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Are Raccoons Friendly & Do They Make Good Pets?

Raccoons are endemic to North America and are easily identified by their ringed tails and “black mask” eyes. They are omnivores and belong to the Procyonidae family.

Are raccoons friendly? Do they make good pets? Because of their scavenging habits, people see them as pests and wonder if they are friendly. In this article, we will give answers to these questions.

Are Raccoons Friendly To Humans?

Raccoons are curious creatures and can be friendly to humans whom they would approach. However, raccoons are also skittish and would flee if a human approached.

Some can also be aggressive, especially if they have rabies. Raccoons are carriers of the deadly rabies virus that can cause death in humans within days. Hence, it would be best not to approach wild raccoons or try to feed them.

How Do Raccoons Show Affection?

Pet raccoons are known to cuddle with owners as a sign of affection. Despite their independence and tendency to fight, raccoons are quite affectionate creatures.

Those bred in captivity are known to bond with owners and seek cuddles. In the wild, raccoon mothers are protective of their children and would support them for up to 8 months.

Can Raccoons be Domesticated?

Yes, raccoons can be domesticated, but it is a challenging endeavor. Although they are small creatures, they have a lot of vigor and can be difficult to handle. It is easier when domesticating baby raccoons than adults, but either way, it requires much commitment and is not recommended for new pet owners.

Raccoon grabbing phone

Do Raccoons Make Good Pets?

Although caring for pet raccoons is hectic, these cute creatures make good and affectionate pets if they can be tamed. They are easy to feed because they eat most human food, and they are loyal pets.

But tame raccoons can be just as mischievous and playful as wild raccoons. Thus, they need spacious enclosures and often destroy furniture and other items.

Is It Legal To Have A Raccoon As A Pet?

It is legal to have a pet raccoon, but the laws are not the same in every American state. Raccoons are wild animals and are unpredictable.

Their behavior can swing from friendly to aggressive without warning, and they are known to bite and scratch humans. They are also disease carriers which makes them dangerous. Hence, they are legal in some states and illegal in others.

In What States Is It Legal To Have A Pet Raccoon?

The following states have made pet raccoons legal:

  • Arkansas
  • Delaware
  • Florida
  • Indiana
  • Michigan
  • Nebraska
  • North Carolina
  • Oklahoma
  • Pennsylvania
  • Rhode Island
  • South Carolina
  • Texas
  • Virginia
  • Wisconsin
  • Wyoming

It would help to get a trained raccoon breeder to keep pet raccoons. Not only are raccoons challenging to teach, but by nature, they are also very playful and destructive. Prepare your home accordingly to accommodate one.

Also read: What Eats Raccoons? The Top 12 Raccoon Predators

Raccoon holding a hand

Are Raccoons Nice?

Because raccoons have unpredictable temperaments, whether they are nice depends on multiple factors. These conditions include:

  • The species they are interacting with.
  • Whether they are pets or wild animals.
  • The individual raccoon.

In general, raccoons have shown that they can be friendly to humans and other raccoons. Hence, we can agree that they can be nice too. 

Do Raccoons Like Being Petted?

Pet raccoons would seek human touch so they can be petted. Nevertheless, they are also known to bite and scratch their handlers even if they have bonded with them.

Wild raccoons, on the other hand, are skittish and would flee if a human tries to pet them. Suppose they can also attack you if they feel threatened or annoyed or are infected with rabies.

Can You Train A Raccoon to Be Friendly?

Yes, you can train a raccoon to be friendly. Although tricky, raccoons can be house-trained to be close to strangers. It will be easier if the training begins when they are babies, as that would create enough time for them to bond with you and be comfortable around other humans.

Are Raccoons Friendly with Each Other?

Raccoons are solitary animals and would avoid fighting each other if possible. Despite their solitude, they can band together in groups when scavenging for food and are generally friendly with each other. However, they can be aggressive toward each other under certain circumstances. These include:

  • Finding a mate
  • Asserting dominance
  • Food
  • Protecting their offspring
  • Protecting their dens
raccoon showing tongue

Do Raccoons Have Feelings?

Repeated displays of empathy by raccoons, such as vocalization and cuddling with owners, prove that raccoons have feelings. These creatures are as intelligent as rhesus macaques and can be caring and sensitive. Significant portions of their brain is focused on emotions. Hence they can feel both physical and emotional pain.

Are Raccoons Dangerous?

The deadly diseases and parasites raccoons spread make them dangerous to humans. Raccoons are vectors of diseases and parasites such as rabies, leptospirosis, canine distemper, toxoplasmosis, and raccoon roundworms which cannot be cured and are deadly to us.

Rabies can be spread through biting, while raccoon roundworms are found in raccoon feces. Besides keeping your distance from raccoons, it is also advised that you clean out their droppings properly.

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