Raising a Racoon
We recently found two orphaned baby raccoons. They are so cute. Can you tell us how to raise and care for them?
Yes, baby raccoons are cute. All baby animals are adorable. However, you must remember that they are wild animals. These “pretty babies” will grow up to be “not so nice” adult animals. They are wild animals that will develop their natural instincts as they mature. They can become unpredictable, destructive, and somewhat dangerous.
They also can carry diseases that could be serious health threats to you and your family. Raccoons and skunks are prime carriers of rabies. In recent years, there have been epidemics of raccoon rabies in the eastern United States, including Vermont. Rabies is a fatal disease and not to be taken lightly. There is a vaccination against rabies for dogs, cats, ferrets and humans. However, there is no approved, effective vaccination for raccoons, or any other wild animal.
Most raccoons are infested with a specific type of intestinal roundworm that can be a serious threat to human health. These roundworms produce thousands of eggs that are passed in the raccoon’s bowel movements. The eggs hatch into tiny larvae that if ingested by a human, will migrate through the person’s body tissues. These particular larvae often migrate to the eyes and brain, causing blindness and brain damage.
It is best to leave wild animals alone as nature intended. We should observe the beauty of nature and not interfere with it. Wild animals do not make good pets. Also, most people do not know the proper nutrition and care for wild animals, so the animals may suffer from improper care. Often wild baby animals are not orphans. Usually their mother is somewhere nearby. It is not true that if you touch the babies, the mother will abandon them.
If you find wild animals that you are sure are abandoned, injured, or in danger, you should contact your veterinarian or your local game warden. They have a list of wildlife rehabilitators that are trained and licensed to help with the care of wildlife.