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Overview, Information, and Education About Raccoon Domestication

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So you want to domesticate a raccoon?

While the idea of owning a raccoon might seem fun, you may wish to think twice before trying to domesticate one of these furry friends. On November 4, 2010 two raccoons mauled a baby in a crib, they are dangerous and unpredictable, but that doesn't deter people from trying to domesticate raccoons. So needless to say, proceed to read at your own

It takes thousands of years to actually domesticate a wild animal. And a raccoon is just that-a wild animal. Baby raccoons are adorable, but they do grow up. When they reach maturity their behavior can change from cute and cuddly to vicious and destructive. This is not to say that there have never been raccoons that have made great pets, but they are probably few and far between. And here's another question. What happens to those that do become unmanageable? They are thrown into the wild without any survival skills-only left to die. Still want to own one of these adorable mammals? Here are some helpful tips:

Housing

The first thing you should know is that these animals prefer to be alone. Any ideas of an arranged marriage will most likely end in disaster! If you want a happy pet then think of your raccoon pet like a dog. A cage will not make for a happy camper in this case. He/she must be able to run loose like a cat or a dog. And because they are destructive in nature you may want to have a separate room for your beloved pet. Raccoons like to dig large holes in beds so they can nest. Since you may not want large holes in your bed, your may want your new addition to have his own room with a bed of his own. If you supply your new pet with a basket full of his own toys, perhaps he won't be prompted to destroy your stuff. If you begin early on then there's a good chance he'll learn to leave your stuff alone and play with his own toys. Your new baby will enjoy stuffed animals and rubber balls, just like any toddler toys you can purchase at your local department store. Speaking of toddlers-you'll want o toddler proof your home. These little guys are excellent climbers and will get into anything and everything. Install child proof locks on all of your cabinets and place all your valuables safely tucked away.


Training your raccoon

Now it's time to train your little rascal! Get ready-set- and go! This is going to take much patience on your part. They tend to be hard headed so don't be surprised if this takes some time. The first thing you should know is that a raccoon should never be hit! He will think he's being attacked and probably bite you. You try saying “no”, and with some luck he may even listen from time to time. When you see him chewing on something of yours, you can substitute it with one of his chew toys.
Now for some good news! Your raccoon can be potty trained using a litter box. But during mating season they will leave their mark Not to worry-after mating season they will return to using their litter box.

Now for the bad news! These rascals have a bad temper! You'll need to show them whose boss. Just like a toddler who has misbehaved they'll need a time out if they throw a fit. You won't want to let your pet crawl on you like a tree. This may be entertaining when your raccoon is young, but when he reaches maturity a 50 pound raccoon won't feel so great crawling all over you!

Grooming

A raccoon is pretty easy to care for. All they need is a couple of baths a year. Any more than that will deplete them of necessary body oils. Raccoons love water! You can fill up the tub with water and let them play with in it! You can also purchase a small pool for the summer months! You can also brush or comb your raccoon. Once a year in the spring you'll notice clumps of fur that fall out. He is shedding his winter fur. This is referred to as “cracking”. During this time you'll want to keep his fur combed or it will quickly turn into a tangled mess.

Nutrition

Do not feed red meat to your new pet. Raccoons are omnivores. Their diet should consist of fresh veggies, fruits, fish, turkey, and chicken. You can also give him a high protein based dog food if you like. Keep a close eye on his weight. Domesticated raccoons tend to be obese and this could lead to heart failure. When it comes to table manners don't expect your raccoon to be polite. Raccoons tend to be messy eaters! Make sure he gets plenty of exercise and has a lot of room for running and playing.

Legal Issues

In many states it is illegal to own a wild raccoon. So be sure to check your state laws before you decide to domesticate one of these adorable creatures. You may need a permit before adopting! Be sure to take all the necessary legal steps. If you don't then your raccoon can be captured and destroyed. Rabies is another issue. Rabies isn't as serous as the media has led us to believe, but it can still be a problem. Even if your raccoon has been properly vaccinated, if he bites someone he will be destroyed. There is no way to check to see if he rabies so authorities will put him down. Raccoons can and will bite. It is up to you to be responsible, making sure you have some type of liability insurance.

Health Concerns

Make sure you vaccinate your raccoon for distemper. This is airborne, so even if your raccoon is inside he will still need to be vaccinated. Distemper is fatal and not reversible once diagnosed. Round worm is also an issue with raccoons. It can be transferred to humans and other household pets. Round worm can cause central nervous system damage, blindness, and even death! You can purchase de-wormer from your local vet.

Before you decide to take on thus huge responsibility think long and hard. Owning a raccoon is a way of life! They almost always bite and they can be very vicious. Don't expect an easy time with one of these pets. They are messy and destructive. Perhaps they were never meant to be domesticated. Maybe they should be left alone in the wild. But hey, this is just my opinion! If you want one of these cuddly pets, hats off to you and best of luck!

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