Monday, November 22, 2010

Pet Raccoons

These will be my last comments about Little Heathens.  Promise.  

Picture this:  1930s, farm in Iowa, cozy farm kitchen lit with oil lamps, kids sitting at a kitchen table doing homework.  With raccoons sitting on their shoulders!  

They tamed them.  Raccoons, of all things.  Tamed to the point where the raccoons would figure out how to open the door latch, sneak in, and sit under the children's chairs during supper, waiting for handouts.  

Is this what my kids would do if they didn't have a Wii?  

The critters also figured out how to scale the porch and sneak into the kids' bedrooms on summer nights when windows were open.  The raccoons liked to sleep with the kittens at the children's feet.  Mother tried to shoo the the raccoons away, but they came back in as soon as she left, so she eventually gave up. 

Can you believe it?  I read this chapter a week ago, and I'm still shaking my head over it.  The author made a few mentions of how the children never received tetanus or rabies vaccines, yet none of them ever contracted any diseases from the raccoons. 

Eventually, the raccoons were somehow returned to the wild--either on their own impulses or occasionally by human intervention (when they were caught picking off chickens).  

A quick Google search shows that while having a pet raccoon is generally illegal today, a fair number of people ignore that fact.  Here's a quote from the website of a person who also raises a couple black bears and foxes...

"Raccoons are amazingly friendly, if raised properly..  Domestic raccoons also do get into mischief.   Larry Lee and Billy Bob was very easy to litter train.

They seem to do better if they have another animal to play with.. However, it seems the older Larry gets, the calmer he gets.. He don't seem to get into as much mischief as he did when he was younger. Of course he still does get into mischief, but not as much as he did when he was younger..

Even though Raccoons are friendly, they are not for everyone. They require a little extra time and patience with them climbing." 

There you have it.  Good advice, to be sure.  Just the same, as much as I love animals, I'll be sticking with pets of more legal and domesticated ranks. 


  1. The story of a male coon getting older and more mellow... ? That sounds more like a tall tail ...
    From my family experience of raising a male raccoon it was exactly the opposite. The older he got and the more sexually mature he grew .. He stopped being the lovable "Jaymar the cute lovable pet raccoon" And turned into a Tasmanian Devil .. The first two years were wonderful, we raised him right beside the family dawg. We had the little coon a coupe of weeks before his eyes opened. And he loved to play with the dawg. Until he grew older and dangerous. We had to let him geaux.

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