Can You Adopt a Pet Raccoon?

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adopt a raccoon

Adopting wildlife, such as raccoons, as pets can be a controversial subject. Cultural beliefs often suggest that keeping wild animals like raccoons as pets is not advisable because they lack a long history of domestication. While raccoons are not conventional pets, there are notable exceptions in history, such as former U.S. President Calvin Coolidge, who had two pet raccoons during his presidency.

To fully understand the implications of adopting a raccoon, it is crucial to examine both the legal and practical aspects of this decision.

Legal Considerations for Keeping a Pet Raccoon

The legality of owning a pet raccoon varies widely across different states. In some states, it is permitted, while in others, it is strictly prohibited. For instance, in California, residents cannot legally own a raccoon as a pet unless they obtain a prohibited animal permit from the California Department of Fish and Game.

Permits and Regulations in California

Securing a prohibited animal permit in California is not a straightforward process. The California Department of Fish and Game has stringent requirements and procedures in place. Even if you manage to obtain the necessary permit, you may still face significant challenges.

adopt a raccoon pet

Challenges of Adopting a Raccoon

Veterinary Care

One of the primary challenges of keeping a raccoon as a pet is accessing appropriate veterinary care. Due to their rarity as pets, finding a veterinarian with the expertise and willingness to treat raccoons can be difficult. Regular veterinary care is crucial for any pet, and raccoons are no exception.

Health Risks

Wild animals, including raccoons, are more susceptible to certain viruses and diseases, such as rabies. Raccoons are one of the most common carriers of rabies among wildlife. This presents a significant health risk to humans, as rabies can be transmitted through bites. As raccoons grow older, their hormonal changes can lead to increased territorial behavior, which may result in aggressive actions, including biting.

Behavioral Issues

Raccoons are naturally curious and intelligent animals, but their behavior can pose challenges in a domestic setting. Their instinctive behaviors, such as foraging and climbing, can lead to destructive actions within a home. Additionally, their nocturnal nature means they are most active at night, which can be disruptive for household routines.

Assistance with Raccoon Removal in Los Angeles

For residents of Los Angeles who encounter mature or baby raccoons that need to be removed from their property, professional assistance is available. It is important to contact experts who can safely and humanely handle raccoon removal. Before reaching out, it is advisable to check the specific areas they serve within Los Angeles.


By considering these factors, potential raccoon adopters can make a more informed decision. While the idea of having a raccoon as a pet might be appealing to some, the legal, health, and behavioral challenges often outweigh the benefits. Those interested in raccoon adoption should thoroughly research and understand the responsibilities and risks involved.