If you’ve found a baby raccoon, it’s important to know what to do. Baby raccoons may be extremely cute, but that doesn’t mean they should be handled or kept as pets. The best thing you can do if you find an orphaned baby raccoon is to leave the animal alone and call your local animal control or wildlife rehabilitator for help.
With that being said, if you have found a baby raccoon, you may have some questions about the exact steps to take. How do you know if you should leave the baby raccoon alone, and for how long should you leave the baby raccoon before calling a wildlife rehabilitator?
These are great questions and we are here to help. Today, we are talking about what to do if you find a baby raccoon.
What You Should Know About Raccoons
Raccoons are closely related to several other mammals like bears and even pandas.
Raccoons are members of the Procyonidae family and are closely related to bears, weasels, and pandas. They’re native to North America, Central America, and parts of northern South America. There are several subspecies of raccoon, but only one is found in the United States: Procyon lotor.
The raccoon’s Latin name means “washer bear” because of its habit of washing its food before eating it. It has a black mask around its eyes that looks like a bandit’s mask.
Raccoons live throughout most of the eastern half of the United States as well as southern Canada and much of Central America (including Mexico). They prefer wooded areas near water sources such as lakes or rivers where they can find food they love including fish, small mammals (like mice), insects, and fruit trees.
Most active at night, raccoons are sometimes called “trash pandas” because they are known to raid garbage cans and other sources of human food. These animals are quite cunning. They are considered semi-social animals and will converge to feed or rest together. With their small, human-like hands, raccoons are able to open jars, trash can lids, and sometimes even doors and windows.
As we mentioned, raccoons are quite common in the United States. They can often be seen in city parks and backyards, as well as in forests, fields, and wetlands.
The raccoon is one of the few mammal species on Earth that can adapt to nearly any environment from tropical rainforests to alpine rock fields. These animals are omnivores, meaning they eat everything from fruits and vegetables to small animals such as mice, rats, lizards, and birds. Raccoons also eat insects, amphibians, reptiles, and eggs — sometimes they even eat other raccoons!
Raccoons live in urban areas more often than they do in undeveloped areas due to the fact that humans often make it easier for them to find food. These animals are resourceful not only when it comes to food sources but also sources of shelter, and they often use abandoned dens made by other animals (such as foxes), hollow logs, or even attics of houses for shelter during the winter months when they are less active than usual due to low temperatures outside.
If you find a raccoon or even a family of raccoons on your property, it’s best to keep your distance. Though they are not known to be especially dangerous or aggressive, raccoons can carry deadly diseases and may become aggressive if they feel threatened.
Raccoons can also be quite destructive, so it’s important to use proper pest control methods to keep them at bay. But we will talk more about that further down. For now, let’s talk about what you should do if you happen to find a baby raccoon.
Baby Raccoons – What You Should Know If You Find One Alone
Baby raccoons are very cute and it can be tempting to want to touch one or pick one up. However, this cna be dangerous.
Raccoons are nocturnal, so they are most active at night. They spend the day in dens, which can be in hollow trees or under porches or decks. Raccoons tend to be mostly solitary animals except during mating season (January through March), when males and females may travel together. When they mate, the female will give birth to two to seven kits (baby raccoons) in April or May. Their gestation period is about 63 days.
Female raccoons are generally wonderful mothers. In fact, Female raccoons are excellent mothers who raise their young until they’re about 12 weeks old (or older if there isn’t enough food available). Baby raccoons can be weaned at around six weeks old but stay with their mothers until they are around one year old. The mother teaches her kits how to find food and hide from predators so they can survive on their own once they are adults.
Because female raccoons make great moms, it is typically unusual to find a baby raccoon alone. If you do find a baby raccoon alone on your property, it is likely something has happened to the mother.
Of course, although a baby raccoon on its own may look harmless, remember that even that tiny kit is still a wild animal.
With that being said, for the most part baby raccoons are not dangerous to humans unless they are provoked or sick.
Like many mammals, raccoons can carry and spread several different diseases, even if they aren’t infected with those diseases themselves.
Baby raccoons can carry several diseases. The most common is Baylisascaris procyonis, a roundworm that infects the brain and spinal cord.
Rabies is also a concern, as are Parvovirus, Distemper virus and other diseases.
