Thursday, 12 June 2008

Raccoon owners 101...

A lot of people have seen Meeka out with us, She likes to be out and about in the car and comes into the school yard when we pick up our daughter from school.
When people see her, and finally figure out what she is, we always hear the same thing...

"Awww, I want one - she's so cute."

We agree, she is absolutely irresistible - But if you are considering having a baby Raccoon, there are a few things you need to know....

1) They bite. -
Not cute little puppy nips, but big savage bites - She is only playing, but it hurts when she decides you need a new ear piercing.

2) They are demanding.
Raccoons in the wild are fed by their mothers for a very long period - up to four months. Usually pets are fully weaned when you take them on (eg a 7 week old pup), but with Meeka it is a case of bottle feeding her every 3-4 hours. She is not a pet you can leave whilst you go out to work, she needs attention and affection 24-7.

3) They are curious to the point of mischief.
Meeka is in to everything... She is only 8 weeks old at the moment and now she has found her feet we have to constantly watch her - we can't take our eyes off her for a moment.

4) They have specific needs.
Try taking a raccoon to your local vet - after all the ooohs and aaahs from the receptionist, the Vet will just look blankly when you ask if she'll need any innoculations, luckily we have now been put in touch with a zoological veterinarian - although this will mean a lot of travelling if we ever have any problems.

5) They grow up.
Baby raccoons do not stay babies for ever. Meeka will eventually grow larger than an average housecat, Combine this with the curiousity, the biting and the 1 inch claws this will lead to some interesting times ahead...

Having a raccoon is for the brave or the stupid - I think we fall somewhere in between the two categories.

Bringing up a raccoon is like bringing up a child - you need to provide a nurturing environment with positive attention - luckily we are in a position to do this, But having an exotic pet is a big commitment, both for us, and for Meeka - if you can't give up half your time to caring for them, then you will end up with a wild animal in your house... It was only last year that raccoons were taken of the DWA list, and you could have them as pets without a licence.

I'll post some more on the subject in the coming months.


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