raccoon find

What to Do If You Find a Baby Raccoon: A Step-by-Step Guide


A Baby Raccoon in Need: Becoming Its Guardian Angel

Picture this: you’re strolling through your backyard, enjoying the tranquility of nature, when suddenly you spot a small, helpless creature nestled among the bushes. Lo and behold, it’s a baby raccoon! Your heart fills with empathy as you realize that this little furry friend needs your help.

But what exactly should you do? Fear not, for we have prepared a comprehensive step-by-step guide to assist you in navigating the perplexing situation of finding a baby raccoon.

Now, you might be wondering why it’s crucial to know how to handle such encounters. Well, dear reader, understanding what to do if you find a baby raccoon is of utmost importance because it can mean the difference between life and death for these vulnerable creatures.

While adult raccoons are known for their adaptability and resourcefulness when it comes to surviving in urban environments, baby raccoons depend entirely on their mothers during their early stages of life. If left unattended or without proper care, these adorable critters face numerous risks such as starvation, dehydration, predation by other animals or even unintentional harm caused by well-intentioned humans.

By taking the initiative to educate yourself on the matter at hand and following our step-by-step guide from start to finish, you will become an invaluable guardian angel for any pet raccoon that may cross your path. Let us embark on this journey together as we delve into understanding why knowing what to do if you encounter a baby raccoon is so crucial.

With knowledge comes power – power that will enable us to provide assistance where it is most needed and ensure the well-being of these delightful creatures. So fasten your seatbelts (metaphorically speaking), because we’re about to set forth on an enlightening adventure filled with compassion and responsibility.

Differentiating between Baby and Adult Raccoons

The Tiny Tots vs. The Grown-Ups

When stumbling upon a furry critter in your backyard, it’s crucial to determine whether it’s a baby raccoon or an adult. The distinctions may not be as obvious as you think! Baby raccoons, also known as kits, possess certain characteristics that differentiate them from their larger counterparts. Kits are typically smaller in size, weighing around one pound and measuring about 12 inches long (excluding the tail). Their bodies are more compact, with rounder faces and softer fur compared to mature raccoons. Adult raccoons, on the other hand, tend to be bulkier and have a weight ranging from 10 to 30 pounds. They measure anywhere between two to three feet in length (excluding the tail) and possess a more elongated snout compared to their offspring. Additionally, adult raccoons have fully developed features such as sharp claws, well-defined musculature, and distinct color patterns on their fur.

Reasons Why a Baby Raccoon May Be Alone

A Whiskered Wanderer Without Company

Discovering a baby raccoon without its mother nearby can evoke concern for its welfare. However, there are several reasons why these little adventurers might find themselves temporarily alone in the wild. One common scenario is that the mother raccoon has left her young ones behind while she ventures out foraging for food.

Raccoon mothers are dedicated providers but often need ample time away from their curious offspring to gather sustenance. It is essential not to assume abandonment when finding a lone kit; chances are high that its mother will return once her scavenging duties are complete.

Another possible explanation for the absence of a mother is relocation. Mother raccoons sometimes move their babies, especially when their previous den has been compromised or perceived as unsafe.

This shuffling of locations ensures the safety and survival of their offspring. So, even if you come across a baby raccoon seemingly alone, it might be part of a planned relocation orchestrated by its attentive mother.

Absence Due to Foraging or Relocation

Where Did Mama Raccoon Go?

When baby raccoons are left alone due to maternal foraging or relocation, it’s important not to jump to conclusions and intervene immediately. Mother raccoons typically spend hours searching for food sources to nurture their young ones.

They may travel relatively long distances in pursuit of sustenance, leaving the kits in solitude for extended periods. During this time, the kits instinctively hunker down and wait patiently for their mother’s return.

It is crucial not to interfere with this natural process by attempting to handle or remove them from their temporary shelter. Keep a close eye on the situation while offering distant supervision until you are certain that the mother is nowhere in sight.

While it’s understandable that one might worry about these little fluffballs being left unattended, remember that mama raccoon knows best and will return when she deems it safe. Respecting the natural order of things ensures the optimal chances for survival and reunification of these adorable creatures.

