10 Reasons Why Raccoons Do Not Make Good Pets

Raccoons are adorable wild animals with mask-like facial appearances. Their cuteness is what most people love, with some even considering having one as a pet.

The fact is that pet raccoons are not common and not many people can handle the demands that come with keeping one. Do not let their lovely, cute, and innocent faces fool you into thinking you will enjoy a blissful life with a raccoon in your home.

So, the big question is this: Do raccoons make good pets?

Do raccoons make good pets, Why Raccoons Do Not Make Good Pets
Unfortunately, raccoons do not make good pets

Do raccoons make good pets?

Domesticated or rehabilitated raccoons can make good pets, but there are no guarantees. However, raccoons taken from the wild do not make good pets, even when adopted while still very young. They are disease carriers, temperamental, destructive, unpredictable, mischievous, and expensive to feed.

Why raccoons do not make good pets

Keeping a raccoon as a pet is not for the faint-hearted. It is like having a puppy for no less than 10 years. So, why exactly is it not a wise idea to keep a pet raccoon?

1. Raccoons are disease carriers

Raccoons carry many diseases, some of which can be transmitted to humans. The most common one is rabies, which still does not have a vaccine. Raccoons can also carry and transmit Salmonella, distemper, leptospirosis, and fleas to humans.

Baylisascaris is a life-threatening infection humans can suffer from if they get roundworms from raccoons. Other diseases raccoons carry include Chagas disease and Rocky Mountain spotted fever (RMSF).

2. They are wild and aggressive

Another reason raccoons do not make good pets is their wild and aggressive nature. Sometimes they go to an extent of biting people and other pets. Wild raccoons become aggressive as young as six months old.

If you’re bringing a domesticated pet into your home, just know there’s always a risk it could bite. This can happen when a raccoon is unhappy, stressed, frustrated, or feeling threatened.

3. Hard to find care for them

Finding a pet sitter for raccoons is never easy. Many people are afraid because they can become aggressive and bite. It becomes trickier when you need to travel and you cannot find a pet sitter. In most cases, you will not be able to board your raccoon. That’s a dilemma you do not wish to find yourself in.

4. Vets are rare to find

Raccoons can suffer from a host of health problems such as skin infections, fleas, urinary tract infections, obesity, and even intestinal parasites. You will need veterinary assistance when this happens.

Unfortunately, not many vets treat or provide veterinary care for raccoons. You will find it hard to find a veterinarian who specializes in treating and caring for exotic pets. So, before you consider having a pet raccoon, think about whether there’s an exotic vet near you.

5. Raccoons can be destructive

Raccoons do not make good pets due to their destructive nature. They can destroy furniture, bedding, clothes, houseplants, and drywall just to name a few. They often steal shiny objects and will relocate your personal stuff, which complicates things for you when you need them.

Keeping a raccoon means you will have to set aside a room for them full of engaging toys and climbing perches. Lack of enough exercise and space will trigger their destructive instincts and there is little you can do to tame them.

6. They are messy eaters

Raccoons are naturally omnivorous foragers. They can eat almost anything, which means it’s difficult to set a specific diet for them. Additionally, they love to dip their food in water before eating, which often leaves a mess that you have to clean more often than you would like.

You will need to provide different foods including veggies, fruits, insects, and protein-rich dog food. One of the issues that come with their heavy eating habits is obesity, a problem you will need to manage to keep your pet healthy.

7. They are difficult to housetrain

The beauty of keeping pets such as dogs and cats is that they are easy to housetrain. The same cannot be said about pet raccoons. It is difficult to train them to use a litter box or toilet, or to stay calm while on a leash.

Even if you somehow succeed to train your pet raccoon to use a little box or a toilet, there is absolutely no guarantee that you won’t come back home one evening to find your home in the worst possible state.

8. Raccoons need constant supervision

Raccoons are known to be mischievous. Just leave them alone for a short while and you could return to a messy house. Keeping a raccoon is like having a puppy for like 15-20 years. It will need your constant attention and cannot be left alone for long periods.

Since raccoons can live up to 20 years, you need to ask yourself whether you’re ready to provide constant supervision to your pet for that long. And in case you’re tired of keeping one as a pet, rehoming a raccoon is not that easy.

You might be forced to euthanize them because the probability of surviving in the wild reduces after getting domesticated.

9. They can be disruptive

Raccoons can also be disruptive, especially when they are stressed, unhappy, or frightened. While they can produce nice sounds such as chittering and whimpering, you should also be ready for growling, hissing, and snarling sounds. You will hear most of these annoying sounds at night because raccoons are nocturnal.

10. Issues with your neighbors

Assuming you can stomach all the issues highlighted above, raccoons can still cause problems for your neighbors, their children, and even their pets. When this happens, one thing will be certain: your neighbors will definitely not appreciate it if you’re the cause of their wildlife problems.

If you must get a pet raccoon

If you live in a state that permits keeping raccoons as pets and you strongly believe you have what it takes to care for one, we recommend using a reputable raccoon breeder when adopting one. Choose a raccoon that was domesticated right from infancy. Such a raccoon will be more likely to bond with you.

It is ideal if you do not have young children in your home or other pets to reduce injuries and fights. Another thing to do is to find an exotic pet vet and get your raccoon neutered and vaccinated against common diseases.

Final thoughts

Based on what we have mentioned, raccoons do not make good pets. Besides, not many pet owners are ready for a 15- to 20-year, 24-hour commitment to take care of a pet raccoon. Take your time to consider all these possible complexities before bringing a pet raccoon into your home.

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