About Baby Raccoons

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If you take in an wild, orphaned raccoon kit, you can release it back to the wild when it grows to 15 pounds.
If you take in an wild, orphaned raccoon kit, you can release it back to the wild when it grows to 15 pounds. (Image: Joseph Gareri/iStock/Getty Images)

Raccoons are intelligent, curious and playful pets. Before making the decision to bring home a raccoon kit, check your state and local laws and regulations. Many states do not allow raccoons as pets and others require you to get a permit to have the animal. Consult with a breeder to prepare yourself and your home for the needs of your raccoon kit.

Housing Requirements

Raccoon kits up to 2 weeks of age can be kept in a small crate or box. At this age, the kit is not able to generate heat, so you will need to place a heating pad on low under the box to prevent hypothermia. When the kit is 2 to 7 weeks old, move her to a larger crate or cage, approximately the size of a bathtub. Continue to use the heating pad in a corner of the crate for the kit to warm herself.

From the age of 7 to 9 weeks, the kit will need a cage the size of a large birdhouse. You can remove the heat source from this enclosure. Place logs and hammocks in the enclosure for kits to climb and play. From 9 to 11 weeks of age, kits need an enclosure at least 8-by-8 feet. The enclosure should be covered on all sides, including the top to keep your kit contained.

If you choose to let your kit loose in your home, everything must be child-proofed. Give your kit toys such as stuffed animals and balls, but make sure your kit does not have access to anything she could choke on.

Feeding Schedules

Bottle feed young kits with kitten milk replacement formula or Esbilac. Follow feeding instructions from the breeder. Kits between 1 and 2 weeks of age should be fed between 6 and 8 cc of formula every two hours. As the kit grows, she can be fed greater amounts at longer intervals. When the kit is 4 to 8 weeks of age, feed approximately 60 cc of formula every four hours.

Fully wean your kit from formula by 10 weeks of age. At this point, she should be eating mostly dry or moistened dog food. She also can have fruits, nuts, cooked eggs, raw vegetables, grasshoppers and mice. You can give treats, including raisins, cookies and Fig Newtons sparingly.

Provide water in a water bottle. Kits will urinate in water bowls and use the soiled water to wash their food.

Do not feed your kit milk, honey or raw eggs as this can cause an infection.

Litter Box Training

You can train your raccoon to use a litter box so she can stay in the home with your family. When your raccoon decides where she likes to eliminate, place a litter box in that location. Raccoons will share a litter box with other raccoons. However, if you have a cat in the home, your cat needs his own litter box.

Health Care

Before getting a raccoon kit, find a veterinarian who will treat your pet. Many small animal vets will not treat raccoons, so you may need to locate an exotic pet veterinarian. If your state requires a permit to keep raccoons, your vet may ask to see your license before treating your pet.

Raccoons commonly host roundworms. Worm your kit each month using a wormer with pyrantel pamoate. Dosage varies based on weight. If your kit is 2 pounds, administer 1 cc of wormer. If she is 10 pounds, administer 5 cc.

Raccoons also commonly contract canine distemper. Kits with the disease may act confused and lose coordination. They can die from this disease. Vaccinate your raccoon and all dogs in your home against this disease.

Cautions and Considerations

Raccoons can transmit several diseases to humans and other pets in the household, including rabies, distemper, roundworms and fleas. Keep your kits cage and litter box clean and always wash your hands after handling your kit or cleaning her litter box. Kill any fleas on your kit by moistening a cotton ball with puppy or kitten flea spray and wiping down your kit. Look for a spray that contains pyrethrins with piperonyl butoxide.

Kits are playful and may be destructive to your home and may bite or scratch during play. Roughhousing with your kit increases the chances she will bite. Provide your kit with plenty of toys and do not leave children alone with the raccoon.

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