Abandonment or Separation from the Den

A Heartbreaking Tale: Baby Raccoon All Alone

In some unfortunate instances, baby raccoons may be truly abandoned or inadvertently separated from their dens due to unforeseen circumstances. Factors such as predators attacking the den site or human disturbances can disrupt the family unit and lead to separation. When baby raccoons face abandonment or loss of their den location, they become vulnerable and require immediate assistance from humans.

These situations necessitate intervention as soon as possible to ensure their safety and well-being. If you come across a baby raccoon you suspect to be abandoned or separated from its den, it is crucial to take action promptly.

Contact local wildlife authorities or rehabilitators who possess the expertise and resources to provide appropriate care and secure the best outcome for these tiny creatures. Remember, your compassionate actions can make a significant difference in their lives!

Assessing the Baby Raccoon’s Condition

Observing from a Distance to Avoid Stress or Harm

When you stumble upon a baby raccoon, your first instinct might be to rush over and scoop it up in your arms. However, it’s crucial to resist that urge. Baby raccoons, just like any wild animal, can easily become stressed or frightened by human presence.

To properly assess their condition, maintain a safe distance and observe them quietly from afar. This will help prevent any unnecessary harm or added stress.

Identifying Signs of Distress, Injury, or Illness in the Baby Raccoon

As you intently observe the baby raccoon from afar, keep an eye out for any signs of distress, injury, or illness. These little critters are susceptible to various dangers and health issues when separated from their mothers.

Firstly, take note of their physical appearance; check for wounds or injuries on their body and examine the condition of their fur. If you notice any severe wounds or excessive bleeding, it’s essential to contact local wildlife authorities immediately.

Physical Appearance (Fur Condition, Wounds)

Inspecting the baby raccoon’s fur condition can provide valuable insights into its overall health status. A healthy raccoon should have clean and well-groomed fur with no visible signs of bald spots or matting. On the other hand, if you notice patches of missing fur or matted fur that may indicate poor hygiene or underlying health issues like mange.

Furthermore, be on the lookout for any visible wounds such as cuts, scrapes, or puncture marks on its body. Injured baby raccoons may need immediate medical attention from professionals equipped with proper resources.

Behavior (Lethargy, Excessive Vocalization)

The behavior of the baby raccoon can also tell you a great deal about its condition. Take note of its energy levels and general activity. Lethargy, where the raccoon appears unusually weak or unresponsive, might indicate malnutrition, illness, or severe distress.

Excessive vocalization is another behavior to watch for. Baby raccoons will often make some noise as a means of communication with their mothers.

However, constant cries or high-pitched screams may indicate pain or fear. These signs should be taken seriously and prompt action should be taken to ensure the baby raccoon’s well-being.

Remember, assessing the baby raccoon’s condition accurately is crucial before deciding on your next steps. By observing from a distance and paying attention to both physical appearance and behavior, you can gather valuable information that will help determine the best course of action for the little furry creature in need.

Contacting Local Wildlife Authorities or Rehabilitators

Researching and locating nearby wildlife authorities/rehabilitators

When you find a baby raccoon in need, it’s crucial to reach out to wildlife authorities or rehabilitators who have the knowledge and expertise to handle the situation properly. But how do you go about finding these dedicated individuals? Fear not, for there are resources available to assist you in your quest!

Start by conducting an online search using keywords such as “wildlife rehabilitator” or “animal rescue” along with the name of your city or region. This will provide you with a list of potential organizations or individuals who can help.

Online directories and resources

Many websites feature comprehensive directories of wildlife authorities and rehabilitators across different regions. One such example is the National Wildlife Rehabilitators Association website, which offers a search tool through which you can find licensed professionals near you. Additionally, local animal control agencies or wildlife centers often have their own websites that provide contact information for professionals in your area who specialize in rehabilitating raccoons.

Local animal control agencies or wildlife centers

Don’t overlook the significance of your local animal control agency or wildlife center when it comes to finding assistance for baby raccoons. These establishments usually have connections with experienced rehabilitators who deal specifically with wildlife emergencies like this one.

Reach out to them via phone or email, describing the situation concisely but informatively. They can guide you on how best to proceed and may even offer immediate assistance if necessary.

