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Here's Why You Should Never Own A Raccoon As A Pet

Updated July 31, 2020 3.4k views12 items

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.

  • It's Hard To Find A Vet With Raccoon Experience

    It's Hard To Find A Vet With Raccoon Experience
    Photo: Carsten Volkwein / Wikimedia Commons / CC BY-SA 2.5

    Most vets are trained to deal with more traditional pets like cats and dogs, and very few have any experience with wild animals. Many will refuse to treat a pet raccoon for fear of lawsuits or potential injuries to either the animal or the vet staff themselves. If you're raccoon gets sick or injured, it's very likely that you will be unable to seek medical treatment for the little guy. Also, good luck finding a boarding facility that will watch your raccoon if you go on vacation.

  • They Can Live Up To 20 Years

    Like with many animals, owning a pet raccoon is a long-term commitment. Most wild raccoons only live for about two or three years, but raccoons kept in captivity can live five times as long as their wild counterparts. Estimates put a domestic raccoons lifespan between 10 and 20 years, which is a long time to care for an animal that will likely spend the whole time destroying your house. If you still want a raccoon, be prepared to care for it for a good chunk of your life.

  • The Species Is Adapted To A Nocturnal Lifestyle

    The Species Is Adapted To A Nocturnal Lifestyle
    Photo: AndrewBrownsword / Wikimedia Commons / CC-BY-SA 3.0

    Raccoons are nocturnal, meaning that they are most active at night. This can be a problem for raccoons kept in captivity, as they are often exposed to copious amounts of light during the day time. They are adapted to a life in the dark, so bright lights can be uncomfortable for them. If you plan on having your lights on during the day, you should know that you are creating an upsetting environment for your nocturnal friends.

  • In Many Places, They Are An Invasive Species

    In Many Places, They Are An Invasive Species
    Photo: John and Karen Hollingsworth / Wikimedia Commons / Public Domain

    Don't let these adorable pictures fool you, raccoons can be much more than an inconvenience outside of North America. Invasive raccoons have spread to Europe and Asia and are having debilitating effects on local wildlife. While they are often imported as exotic pets, invasive raccoons bring with them all sorts of foreign diseases. Many European nations have nearly eradicated rabies, but strains from North American raccoons are starting to make their way to the continent. Other nasty parasites have also hitched a ride across the Atlantic, much to the dismay of conservationists.