Baylisascaris procyonis is a roundworm parasite that can be contracted by humans and animals alike, including raccoon kits. The parasite lives in the raccoon’s intestines, but when it dies, it sheds eggs (called ova) in the raccoon’s feces. These ova can live for up to 15 years in soil or water. If a human or pet comes into contact with these ova, they can become infected with Baylisascaris procyonis. It causes severe damage to the central nervous system and can be fatal if left untreated.
Rabies is a virus that attacks the nervous system. It is transmitted through the saliva of an infected animal. Rabies can be fatal to humans and other warm-blooded animals, as well as to domestic pets. The only treatment for rabies is vaccination before exposure, but once symptoms start, it’s almost always fatal.
Raccoons can be infected with rabies without showing signs or symptoms, and they are even capable of giving birth to young who also are infected with the disease. For this reason, a baby raccoon should be handled with extreme caution.
Parvovirus is highly contagious among dogs and cats, and it can be transmitted by other animals like raccoons and ferrets. It causes vomiting, diarrhea and dehydration in young animals (especially puppies). Young animals with parvovirus need to be hospitalized so they can get fluids intravenously until they start producing urine again on their own.
The distemper virus affects the respiratory, gastrointestinal and nervous systems in dogs, cats and other animals. It is highly contagious and affects both wild animals as well as domestic pets who have not been vaccinated against the disease. Distemper is spread through direct contact with an infected animal or indirectly through contaminated food or water supplies.
Because distemper is spread through direct contact with wild animals, it’s very important to keep pets away from a baby raccoon should you happen to stumble upon one.
What To Do If You Find A Baby Raccoon
Baby raccoons may not always be abandoned. In fact, mother raccoons can leave their babies for several hours at a time.
A baby raccoon is a cute and lovable creature, but it can also be dangerous, as we have covered above. If you find a baby raccoon, there are things that you should do and things that you should not do.
The first thing you should do if you find a baby raccoon is consider why you have found the kit on its own. There could be several reasons you have found what seems to be an abandoned raccoon on your property, and some of them may be more innocent than you realize.
For example, a mother raccoon will often leave her young alone for hours at a time while she goes out to forage for food. Some mother raccoons may even leave their babies for an entire day. However, mothers will not be gone longer than a day.
If the baby raccoon is crying and has no visible injuries, then its mother may simply be out foraging for food. If you find an apparently healthy, uninjured baby raccoon in the wild, it is best to leave it alone and let it reunite with its mother.
If you do find a baby raccoon and you have left it alone for at least a full day without any sign of the mother, it may be time to take some next steps towards rescuing it.
In rare cases, if you do find an orphaned raccoon, it could be because it was abandoned by its mother. However, other reasons why you might find a baby raccoon include:
- The mother was killed by humans or other animals
- The mother died of disease or injury
What to do if you find a baby raccoon
- If you find a baby raccoon, it is best to leave it be and watch from afar. Remember, raccoons are extremely dangerous and can carry serious diseases like rabies.
- Give the mother several hours to return before deciding to take further steps towards rescuing the baby raccoon.
- If you have found a baby raccoon in your yard, be sure to keep pets at a safe distance. This will not only ensure the baby raccoon is safe, but also that your pets are safe.
- If the raccoon seems sick or injured, avoid picking it up. Instead, call your local wildlife rehabilitator for assistance.
- If you think the baby raccoon is healthy and the mother is nearby, you might consider placing the baby raccoon in a box with a towel beneath it to keep the raccoon warm. If you do this, be sure to wear bite-proof gloves and then to wash your hands thoroughly afterwards.
What not to do if you find a baby raccoon
- Do not assume that just because a baby raccoon is alone that it is abandoned. Remember, mother raccoons will leave their young for several hours at a time.
- Do not assume that because it is young that the raccoon does not have rabies. Raccoons can be born with rabies and can spread it to people and pets.
- Do not attempt to raise the baby raccoon as a pet. While some people do keep raccoons as pets, these animals are wild and it is often illegal in many States and regions to keep wild animals as pets.
- Do not try to feed it or give it water as this could lead to an attack by the animal if it becomes aggressive due to fear or stress.
Tips On Keeping Raccoons Off Of Your Property
Raccoons can be destructive and even dangerous.
