treat raccoons because they are considered an exotic pet. Be sure that you find one willing to treat a raccoon before you adopt one. Raccoons are susceptible to roundworms and distemper.


  1. I noticed in YouTube that most of the videos of people’s pet raccoons are of “baby” pet raccoons. This makes me wonder if things get a little difficult once they get big enough to inflict some damage with those teeth. I have never seen a nice raccoon.

  2. They are very interesting to have as pets, Mine is a year old now, and fully grown. The teeth are very sharp and give lovely infections from the smallest nip – She is not a pet, but a fly fledged member of the family, with her own needs and wants – which do not always agree with the rest of us.

    • Sean – Thanks for commenting. Of all the pets we featured in the exotic pet section, the Racoon, along with the Fennec Fox were the most interesting. A racoon just seems like the last animal that would want to have anything to do with people. They are so angry in the world.

      How do people react when they meet your pet? How does your pet react to new people?

  3. I have a three and a half month old raccoon that i adore. My wife however , doesnt feel the same way. After a week long battle …she made me have her declawed because of the damage and climbing and scratching she was doing. Amber (raccoon) seems to be doing well since the declawing. I do not agree with doing this to any animal but it has provided peace and now my wife has more to do with amber. what do yall think about this?

    • John, I'm not by any means an expert, but it sounds like you did what you could to make things work. And if you plan on keeping Amber indoors with your family, she shouldn't have much need of claws for hunting or fighting. She's just miss out on the joys of climbing up curtains and making ribbons of your sofa fabric. 🙂

  4. What i want to know is how in the world you found a vet that would even consider declawing a raccoon? Around here where i live ( IL ) the vets wont touch one, not even for us rehabbers who have a permit to raise them.

  5. declawing a raccoon was quite drastic. trimmng the tip of the nails would have worked.

    I have a 6 year old raccoon. I bought him at the age of 5 weeks.
    he is a doll baby. not one mean streak in him. he has never shown his teeth or attempted to bite me.
    he loves attention, loves to be petted, and will give me kisses.

    yes, when they are younger, they like to explore and get into everything. but, belive it or not, they eventually outgrow that. he also has a pen that he shares with another raccoon and three foxes.
    he has three coonhound dogs that he loves, and they play very nice together.
    but, my raccoon is allowed in the house with me, when I am home. he is very faithful with the literbox.

    when getting a raccoon, it is important to have them fixed within a year.
    yes, they do need attention, mostly when they are young. they understand words.

    anyway, I wouldn't trade him for the world. he is really a good guy.

    • I have two raccoons. A girl [Bandit] and a boy [Smokey]. I've had them for 11 weeks now and I adore them. They are amazing company and love the just sit on my shoulder while I walk around the yard and love playing in the garden when I am weeding/watering it. I just wasn't sure…. I feel like they should have some more toys but I don't know what kind to get them. I feed them both morning and night, making sure they have fresh water but I sometimes wonder if I am feeding them enough and If I am feeding them the right stuff. Can you help me please? I've been doing research on them a lot since I first got them when they were about 4 maybe 4 1/2 weeks old. Thank you so much


  7. beth,

    they like marsmellows, eggs, fish, corn on the cob, dry cat food, watermellon, snacks. I alternate their food.
    a water dish should be next to their food dish. they like to dip their food in the water.

    it is very important you get them fixed at 6-12 months of age.

    alot of helpful information at http:sybilsden.com/bb/

  8. I really want a pet racoon but cant find where to bye one can anybody help? And a couple q’s …..

    -how many times a day do i feed one
    -what should i feed it

  9. Hey my names Caitlin and I live in Illinois. I’ve always wanted a raccoon as a pet ever since I was a little girl. For the wild ones I keep my distance but when I see them digging around my dumpsters I bring them back fresh tasty food. So I’ve been looking things up on google and I know I need a licence or a permit and it tells me that I can own one living in Illinois, but everytime I look for how and where to get one, it doesn’t tell me. I would have to wait a couple of years though because I live with my mom I’m in the process of saving for my own place, lol she’d have a heart attack if she came home and there was a raccoon chilling on the sofa. But it is deffendly something I’d love to do in the future. Any tips, answers to where to get the permit, and even places to buy one would be greatly appreciated. My email address is [email protected]

  10. I had a raccoon for 13 years and she just recently passed away. I have heard all of my life how raccoons don’t make good pets. Well mine was just like my baby. She stayed free in the house at all times, never once did she tear up anything or get into anything that she wasn’t suppose to. She slept in the bed with me, hung out with my toddler grand babies and never messed with my African grey parrot. I think it all depends on how much time you spend with them and how many toys they have to keep them occupied. They require a whole lot of attention and you might as well give up your social life and vacations if you get one. I never went anywhere overnight in 13 years because you can’t just leave them with anybody! I have never regreted getting her and would give anything to have her back in my life. I just got another one yesterday that is about 8 weeks old and is a little boy. I’m praying that he will be just as good as my sweet angel baby. Just remember you don’t own them, they own you!!!

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