Legally Owning a Pet Raccoon
Raccoons in their very nature are wild animals native to most parts of North America, but have however recently emerged in parts of Japan and Europe. In many states in the US e.g. Kentucky, Arizona, Massachusetts and Maryland, it is illegal to keep them as pets. However, there are states that allow people to keep raccoons as pets so long as they have the required permits. People that intend to keep raccoons as pets should check with their state regulations since permit requirements and laws change rather often. Owning a raccoon as a pet requires a combination of time commitment and patience. In the wild, most raccoons have an average lifespan of 2-3 years, while in captivity and with plenty of good care, raccoons could easily live up to 20 years.
People seeking to obtain their raccoons from breeders in different states, should acquire import permits and any other additional permits that the state requires of them. The raccoon may also require a health certificate for each to be imported to a different state. While raccoons are eligible for keeping as pets in some states, some states still forbid the importation from other states. For instance, Michigan and Pennsylvania may issue people permits for owning raccoons however, neither of them allows the importation of raccoons from other states. In addition to importation laws, local county and city jurisdictions may have extra restrictions on ownership of raccoons, or may even require people to acquire additional permits. Besides this, it is also necessary to check what the regulations of your municipality and housing community are on the ownership of raccoons. Failing to obtain the required permits result in a person being fined and having their raccoon confiscated. Also, many veterinary doctors may refuse to treat your raccoon if it ever falls sick without the required permits, since doing so could jeopardise the licence to their practice.
When raising a pet raccoon, it is important to identify a reputable raccoon breeder. It is usually advisable not to adopt a raccoon from the wild. The majority of breeders require potential raccoon owners to pay a deposit on a kit, after which they send them the raccoon while it is still young, often still bottlefeeding. Receiving the raccoon and raising it while it is still young is imperative to developing a bond with it from a tender age, which will more than likely develop into a long lasting relationship. Like most other pets, it is imperative to set up a litter box and ensure your home is child proofed. Since raccoons are generally inquisitive and playful, they can be quite destructive while exploring your home. On that note, it is necessary to have safe toys like balls and stuffed animals that the raccoons can play with. When interacting with your raccoon, remember not to roughhouse it since this could encourage aggressive behaviour and biting. Raccoons generally require outdoor enclosures big enough for them to play in, and which also allows them to be contained during times where no one is around to supervise them. Such outdoor enclosures should have secure roofing to contain them within your compound. To have all the details on enclosure requirements, it is important to enquire with state and local laws.