Pet Raccoons

Cute pictures on Facebook of pet raccoons eating and playing reminds me of how much I wanted one. For years I thought it would be great fun to have one, but when I got one it did not turn out so well.

In the mid-1970s Linda and I lived at Grandview Apartments. I hunted on some land near High Falls, using our VW bug as a hunting vehicle. One night as I walked from my stand back to the car, a mother raccoon and her five kits walked across my path.

I took off my heavy hunting coat and threw it over the last one in the line. It was about the size of a small housecat and it struggled and snarled, but I managed to wrap it tightly and tie the arms together, forming a bundle.

At the car I put the bundled raccoon in the small luggage area behind the back seat, got in and cranked the car. For some reason I flipped on the overhead light. All I could see were teeth and claws as the young raccoon came over the seat toward me.

Somehow, I managed to catch it again and get it wrapped back up in the coat without getting bit. This time I tied it tightly with some rope and made it home without any more trouble.

At the apartment, I carefully slipped the raccoon into the small downstairs bathroom after putting some food and water on the floor. I shut the door and we went to bed.

The next morning, I eased the bathroom door open an inch or so and peeked in, expecting the raccoon to be huddled in a corner, but did not see it. As I opened the door more I glanced up and there it was, perched on a shelf in the small medicine cabinet over the sink. I have no idea how it got up there, opened the door and huddled on the shelf.

It stayed in the bathroom a couple of days until I could build a cage for it. I made a nice one out of two by fours and hardware cloth that had legs so it sat six inches off the floor. It was four feet long and two feet wide and high, giving my new pet lots of room.

After about two weeks the raccoon gradually got less afraid of me. It stopped hissing at me and slowly started taking food through the wire. I was making progress.

Just when I had hope. Linda decided to vacuum the room with the cage. When she ran the hose under the cage, the raccoon went wild, bouncing off the wire on all sides, top and bottom. It never calmed down. Any time I got near it, it went wild again.

After a week, I gave up. I took it back near where I caught it and released it. That was my only experience with a pet raccoon and I still want one, but a tame one.

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