Raccoons may look cute and cuddly, but they have a reputation for being destructive and dangerous. They can make a mess of your garden and destroy your home, so it’s important to keep them off of your property. Doing this will also help keep your pets safe from potential diseases raccoons can carry and spread.
Furthermore, keeping raccoons at bay will protect the raccoons. Wild raccoons are more likely to be hit by cars, consume toxic foods, or be separated from their young when they remain in close proximity to people.
Here are a few tips you can follow to help keep raccoon families off of your property:
Store outdoor garbage properly
Raccoons love to rummage through bins and trash cans looking for food. To prevent them from getting into your garbage, make sure that you store it in a secure place. If you have indoor bins, keep them indoors at night or when not in use. If you have outdoor bins, make sure that they are securely closed with lids or bungee cords. Some people also find it helpful to put heavy rocks on top of their bins to weigh them down so that raccoons cannot push them over easily. You should also make sure that there are no holes in your garbage cans where raccoons can gain access or be attracted to the smell.
Store pet food and birdseed properly
Raccoons are attracted to pet food, so make sure that you always keep it stored in a sealed container. You should also avoid leaving bird seed out so raccoons can get easy access to it. If you want to attract birds to your yard, be sure to use feeders that are designed to keep other animals out like squirrels or raccoons.
Pick up fallen fruits from fruit trees and harvest ripe vegetables from gardens
Raccoons love fruits and vegetables, so make sure that you pick up any that fall on the ground around your fruit trees or vegetable garden. If there is an overabundance of fruits or vegetables at any given time, it’s a good idea to harvest them all before they go bad instead of letting them rot on the ground where raccoons can get at them.
Keep your lawn and yard well maintained
Raccoons love to live in tall grass or overgrown bushes. If there is an area that is not maintained, they may use it as a hiding place or den. In addition to keeping the grass trimmed, you should also remove any excess debris around your home. Raccoons will use debris like overturned buckets, wood piles, and tree stumps to make dens or hiding places.
Remove excess water sources around your home
Raccoons are attracted to water and will often get into your yard if there is an abundance of water nearby. This can include pet dishes, bird baths or even puddles left after rain storms. Make sure that all of these items are emptied on a regular basis so that raccoons do not have access to them at night when they are most active.
We also suggest:
- Avoiding decorative fish ponds as fish, frogs, and turtles can attract raccoons
- Investing in motion activated sprinklers and ultrasonic pest repellents
- Inviting the predators to your yard to help scare racoons off
Best Products For Keeping Raccoons At Bay
The best way to protect yourself, your loved ones, your property, and even raccoons is to keep them at bay.
Raccoons are one of the more common pests that homeowners have to deal with. They are not only clever, but they are also athletic, agile, and able to open doors, windows, jars, and trash cans. If you have raccoons around your property and you want to get rid of them, there are several different methods and products that you can use. You need to be careful, however, because raccoons can be dangerous if they are cornered or if they feel threatened.
How To Choose The Best Raccoon Repellent
There are several different ways that you can choose the best raccoon repellent for your needs. One of the most important things that you need to do is make sure that the repellent you’re using will work on raccoons, as well as on other animals such as skunks, coyotes, and foxes, as these types of animals often live in the same environments. There are some types of repellents that will work well on all animals, but others will only work for certain animals.
It’s also important to read all instructions carefully before using any type of repellent so that you know what it does and how to use it properly. This is especially true if you have children or pets that live or play on your property.
Are traps better or repellents better?
If you’re trying to decide which products would be best, you need to think about the problems you are having with the raccoons in question. If you are trying to remove current raccoons that are living in your attic or under your porch, for example, then a trap may be the way to go.
Traps are often more reliable than repellents when it comes to removing a current raccoon problem. They are easy to set up, and once you have caught the raccoon, you can release it far away from your home so it won’t be able to return.
However, traps are not always the answer, and you certainly do not want to accidentally separate a mother raccoon from her young. We suggest starting off with repellents to encourage the raccoons to leave your property on their own before resorting to traps.
Is it legal to use a trap to get rid of raccoons?
We should note here that it is illegal in many states and cities to capture wildlife using traps, so check with your local authorities before you begin trapping raccoons. Also remember that if you live in an area where rabies is present, you may need a permit from your state’s health department before capturing or killing any animal.
