WILD RACCOONS DO NOT MAKE GOOD PETS.
They are wild things and have wild instincts. They do not trust humans and do not accept other domestic animals as companions. Please do not consider keeping these incredible and fragile creatures as a pet – to keep a wild raccoon in a cage for the rest of its life is to doom it to a life of sadness and broken spirit.
For further information, please contact us!
WildRescue, Inc./Rabbit Rescue
If you are outside of the Dallas/Ft. Worth area and need to find a wildlife rehabilitator, please go here:
Wild Raccoon 911
“I found an orphaned, eyes-closed baby raccoon. What do I do?”
Baby raccoons that still have their eyes closed are far too young to survive without their mother. Here’s what you do if you find a baby raccoon: Using heavy gloves and/or a towel, gently pick up the baby and place it in a box lined with a clean t-shirt. Examine the baby for injuries. Make sure the lid has air holes and place a rubber band around the entire box.
“Does the mother stay with the babies?”
Yes. Mother raccoons stay with their babies and will move the entire family one by one if she feels any threat or danger to them. She will forage at night (sometimes during the early morning hours and/or dusk) to find food and water. If you have food and water outside for your domestic animals, that is an open invitation for wild animals to come and live at your house! Simply pick up the food at night to discourage nighttime “visitors”.
“How often does the mother feed the babies?”
Raccoon mothers feed their babies often at first (every 2 hours) until they are older. A few weeks after their eyes are open they will start to follow their mother in the search for food and water.
“I have picked up the babies – won’t my scent keep the mother away?”
NO – the scent of a human on her baby will not keep her from continuing to care for her infant.
“How do I know if the babies are old enough to survive on their own?”
They will leave the current nest with their mother when they are able to walk and are approximately 3 months old and move on to another location. The best way to tell is by contacting a rehabilitator who can help you determine the age of the raccoon. Raccoon babies stay with their mothers for up to 9 months or until maturity sends them on their own path.
”How many babies do raccoons have?”
Raccoons can have up to 8 babies, but it is more common to see 2-4 in a litter.
“The babies are blue and cold. What do I do?”Raccoon babies cannot endure the cold. They MUST be kept warm until help can be obtained read below -
“Are baby raccoons dangerous to me?”
Raccoons are a rabies vector species, which means that they have been classified as a wildlife species that has been known to carry rabies. Although the incidence of rabies in raccoons is extremely low here in Texas, you need to exercise common sense in approaching any wild animal, including an infant raccoon. Raccoons are highly intelligent! They have sharp teeth and will vocalize their displeasure at being disturbed (even if you are trying to help them). They will usually not attack a human, but can and will turn and snap when they feel threatened, or if you are in their “space”.
If you do not feel comfortable approaching an infant raccoon, please do not hesitate to contact a wildlife rehabilitator, animal shelter, or humane animal trapper to help you with the raccoons. Raccoons also carry various diseases that can be harmful to your cat, dog, and to you, but the opposite is also true – raccoons can contract diseases (viruses) from your domestic animals if they are not up-to-date on their vaccinations. Parvo and distemper are the most common viral infections that can cross species.
If you have been injured by a raccoon, contact a wildlife rehabilitator immediately to take care of the raccoon, and contact your doctor to take care of yourself!
“How do I get a raccoon to leave my attic/chimney/shed where it has had a litter?”
Raccoons do not like bright light, noxious fumes, or loud noises. Try placing a radio near where the raccoons are living and play it during the evening hours. Ammonia-soaked rags in a bowl placed near their nest will also help nudge them along and out of your environment. A bright light turned on in an attic along with the other techniques are often also helpful and persuasive in getting them to move along. Once you see where the mother raccoon is getting in, secure the opening as soon as she leaves so that others will not follow and move in – but make sure everyone is gone before closing the opening!
“My cat/dog just brought in a baby raccoon. What do I do now?”Dogs crush and cats puncture. A raccoon that has been in the mouth of a cat is in great danger. The saliva of a cat actually carries billions of particles of bacteria and enzymes that break down the cellular structure of living tissue. Even if there appears to be no external wound, the sharp, pointed teeth of a cat could have easily punctured a vital internal organ. As quickly as is feasible and possible, get the baby to a permitted wildlife rehabilitator. Do not attempt to care for an injured raccoon yourself!!
A raccoon that has been brought in by your dog is also in danger, but at least the saliva of a dog is not fatal to a raccoon (or other animals). However, a dog’s bite can crush a raccoon’s bones. If there is any question to whether your dog has injured an raccoon, contact us immediately to determine if the raccoon needs emergency care. Separate the dog from the raccoon, and keep him supervised while he’s outside to make sure there are no more incidents.
“I’ve determined that a rescue is necessary. How do I transport them?”
If after having read the information on the 911 for Wild Raccoons page you have determined that a rescue is absolutely necessary, here are some instructions for preparing the raccoon) for transport to the rescue center. If you have any questions, don’t hesitate to contact us as this will help us improve these instructions for future use.
Use a container such as a cardboard box. Punch air holes in the lid. Line the container with a clean, soft cloth or old t-shirt that you do not mind giving up. Place the raccoon(s) inside the container and put a rubber band around the box and lid, securing it for the ride.
Babies must stay warm! Fill a clean tube sock with uncooked white rice and tie it off towards the top of the sock with a piece of string or a good knot. Place the sock in the microwave and heat for less than a minute. Place the sock inside the shoebox and put a washcloth or other piece of clean cloth over the sock. You don’t want the sock to be so hot that it could burn the babies. The babies will crawl next to the warmth of the sock, and they can move away if it is too warm. Another option is to put a wet washcloth (wrung out) into a ziplock baggie and microwave until warm but not hot. This acts as a portable heating pad and should be placed underneath the cloth at the bottom of the shoebox.
If it is going to be a length of time before you can get the babies to a rehabilitator, please do the following:
DO NOT ATTEMPT TO FEED THE BABIES – TO DO SO COULD CAUSE THEIR DEATH!
Follow the instructions above as per the shoebox or other small container. If you have a heating pad, set it on low and place the pad on a non-conductive surface (your bathroom counter or washing machine lid will do just fine). Place the container with the babies half-on and half-off the heating pad. This will allow the babies to move away from the heat if they need to.
Wild raccoons require a specialized formula. Rehabilitators have been trained to offer the formula appropriate for this species and know the correct feeding schedule and protocol for rehydration. You also run the risk of aspirating the baby (accidentally letting him breathe the fluid instead of swallowing it) by using an incorrect feeding utensil. Baby racoons are incredibly fragile and do not take handling by humans well. They will die of stress if handled improperly or kept in a cage for too long. Keep baby birds away from children, household noise (such as vacuum cleaners and so forth), domestic pets and bright light.
If you determine that a racoon needs to be seen by us please call us at 972-891-9286; be prepared to tell us the number of animals found, the physical condition of the animal, under what circumstances the animal was found, and your location. We field dozens of calls a day from all over the country, so please be as succinct as possible during your call. Animals can be dropped off at our center in Denton, TX Monday through Saturday from 10:00am to 8:00pm and Sunday from noon to 6:00pm. We also have drop-off locations in Plano and Lewisville available Monday through Thursday from 9:00am to 4:00pm. Contact us for location information. We are a small, non-profit center – any donation you can give to help with the animals care is greatly appreciated!