Few animals have the mischievous charm and reckless reputation of raccoons, but for some reason, there are people out there that think these wild rascals would make good pets. While they may be cute, raccoons are not good pets nor should they be treated like pets at all. Unfortunately, pet raccoons are becoming increasingly common, so we should all remember that these are wild animals that have not been bred to coexist with humans. Raccoons are nothing like dogs, and trying to treat them like one is going to lead to bad times for humans and raccoons alike.
Raccoons are a familiar species that most people wouldn't consider an exotic pet, but they are far from a domesticated animal. While some people feel that keeping wild animals, like sugar gliders, is a fun pet experience, it is far from that. Wild animals should not be plucked from their natural habitat and forced to spend their lives cohabitating with humans, and raccoons are no exception. Before you snag one of these adorable trash pandas and make it live in your house, take a second to read why raccoons make horrible pets.
Unsurprisingly, for an animal that has no problem eating out of a public dumpster, raccoons are pretty gross. They can break into all sorts of man-made containers, including your trashcan. For most people, the thought of having their homes covered in trash on a regular basis would be enough of a reason to refrain from getting a pet raccoon.
If you're the kind of person who can deal with trash, how about urine? Raccoons are extremely difficult to house train and won't think twice about doing their business where ever and whenever they want. Raccoons also mark their territory using anal scent glands, and a pet raccoon will consider your entire house its territory.
Don't be fooled, these cute critters are not timid. Raccoons bite all the time for all sorts of reasons. They can be highly aggressive, especially during their mating season. Bites can be a way of showing aggression or unhappiness, or sometimes they can just happen for no discernible reason whatsoever. Even improper grooming can lead to a bite, so this animal is not recommended for anyone who enjoys having fingers.
Another reason to avoid any raccoon you encounter is disease, because who knows where that thing has been. Raccoons are known for carrying a veritable smorgasbord of viruses and bacterium that can be harmful to both humans and other animals. Raccoons account for nearly 30% of all rabies cases in the United States, second only to bats. They can also carry nasty parasites that can infect both pets and humans.
Just to reiterate, raccoons are wild animals. Any creature that is exposed to a strange environment, especially any as mischievous and selfish as the raccoon, is going to act out. They likely won't get along with most species, so interactions with pets can be a traumatic ordeal. Confined to the relatively small area of the average human home, they can become stir crazy and easily agitated. The average raccoon has a territory roughly a mile in diameter, far exceeding what most people can provide for their animal.