A group of raccoons pose on a porch deck.

Can Raccoons be Pets?

Raccoons might seem cuddly and cute at first glance. They even look like cartoon bandits, and have a reputation to match, but raccoons are wild animals, not pets. They are notoriously difficult to domesticate, and they belong in their natural habitat.

What Makes a Raccoon as a Pet Difficult to Care For?

Raising a raccoon as a pet will take up a ton of your time, energy and patience. Raccoons can easily live for 15 years, and they shouldn’t be released back into the wild after they’ve been kept as a pet.
If you raise a raccoon as a pet with an incredible amount of attention, love and care, you still won’t be able to override its wild instincts. Raccoons keep their wild side even after being raised and bred in captivity for several generations.
Keeping a raccoon as a pet requires plenty of space for the critter to roam, but don’t just let it run around your home. Raccoons are natural foragers with a reputation for thievery, and they can get into almost any nook, cranny, or latch they find.
Raccoons have a tendency to bite or act out when they’re stressed or agitated. They could bite your family members, friends and visitors.

Is It Safe to Keep a Pet Raccoon?

Raccoons are known for carrying several diseases, which makes them an extra liability. These include:

  • Salmonella
  • Leptospirosis
  • Rabies
  • Roundworm (Baylisascaris procyonis)

They might also be infested with numerous other parasites, including fleas, ticks and lice.
Finding adequate veterinary care for your pet raccoon could be as difficult as raising it properly. Most veterinarians are not experienced in treating raccoons. It’s also illegal to neuter raccoons in Texas, so if your furry friend ever escapes, you may find yourself with an entire litter to take care of.

What Kinds of Raccoons Live in Texas?

It seems that everything really is bigger in Texas, including raccoons. The largest raccoons here can grow up to be almost sixty pounds.
The common raccoon, or Procyon lotor, is the most pervasive species native to Texas. The Texas raccoon (Procyon lotor fuscipes) and the Mexican raccoon (Procyon lotor mexicanus) are the two subspecies found most often throughout the state.

What If You Find Raccoons on Your Property?

If you find errant raccoons on your property, or you’re concerned about an injured raccoon you’ve found nearby, don’t be tempted to keep these raccoons as pets.

Call a humane animal control service to pick them up instead. And if you’re living in Austin, contact Critter Ridder or give us a ring at 512-363-8070 to get the raccoon out of your property humanely.