Can I Legally Have A Raccoon As A Pet? (A List Of States And Countries)

Raccoons are considered wild or exotic pets and do not typically make great pets because of their unpredictability. However, many people are beginning to tame them and move toward bringing these furry and affectionate mammals into their homes. Their cute appearances and cuddly personalities make them seem like the perfect pet.

You can legally own a raccoon as a pet in sixteen states. There are restrictions in some cases, like how states require licensure and permits for owning a raccoon. Some states also limit the number of raccoons and deem ownership of these animals as partially legal.

In most states, raccoons are considered wild animals. Taking them from their environment is cruel and is a major commitment. It costs significantly more to own raccoons than to own a domestic animal. So, you must be prepared to invest significant amounts of money if you intend on owning pet raccoons. Their diet, necessary environments, and medical attention are costly.

Can I Legally Have a Raccoon as A Pet in My State or Country?

You may legally own a raccoon as a pet in several states across America. Sixteen states allow you to own a raccoon legally. Most of these sixteen states have special permits or regulations for owning a raccoon, however.

The sixteen states which allow you to own raccoons legally include:

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

Each state has its regulations and rules for owning exotic or wild raccoons. Abiding by regulations may include obtaining licensure or something else to ensure the animal remains safe while in human captivity.

Arkansas

People in Arkansas may own up to six wild-caught or captive-born raccoons. According to the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission, you do not require a license to own up to six raccoons in captivity.

Delaware

Raccoons are wild animals that require a permit to own or rehabilitate. It is unlawful for anyone to shelter, breed, or raise raccoons without a permit. They require a vet evaluation and a rabies pre-exposure immunization.

Florida

There is no limit to the number of exotic or wild animals you can possess in Florida. In Florida, you must possess a Captive Wildlife License, which claims you can care for an exotic animal. The raccoon is a Class III animal

Indiana

Raccoons are considered a Class II Wild Animal and therefore require a Special Permit to Possess in Indiana. These permits withhold all types of animal ownership, including scientific, for circuses, education, selling, and more. A Game Breeder’s License is required for people breeding raccoons in Indiana. 

Michigan

To own a raccoon as a pet in Michigan, you must have one of several licenses to guarantee that you can care for a game animal. These permits include a Rehabilitation Permit, Permit to Hold Game in Captivity, or a Scientific Research Permit. The Rehabilitation Permit allows humans to house wild animals temporarily while rehabilitating them.

According to the Michigan Compiled Laws, raccoons can only undergo rehabilitation if you donate them to an AZA zoo, ASA, or animal sanctuary. You may also donate them to a science or educational research facility. In any case, they must be released into the same county they were found.

All organizations that accept animals must hold a Permit to Hold Game in Captivity, allowing them to rehabilitate the animal and return them safely to the wild.

Nebraska

Nebraska has partial bans on most exotic animals. They allow raccoons, with the exception that owners obtain a permit. 

Oklahoma

You must have an exotic pet license to own an exotic pet in Oklahoma.

Interested parties must apply for licenses from the Director of the Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation, who will observe your competency and capabilities of caring for wildlife. Permits are awarded by a judge based on previous history and good faith. It costs $48 to obtain this license and $48 for each yearly renewal. 

Pennsylvania

Pennsylvania regulates the ownership of raccoons. Before owning a pet raccoon, you must obtain a permit accompanied by two years of wildlife care experience. The wildlife facility you practiced both years at must be a registered organization.

Rhode Island

Raccoons are considered exotic animals in Rhode Island. You must own a special permit to own raccoons in Rhode Island, like all other exotic animals. There is no restriction on the number of raccoons that you may own. 

South Carolina

Raccoons are fur-bearing animals that humans can trap during hunting season. After trapping, you can legally make these mammals into pets. The South Carolina law can investigate whether they should leave the animal in the person’s care.

Texas

Texas considers raccoons as wild animals, and they are illegal to raise without approved permits from the U.S. Department of Fish and Game.

People may own raccoons as pets if a professional wildlife veterinarian gives their raccoon a positive evaluation. They must be completely healthy and disease-free. The owner must also carry the required permit.

West Virginia

There are no restrictions on private exotic pet ownership. You do not need to apply or have a permit to own a raccoon in West Virginia.

Wisconsin

According to Wisconsin Watch, no laws regulate private pet ownership in Wisconsin.

Wyoming

Raccoons are exotic animals in Wyoming, and they require a permit for private ownership. These permits are either non-game wildlife, educational/scientific, or wildlife rehabilitation. Depending on the purpose of pet ownership, the reasoning for the permit might be different. When applying for the permit, it is important in Wyoming that you select the permit based on your intention with the individual pet.

Why Do Raccoons Make Good Pets?

Raccoons make great pets for several reasons, like their lively personalities and how easy they are to care for. People like these animals because they are similar to their house pets now. Raccoons are affectionate, and they love to cuddle. Plus, they have established latrine areas, which means they are already litterbox trained. 

