Hangin’ With Raccoons

Wildlife in the Backyard

Raccoons - Backyard WildlifeWhen we first moved to our area, there was an abundance of wildlife in our backyards. We had deer, raccoons, rabbits, opossums, chipmunks. squirrels and lots of birds. Unfortunately, as the human population increased, trees were cut down, fences were erected and the wildlife decreased.

Sadly, in my backyard, while we still have birds, we rarely see even a chipmunk or a squirrel. However, my parents still have a thriving wildlife haven. They live less than a mile from us, but Mom and Dad have worked hard to maintain a safe environment for the local wildlife.

I have learned a hard lesson. The next time I buy a home, I will search for acreage where I have a lot more personal control over my own surrounding area. For now, I will enjoy my parents backyard.


A Common Sight in My Parent’s Backyard




Raccoons - Backyard WildlifeThe raccoon is probably best know for his “bandit” face markings and his bushy ringed tail. I am personally fascinated by their feet. Each of their front feet has five dexterous toes, allowing raccoons to grasp and manipulate food and other items.

Because they are not very good hunters, they are commonly known as scavengers. They will indeed eat just about anything and have been known to raid garbage cans or “clean” grills at campsites. I am also intrigued by the fact that they “wash” their food. My dad leaves water out for them and I always laugh when I see them dip their food, piece by piece, before they place it in their mouths.

Raccoons - Backyard WildlifeRaccoons are scientifically considered highly intelligent. They have extremely long memories. Some studies have shown that they are able to remember the solution to tasks for as long as three years. It would seem they can tell time too. If my father does not come to see them by 6:00 pm every evening, they will come up to the windows and check in on him. They are not too keen on company, so they will often run away if they do not recognize a guest in the house.

While I would not recommend keeping raccoons as house pets, as long as a raccoon is not cornered or threatened, they are not dangerous. Dad’s raccoons know him, I would even say they love him. The mother raccoons bring their babies out to introduce them to him every spring. As a result, my mother and father have named a few of them and they can recognize them by their markings. In a few cases, they recognize them by their behavior.


A Few Facts about Raccoons

  • Length: Up to 3 feet including the 12″ tail.
  • Weight: 15 – 40 lbs.
  • Average Lifespan: Up to 5 years (have been known to live up to 20 years in captivity)
  • Active mostly as night, dusk or dawn
  • Dens are used for shelter and raising young
  • Eats just about anything, including insects
  • They are excellent swimmers and can stay in the water for hours
  • Excellent Climbers ~ They do tend to climb trees to rest out of harms way


Raccoons - Backyard Wildlife


Miss. Kitty is certainly intrigued by Mrs. Raccoon

Kitty Studies Raccoon through Window

A Little Note of Warning

As you can tell, our family loves raccoons, but please remember, if you see a raccoon, DO NOT try to pet him or feed them from your hand. They do have claws and they are wild animals. They can carry diseases and often have ticks embedded in their fur.


For More Wildlife Information, Facts and Photos visit
Amazing Wild Animals


Raccoons You Can Bring Inside the House

 Aurora World Willow Wisps Raccoon Plush, 5Check Price Wild Republic CK Raccoon 12Check Price Nat and Jules Plush Toy, Raccoon, LargeCheck Price Exploring the World of RaccoonsCheck Price


This recipe article was originally published by me in 2010 on a different site that no longer exists.

All Photos are mine and should not be used without written permission.
© Sylvestermouse

Raccoons - Backyard Wildlife





Originally posted 2017-06-16 12:37:03.

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5 Enlightened Replies

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  1. Nancy Hardin says:

    I’ve always loved raccoons. When I was young, my brother-in-law had one as a pet. He had a cage outside for him, but would take him out on a little chain after he got home, and walk him in the yard just as you would a dog. He finally turned him loose. I didn’t know it then, but that was cruel, keeping him caged like that. He was so cute, and I loved watching him wash his food. I have great respect for all animals now and would never cage a wild animal like this. I love your story, and the facts about raccoons. Glad you have a place to see them.

  2. Sgolis says:

    Why would you recommend not keeping them as pets? I have rescued many kits when mother raccoons killed by hunters, have bottle fed and released to the wild but that is not to say that I have not shared a house with a pet raccoon, recalling my first roommate after college had a very well trained adult raccoon. Just wondering why you do not recommend keeping a raccoon as a pet, some rescues cannot be released, so adoption is necessary sometimes.

    • I don’t mind answering that question at all. I am a firm believer in caring for animals, and definitely for rescuing animals. The biggest reason I don’t recommend keeping them as pets is because it is illegal in some states. If it is reported to police, they will come, take the raccoon and have him put down. Therefore, I consider it reckless endangerment to the creature and you would face legal charges. If you happen to live in a state (and city) that allows you to keep raccoons as pets, there are other considerations. First, a raccoon can live up to 20 years. What happens to the raccoon should you die? Unlike a dog or cat (domestic animals) they are not readily accepted into other homes. Also, they would have to be caged. I suspect this is the area of differing opinions. In a rescue situation, of course, I agree with a temporary cage home. Bear in mind though, in all cases, I am for life first. If a cage is the only way to protect wildlife, than I certainly would opt for the cage. With any animals, dogs included, parents should consider their children. Some raccoons, like some dogs, will bite and they will certainly claw without meaning to do harm. My simple statement “while I would not recommend keeping raccoons as house pets” does not mean that I am opposed to protecting and caring for them. Also, my definition of a “house pet” means allowing one to live inside your house like a dog or cat.

      • SarahG says:

        Many cities do allow raccoon kits to be raised as pets but you must check to see if you are able to get a captive wildlife permit. Yes, they must be caged whenever they are not being watched and I always recommend that an experienced wildlife rescuer or handler take in a rescued baby raccoon that cannot be released back to the wild to socialize and raise in captivity. You must have this permit to get raccoon vaccinated and sterilized. If you do not have the permit, then you put the animal at risk of being taken away from you by animal control and euthanized. Cats and dogs have claws and can scratch children. You have nice photographs.

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