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Orphan baby racoon

post #1 of 17
Thread Starter 
Last night a baby racoon showed up at the feral cat feeder. He was small enough that eating the Cat Chow was difficult for him. I kept waiting for his mom to show up, but no adults appeared. Then, this morning, after the cats ate, the orphan returned to the feeder. Poor baby! I'm trying to find a local wildlife rescue group for this little critter, but so far I'm having no luck. Anyone have any advice????
post #2 of 17
Hi! I have helped raise a baby raccoon but he was so small we had to bottlefeed him. Maybe you could soak some kitty food in pet milk(the kind just for orphan kittens/pups) and see if he will eat that?
post #3 of 17
I'm just the kitten lady but you know what I'm going to say LOL. Yes, kitten glop!
post #4 of 17
post #5 of 17
Renae, if the baby is old enough to try and eat cat food, bottle feeding is beyond him now. Get some fruit baby food, some banannas (ripe) some grapes, and some apples, cut the fruit up in small small pieces (mince it) combine it with either a custard baby food, or a fruit baby food and put it on a flat tray for him. It has to largel enough he can pick it up in his paws to eat it, and small enough he can chew it without problems.Put a large bowl of water nearby-

Chances are his mom got killed and won't be around, otherwise, they never leave their babies this young-
post #6 of 17
Thread Starter 
Chances are his mom got killed and won't be around, otherwise, they never leave their babies this young-
That's what I figured. Thanks everyone for the advice! I like the idea of the fruit-based food because the cats will turn up their noses at this. Kumbulu, I'm going to check out that web site right now. I don't know why I didn't think of doing a web-search for this kind of info!

I'll see if I can take a picture of this baby...he is way beyond cute!
post #7 of 17
Careful though they are cute, but they bite, and they are food aggressive! You need to get him to a wildlife rehab. If he decides to camp out at your door and grow up with your cats, he will attack and kill them given the chance as he grows older
post #8 of 17
It's best to contact a wildlife rehabilitator (particularly someone that handles raccoons), sooner, rather than later.

I've been told (this is second-hand info) that Animal Control and the Department of Health are VERY much against humans handling raccoons, or raccoons mixing with domestic animals, because of rabies. So you have to be careful what you do and who you talk to.

Here's a listing of some rehabilitators, by state:
post #9 of 17
Don't panic about the idea of a young raccoon being around your cats, unless you live in an area with higher risk of rabies. (I live in a state with low totals, and to my knowledge no cases in raccoons.) Like any other wild animal, they can carry other diseases, as well, and you may want to check about how high the risk might be in your own area. But I have been feeding the raccoons here for ten years. That's how I got two of the three cats I have "owned;" as strays looking for a food source, they came to take the food I had put out for the raccoons. As a whole, the raccoons and cats have tolerated each other. Many a time I found one of my indoor-outdoor cats and a raccoon both waiting on the porch for me. Many a time I've seen a raccoon back off when he got too close and Guard Cat or Purdy would take a swat at him. (Red Cat chooses flight instead.) But it would only take once for a raccoon to decide to become aggressive instead and the cat would come out the loser. From what I've seen, I would expect that would most likely happen with a larger male or with a mama raccoon who was protecting her young or if food was in short supply.

So while I want to ease your mind about any immediate risk while the raccoon is still a baby (unless you are in a high rabies area), I agree that if you are feeding a feral colony, your best bet would be to find a wildlife rehabilitator. If you don't find one near you on the list in the link provided above, call the Fish and Wildlife Department or whatever it is called in your state and see if there are any in your area. I see that the one nearest me does not appear to be listed.

post #10 of 17
twofatcats -

The problem is that -- in addition to using common sense when dealing with wild animals -- many groups use the photos like the one you posted above to suggest that feral/outside cats are potential rabies vectors through their proximity to other wildlife. For the sake of this argument: raccoons. In fact, there's an anti-feral site that uses a similar photo to your own for that exact purpose. It's cute and interesting to us, but it's ammunition to them.

As for the Department of Health and Animal Control, I've been told (true or not) that they are very strict about rabies here and are wholeheartedly against residents caring for baby raccoons...to the point of intervention.

So, I wouldn't panic, but I think a wildlife rehabilitator (and it seems we agree) is the best bet to avoid all of those issues.

post #11 of 17
Wow, I never thought about anyone using photos like this (or possibly even MY photo) in that way! And no, I would not advocate actually handling raccoons or any other wildlife, which is quite different from just putting some food out.
post #12 of 17
Well since I have raised wild babies in the past and then re-released them in the wild, I do get up close and personal with different species. But I also witnessed one night a full grown raccoon chasing one of my feral cats and almost catching it, then the coon went on my patio and growled quite fiercely. I was a bit apprehensive thinking rabies, but it turned out to be a female with babies and she was protecting them. They can, and do get aggressive and they will kill kittens. Here are some of my past rehab babies-

post #13 of 17
Thread Starter 
I found two wildlife rehab people willing to take the poor baby, so I planned to trap him last night. Alas, he never showed up and he wasn't there this morning. So, I fear that a dog got him or that he simply died from being all alone at too young of an age.
post #14 of 17
You should keep trying or keep your eye out for him. Wild animals aren't always perfectly predictable...our raccoons come and go.

It could be that he's disoriented without adults around. Maybe take a look around at places that you think he might hide.
post #15 of 17
Thread Starter 
Thanks Scott. I'll do that. We have a feral cat house that the wild critters seem to like more than the cats do, so I'll check in there. (Of course, the last time I looked in the feral house, I found a dead possum, so the thought of opening it again is not a happy one.)
post #16 of 17
Yes, I've been too curious on more than one occasion...
post #17 of 17
I have to add a dark cloud to this one:

While infections are actually pretty rare, racoons are by far and away the no 1 rabies vector in North America. Most rabies cases in other animals are from the raccoon strain of the virus. In many areas, people with rehab permits are required to turn over racoons to be euthanized. I have a rehab permit for birds, reptiles, small mammals and my permit and the state law are both very specific on this point (here in NC it's racoons, bats, foxes, skunks.)
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