The cries wake me up every morning at around 7:30 am. After a long night of sleeping, my babies are ready to eat. They climb and pat at the walls as they impatiently wait for the bottle. Today they are eating a mixture of apple sauce and hot water. At seven weeks old my baby raccoons are actually starting to look like the adult raccoons they will be. It seems like just yesterday, a little under a month ago, there mother had been killed by a passing car. I was at my Dad’s house and heard their hungry whining coming from an old carburetor box. Knowing they were not old enough to care for themselves, I researched how to take care of them. It is rewarding, however it is a lot of work.
Raccoons are of the genus Procyon. They are a very adaptable carnivore and actually have a thumb. Although not opposable they can use this thumb to create a lot of mischief all in there effort to forage. Raccoons will nest with there mother until they are ready to be on there own. Of course when I found these babies they were unable to live on there own. In fact two of the little guys were two sick to live. Jeffery and Billie are sadly missed, they just could not take the strain of being away from there mother. Earl has been adopted by someone. That leaves Nikia the only girl and Zach one of the stronger boys.
Baby Raccoons cannot digest cow milk properly. It can give them bacteria that will inevitably kill them. Even if they would be fine it will most certainly constipate them. For this reason the best thing to feed a baby raccoon is KRM(kitten milk replacement). After the first four weeks of there life I began adding bananas to there milk and mixing it up for them. Next I moved on to peaches, applesauce, more bananas and recently even a low protein dog food. As always I make it the consistency they can handle in there stomachs.
When they are nearly two months old you can give them some moist dog food and it is time for them to learn how to take food without a bottle. Many people will still bottle feed them, especially if they plan on keeping them as pets because it seems to help the bonding process. When Nikia and Zach were two weeks old they were only eating a couple teaspoons in a setting. Then they moved up to two ounces. Now they are eating almost two and a half ounces every three hours. It is wonderful because they sleep all night long.
A baby Raccoons body temperature is nearly 103 degrees normally. For this reason it is a good idea to place there box or cage onto a heating pad to keep the warm. You always should add blankets to the cage because they love to cuddle. These babies do not mean to hurt you but when you are holding them you need to be watchful of there claws and there teeth. They will climb all over you if you let them. When they are not hungry often they will even nuzzle your cheek with there little noses.
In most states there are regulations regarding the possession of Raccoons. If you are going to keep them as a pet you need a native wildlife permit. There are many things to consider though before deciding if you would like one of these lovable creatures as a pet. It is a good idea to spay or neuter them, due to aggression that will cycle when there mating season is coming along. Raccoons are foragers and love shiny things. There little hands with thumbs allow them to open every nook and cranny of your house. If you keep an animal in a cage, you are caging a wild creature and in my opinion is just not right.
There are some good things about having a raccoon as a pet. You are never able to domesticate them like you would a dog or cat. They are truly a companion and will share the house with you. They are lovable but will only listen if they want to. However they are easily house trained to a litter box.
It has been a rewarding experience raising these babies and I have not decided if I plan on keeping them as pets. I did apply for the license in preparation though.