If you’re not sure which types of products and repellents would be right for you, we have listed some we recommend below.
Rodent Sheriff Racoon Repellent Spray
Rodent Sheriff raccoon repellent spray is a great way to keep raccoons away from your home. This product works by spraying a scent that is offensive to raccoons but harmless to people and pets.
You can use this spray on the outside of your house and around the area where you have seen the raccoons. Most people use it on their back porch or garage because these areas are popular with raccoons looking for food or shelter.
The best thing about using Rodent Sheriff is that it is safe and it also does not leave any harmful residue behind after you spray it around your house.
When using this product, be sure to read the directions carefully before applying it to your property so that you know exactly how much to use and what areas need spraying.
Redeo Solar Nocturnal Animal Repeller
The Redeo Solar Nocturnal Animal Repeller is a solar powered, nocturnal animal repellent that can repel raccoons, cats, dogs, deer and other animals. This product is battery powered and works during the night to keep unwanted animals away from your property. The device is easy to install and can be attached to fences, trees or poles using the included mounting bracket. It comes with four high intensity red LEDs which provide a red glow that scares off unwanted animals.
The product uses a motion sensor to detect any movement in front of it and activate the lights when something gets close enough. When activated, the lights will flash on for one minute before turning off again for two minutes so that animals don’t get used to them being there. The device also has a low battery indicator light so you know when it’s time to replace the batteries.
Defendy Ultrasonic Animal Repeller
Defendy Ultrasonic Animal Repeller is another humane and safe way to get rid of raccoons, pigeons, rats, cats, dogs, bats, squirrels and other unwanted pests. The ultrasonic sound wave emitted by Defendy will irritate the pests and drive them to leave your property.
The ultrasonic sound waves are inaudible to humans but are very annoying for the pests. The product uses advanced technology that emits a high-pitched frequency that’s inaudible to humans, however it may be irritating to dogs and cats. Use this product with caution and be sure to read the directions if you have pets in the home or pets that play on the property.
OxGord Live Animal Trap
The OxGord Live Animal Trap works by using bait to lure the raccoons towards it before locking them inside so that they cannot escape once they are caught. Once you have caught all of the raccoons on your property, then you will want to get rid of them permanently so that they do not come back again later on down the road. This means you will want to release the raccoon at least five to ten miles away from your property.
To use this trap, set it up in the area where you have seen the animals or signs of the animals. You can also set it up near an entry point that the animal uses, such as under a deck or shed roof. Place the trap on flat ground and move any debris away from it so that it cannot be tripped by accident during the night. Raccoons are nocturnal animals and will likely be active after dark, so keep in mind that you will need to wait until then before attempting to catch one.
What To Do If You If You Find A Baby Raccoon – Experts Weigh In
Baby raccoons can be adorable but they are better off being raised by their mother or a professional.
If you have found a baby raccoon, it can be tempting to try and help it yourself. However, unless the baby raccoon is injured or orphaned, it is illegal to keep raccoons as pets in most states. In fact, you should never try to keep a baby raccoon to raise yourself unless you are a licensed wildlife rehabilitator.
The best thing you can do instead for the baby raccoon is to allow it time to reunite with its mother, as we mentioned. If you feel the mother is not going to return, then we suggest calling your local wildlife rehabilitator for further steps.
And remember the important below tips:
- It is typically illegal to try and keep and raise a baby raccoon
- Never try to keep a baby raccoon to raise it yourself
- A baby raccoon should be raised by its mother or a wildlife rehabilitator for it’s best chances of survival
- Even baby raccoons can carry rabies and serious diseases so avoid handling a baby raccoon if at all possible
- Keep pets away from the baby raccoon and wait for help from your local wildlife resource
We hope this has been a helpful guide on what to do if you have found a baby raccoon. Remember to stay safe and contact your local authorities for further questions or concerns.
Thanks for reading!
Jack founded our blog after two decades of working in the pest control industry. His vast experience dealing with a wide array of pests allows him to diagnose issues quickly and get to the heart of pest problems quickly and effectively. He has serviced more than 2,000 homes over his career and there is hardly any pest situation that he has not seen before.