Do Raccoons Make Good Pets?
Do you think a good pet is one that has razor sharp teeth and claws that can tear through flesh with the slightest of efforts? Do you think a good pet is one that comes with a constant risk of transmitting the rabies virus? Or one that contains diseases such as leptospirosis in its poop? Is a good pet one that will happily rip through wooden beams in the attic? Or digs up huge holes to make a den under your porch?
Generally, a good pet is none of these things, and that, by itself, should answer the question - do raccoons make good pets.
As cute as they are, they are a lot of hassle, and there’s the risk of disease, among a whole number of other factors, to take into account.
Regardless of how many generations of raccoons have been bred in captivity, they will always, first and foremost, be a wild animal. It would be like trying to breed tigers or lions in captivity in the hope to finally have one as your household pet one day. It just doesn’t make sense.
Although there have been stories of humans successfully keeping these critters as pets, more often than not, the situation fails, the animal gets dumped in the wild one night, and it dies, not really being all that accustomed to wild life, become victim to predators on its first couple of nights in the big, bad world.
There are no rules to owning a raccoon - they will do your own thing and if you get in their way, you’ll face the consequences of it. If you keep the animal permanently in a cage, it will not be a pet. It will be a caged animal. In order to have a tame raccoon, it would need to be constantly free, comfortable, and at-home within your house. This is something that is, of course, not advised, and therefore rarely happens. When the animal is caged, it still has all of its wild instincts and mannerisms, they are caged up, increasing the risk that the raccoon will last out and strike when it can - when you let it out for a walk, etc.
Furthermore, you cannot have a raccoon running around your home. It will cause destruction everywhere it goes, ripping through screens to get out of windows, trashing lawns with garbage strewn from the trash can, falling down into he crevices behind walls whilst climbing around in the attic…. That’s before you even think about the raccoon latrines, and the bacteria and diseases that can be spread from the raccoons waste material.
Adult raccoons will cause a lot of damage in a short space of time. This means that you can’t ever have a tame raccoon - you just have a caged raccoon, all wild instincts still intact. That’s just dangerous for you, your family, and everyone involved!
Most people spend days, weeks, and months of their lives trying to evict these animals from within their homes, which gives you an indication of just how irrational it is to expect to keep a wild raccoon as a pet, in fact, any wild animal as a pet.
Going back to the rabies virus too - there is no approved vaccination for raccoons to protect them against rabies, so you will always need to be cautious of that. If you ever get bitten or scratched by this animal, you will need to rush yourself to the doctors for blood tests. Not just that, the animal will be taken away from you and killed in most cases.
Not just all of the health and safety concerns involved with keeping an animal like this as a pet, there are legalities to think about, and in many states, it is illegal to keep a raccoon as a pet. They also live for up to fifteen or sixteen years in best-case scenarios, so it’s hardly a decision you should rush into.
In short, the answer to the question ‘Do raccoons make good pets?’ is a resounding no. Absolutely not. There are far too many risks involved to consider having an animal like this in your house for very long. Cute, perhaps. Great pet, definitely not.