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Can You Keep Raccoons as PetsRaccoons are medium-sized mammals that have black and white stripes. People have begun referring to them lovingly as “trash pandas” because you can usually find them in dumpsters rummaging for food. Other than garbage, raccoons might eat insects, vegetables, and fruits.

While raccoons might look cute and cuddly, they are not meant to be domesticated.

If you’ve found yourself wondering if raccoons make good pets, you are not alone. Many people have considered taking a raccoon into their home simply because of how adorable they can be. While they are cute and nice to look at from a distance, having a pet raccoon is not an easy feat.

Raccoons are wild animals, which means they behave as such. Additionally, raccoons can carry a ton of diseases, including rabies. Understanding the plethora of reasons why raccoons don’t make good pets will prevent you from taking one into your home.

Is it Legal to Keep a Raccoon as a Pet?

Raccoons are legal to own as pets in 16 states. However, many of these states require that you obtain a wild animal permit. This is because raccoons have special needs that domesticated animals like cats and dogs do not require.

The states that allow you to own raccoons as a pet include:

  • Arkansas
  • Delaware
  • Florida
  • Illinois
  • Indiana
  • Maine
  • Michigan
  • Nebraska
  • New Jersey
  • Ohio
  • Oklahoma
  • South Dakota
  • Tennessee
  • Vermont
  • Wisconsin
  • Wyoming

If you do not live in one of these states, having a raccoon as a pet is not legal or permitted. Raccoons are considered exotic pets because they are not usually domesticated. With that being said, there are tons of things to consider before you decide to have a raccoon as a pet.

Reasons to Avoid Having Raccoons as Pets

Raccoons eat both meat and plants, which means you will have a lot to consider when it comes to purchasing their food. Additionally, you’d have to child-proof your home before bringing a raccoon inside. If you insist on having a pet raccoon, it is best to find a reputable raccoon breeder.

That said, there are a few reasons you should avoid having raccoons as pets. These include:


Studies have shown that 30% of all rabies cases in the United States are attributed to raccoons. They also carry other diseases that they can transmit to you, your children, or your other household pets. While rabies vaccinations can prevent infections, it is best to play it safe.

Even further, raccoon droppings can contain raccoon roundworms. This parasitic worm can infect both humans and other animals. Simply being in the room around raccoon droppings can cause you to develop this parasite, as the egg spores can become airborne.


Raccoons are smart and curious animals. They also know how to problem solve. This means it would be incredibly difficult to keep them confined to one area of your home.

When a raccoon is kept in confinement, they will use their dexterous fingers to pry their way out. Additionally, because they are wild animals, their instincts will often override any training you manage to complete. In other words, raccoons do not make good pets.

Raccoons can also become upset and moody due to hormones. Once an adult raccoon meets sexual maturity, they might begin to act out. Being trapped in a human home can make them lash out at you or your children and pets.

Damage to Home

Raccoons are known for rummaging through things. Because they are curious animals with sharp claws, they could do significant damage to your home. You might return home to scratched furniture, garbage strewn across the floor, or even food spilled out of the fridge.

Because having a raccoon as a pet requires raccoon-proofing, it is a huge task to take on.

Impossible to Potty Train

It is possible to train raccoons to use a litter box. With that being said, raccoons often have a mind of their own. If something upsets them, like being home alone for a while, they might urinate or defecate all over your home out of spite.

Yes, raccoons can hold grudges. And these grudges might leave you with a lot of messes and damage to clean up.

Raccoons are Nocturnal

Most people are aware during the day and sleep at night, except for those who work night shifts. Either way, this will not give you enough time to spend with your pet raccoon. Raccoons are considered crepuscular and nocturnal animals, which means they will be sleeping during the day.

In other words, your schedule will never align with a pet raccoon. If you cannot spend time with your pet, what is the point of having one?

How Can a Professional Wildlife Removal Company Help?

If you have raccoons roaming around your property, you might feel inclined to take them in. Instead, consider calling a professional wildlife removal company. Companies like Nuisance Wildlife Rangers will humanely trap the raccoons and relocate them to their natural habitats.

If the raccoons are injured or sick, we will transport them to a licensed wildlife rehabilitator. This means they will get the care they need before they are released back into the wild. Because raccoons are wild animals, they would much rather be brought back to their homes than domesticated.

Tips for Keeping Raccoons Off of Your Property

Raccoons are some of the most clever suburban pests. These animals can climb, jump, run, and break into trash cans. While they are incredibly cute, they can be a huge nuisance.

If you are looking to keep raccoons off of your property, consider taking the following steps:

  • Use locking trash cans or secure non-locking cans with bungee cords
  • Keep your yard maintained, by trimming bushes and mowing the lawn
  • Scare them off with motion detectors or sprinklers
  • Use fences to secure your garden
  • Try repellants like birdseed laced with cayenne pepper
  • Gather any fallen fruit from your trees and bring in bird feeders or pet food at night

If you leave your pets outside at night, make sure they have all of their shots. Because raccoons carry diseases, one encounter could cause your pet to become sick. They can even get sick from coming into contact with raccoon droppings.

Get Connected to Professional Raccoon Removal

If you have raccoons roaming your yard, Nuisance Wildlife Rangers are here to help. We can ethically remove and relocate raccoons to keep you and your family safe.

Contact us today to learn more about our professional raccoon removal services.

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