Raccoons Are Affectionate 

Raccoons are affectionate and cuddly mammals that can form close relationships with humans. Because they are so affectionate, many people seek out relationships with these endearing animals. They love to show their human companions attention by sitting in their laps, cuddling at the ends of their beds, and getting belly rubs. In many ways, the pet raccoon acts similarly to house dogs.

The affectionate pet raccoon will sit on your shoulder. Riding or sitting on your shoulder is one of the most enjoyable things this animal does to show its affection. They are quick learners who will catch on to this behavior in no time.

Raccoons Are Playful

A raccoon can make a great pet because of its playful nature. They are agile, and they love to play with humans.

Despite being nocturnal animals, raccoons will come out to play with their owners during the daytime. Being active during daytime is part of their domesticated behavior, which humans cannot teach to wild raccoons.

Viral videos of raccoons learning to do unique tricks or playing with dog toys surface on the internet. These exciting behaviors are common for the playful raccoon.

Raccoons Are Easy To Care For

Raccoons are easy to take care of. For instance, raccoons are relatively clean mammals. They naturally establish latrine sites, making it easy to create animal pins with concentrated mess areas. They have an expansive diet, and they are not picky eaters. For instance, you can feed them cat food as a portion of supplemental food.

Why Aren’t Raccoons Allowed As Pets Everywhere?

Raccoons are not allowed as pets everywhere because they are considered exotic or wild animals. These animals can be dangerous for the environment because they can disrupt the ecosystem by introducing new diseases and stealing food.

Raccoons Can Introduce New Diseases

Raccoons can easily introduce new diseases to the environments they are not from. These diseases are dangerous for the animals currently living in those environments.

It Is Ethically Wrong To Keep Raccoons As Pets

Keeping a raccoon as a pet is ethically wrong because you removed the raccoon from its normal environment. Even when you try your best to emulate the conditions of a raccoon’s natural habitat, the raccoon you are depriving the raccoon of its needs. 

The raccoon cannot normally forage, establish territory, and perform normal mating rituals. The world you establish for the raccoon is very limited.

Considerations Before Adopting A Raccoon: What Should I Consider Before Getting A Pet Raccoon?

There are a few things that you should consider before adopting a pet raccoon. The health status and the availability of nearby wild animal veterinarians are two things that can make a major impact on your pet’s livelihood. 

If you do not plan for things such as medical emergencies, it hurt your pet’s health. Forgetting to plan for medical emergencies can also cost you money in the long run. 

Raccoons Can Be Dangerous To Health and Safety

Raccoons can be difficult to have as pets because of the many diseases they may carry. One of the most common diseases these wild animals may carry is roundworms. These are contagious to animals and humans, and they can transmit to other mammals through feces.

If you intend on adopting a raccoon, you must take it to a veterinarian for a thorough examination. In most states where owning a raccoon is legal, like Michigan, a veterinary examination is required.

Pet Raccoons Are Expensive

Wild animals are much more expensive than domestic animals. You must provide them with much larger cages, and their medical treatment is much more expensive. 

Pet raccoons are expensive after factoring in the many investments you will need to make throughout your lifetime. Additionally, food for your pet raccoon will be costlier than the food needed for domestic animals like dogs or cats. Raccoons require an abundant diet of natural resources.

Raccoons Are Difficult To Tame

Raccoons are not easy to tame. They are primal and have the instinct to scavenge, including digging through trash. These natural behaviors are difficult for the raccoon to unlearn, especially if you adopt them and try taming them at an older age.

Owning A Raccoon May Not Be Legal In Your State

It is not legal to own raccoons in every state, so you should check the legality in your state before adopting a raccoon. You may do this by exploring the exotic pet laws in your state or country -it may also be county-specific, depending on where you live.

Adhere to any guidelines that make owning a raccoon legal in your state.

Places To Keep Raccoons As Pets: Is It Legal To Keep Raccoons As Pets In My Country

In some states in America, such as Arkansas and Wyoming, you can keep raccoons as pets. However, there are strict regulations on raccoon ownership. In most cases, you must obtain a license before owning a raccoon.

Canada

Raccoons are on the prohibited list of animals, meaning they are illegal to own as pets in the country. You cannot legally own a raccoon as a pet in Canada. If you are caught with a raccoon as a pet, you can face serious fines.

Australia

It is illegal to own a pet raccoon as a pet in Australia. There are no permits or licenses that make owning pet raccoons in Australia legal. There is an overwhelming fear that the cages or contaminants will break, thus releasing the potentially dangerous animals into the community. 

UK

It is illegal to own raccoons in the United Kingdom. There are strict restrictions placed on them, meaning they can no longer be bred or sold within the borders of the United Kingdom.

Is It True That Raccoons Are Common As Pets In Russia?

People in Russia are beginning to domesticate raccoons because of their affection and intelligence. They are becoming increasingly common pets because they are easy to care for, and they live for roughly ten to fifteen years, roughly the same time as other domestic pets.

The more interested people become in adopting raccoons as pets, the more awareness people spread about the safety and care required for owning raccoons. There have been seminars that present information about caring for pet raccoons.