Should I Feed a Baby Raccoon I Found?

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No, I really don’t recommend feeding a baby raccoon. I won’t even talk about the obvious risk of contracting a disease or parasite that’s carried by raccoons, I will just say that by feeding a baby raccoon you’re simply not doing it any good.

Here are some scenarios:

You’ve found a single baby raccoon stranded somewhere, and you took it home. If you feed it and raise it, then release it somewhere where you think it could live happily ever after in its “natural habitat”, the animal will probably be unequipped to deal with this novel environment, and will die shortly.

You’ve permanently removed a raccoon from your property just to later discover that you’ve orphaned a couple of helpless baby raccoons. You begin taking care of them and feeding them. Again, when they’re old enough, you take them “back into the wild”. You’re just releasing them to catch their untimely death, nothing more; there’s very little chance that they’ll be able to cope in an environment that they’re completely unfamiliar with.

You’ve found a litter of baby raccoons, and you’re somehow sure that the mother is absent. The animal lover in you urges you to tend to them and feed them. The ending of this story is the same one as for the previous two, but now there’s also a big chance that you’ve just stolen the babies and left a desperate raccoon mother aimlessly searching for its young.

You’ll probably think that once released, chances that the raccoon will die are not as high as I’m suggesting. Okay. Then just take into consideration the fact that there are so few wild places in the US that can support more raccoons than they already do, that the chances of you coincidentally choosing one that can are close to none. Unnatural high population of raccoons in wild environments will also lead to insufficient food which will either determine them to go on life-threatening journeys back to the cities, or to just die of starvation. If you provide food in wild places where there’s a high concentration of raccoons, this will lead to disease outbreaks that will kill not only the raccoon population in an unpleasant manner, but will also affect other fauna in the area.

‘Okay. Then I won’t release the raccoon. I’ll just feed it, raise it, and keep it as a pet.’ The raccoon is not a domestic animal. Just don’t. Please, don’t.

‘Okay. I’ll just keep it in a cage, then.’ That’s just cruel and unusual punishment. It just breaks my heart to think of this beautiful and intelligent animal living the rest of its natural life in a cage. Please, don’t.

Solution? Find a wildlife rehabilitator near you, and give them the baby raccoon. A wildlife rehabber will properly raise the baby, inoculate it against diseases, get it accustomed with its future habitat, and either find it a permanent safe place in a wildlife center or release it where they know it’s safe for the raccoon, as well as for the other surrounding fauna and flora. You can find a good wildlife rehabilitation directory here.

Go back to the Raccoons in the attic home page.

Read more articles about raccoons:
About Raccoons
How Do I Know If There Are Baby Raccoons In the Attic?
How to Keep Raccoons Out of My Bird Feeder
How to Catch a Raccoon with a Snare Pole
What Is a Raccoon’s Mating Habits?
What Is a Raccoon’s Natural Diet?