Remember, when contacting these authorities or rehabilitators, be patient and understanding as they may receive numerous requests daily due to their dedication towards animal welfare. Provide them with all relevant details about the baby raccoon’s condition so they can assess its urgency accurately.

By utilizing online directories and resources while also relying on local animal control agencies or wildlife centers, you are putting yourself in the best position to find professional assistance for the baby raccoon you’ve discovered. These individuals and organizations are committed to protecting and rehabilitating wildlife, ensuring the best possible outcome for both the animal and its natural habitat.

Providing Temporary Shelter for the Baby Raccoon

Creating a Cozy and Secure Space

When you find a baby raccoon in need, it’s essential to create a temporary shelter that provides comfort and security. Find a quiet area away from household activities, such as a spare room or enclosed space like a bathroom or laundry room.

Place a large cardboard box or crate on the floor, ensuring it’s spacious enough for the baby raccoon to move around but not too large that it feels overwhelming. Remember, this is just temporary until you can transfer the little one to a wildlife rehabilitator.

Warmth is Key

Baby raccoons need warmth to thrive, especially if they have been separated from their mother. Line the bottom of the box with soft blankets or towels to create a cozy bedding area.

To provide additional warmth, place a heating pad set on low beneath half of the bedding area. Make sure there is ample space for the baby raccoon to move away from the heating pad if it becomes too warm.

Ventilation and Safety First

Proper ventilation is crucial in any shelter environment. Ensure there are small holes or openings in your makeshift enclosure to allow fresh air circulation but avoid placing them where predators could access them easily.

If necessary, cover any gaps with breathable materials like mesh wire or cloth while still maintaining adequate airflow. Keep in mind that predators can be opportunistic and may harm vulnerable baby animals like raccoons if given access.

Ensure your temporary shelter has secure walls and covers by using sturdy materials like cardboard or plywood—anything that prevents unwanted visitors from causing harm. Remember, providing temporary shelter is just one step in helping an orphaned baby raccoon survive before transferring them into professional care at wildlife rehabilitation centers.

Feeding and Hydrating the Baby Raccoon (if necessary)

Consulting a Wildlife Rehabilitator

Feeding a baby raccoon can be a tricky task, as their nutritional needs are specific. It’s best to consult with a wildlife rehabilitator who specializes in raccoon care before attempting to feed the little one.

They can guide you on proper feeding techniques and recommend suitable formulas or diets based on the baby raccoon’s age and health condition.

Commercial Milk Replacers vs. Homemade Formulas

If directed by the rehabilitator, you may need to provide nourishment for the baby raccoon. Commercial milk replacers formulated specifically for orphaned wildlife are readily available at pet stores or online. These products provide essential nutrients that mimic natural mother’s milk and often come with precise instructions for usage. Alternatively, if commercial options aren’t accessible, your wildlife expert may advise you on homemade formulas using ingredients like kitten milk replacement powder blended with water, heavy cream, or egg yolks. However, it is crucial to ensure the formula composition aligns closely with what is appropriate for young raccoons.

Hydration Matters Too

In addition to nourishment, hydration is vital for the baby raccoon’s well-being. Offer shallow dishes of water within their shelter space.

Be cautious of dish depth as young raccoons may unintentionally drown in deeper containers due to their small size and lack of swimming skills. Remember that feeding and hydrating should be done only under professional guidance or until you can transfer them into the hands of experienced rehabilitators who possess specialized knowledge in caring for wild animals like baby raccoons.

Feeding and Hydrating the Baby Raccoon (if necessary)

Keeping their tiny bellies happy and hydrated

If you find yourself in the extraordinary circumstance of having to care for a baby raccoon, one of the most crucial aspects is ensuring they are well-fed and properly hydrated. These little critters are just like us when it comes to their need for nourishment!

Keep in mind that feeding a baby raccoon should only be done if absolutely necessary, as their best chance of survival lies with professional wildlife rehabilitators who have the experience and resources to meet their specific needs.

Understanding appropriate feeding techniques for young raccoons

Nurturing them with love, care, and proper nutrition

Raising a baby raccoon is no easy task; it requires dedication and knowledge. Consultation with a wildlife rehabilitator is strongly advised before attempting any feeding regimen. They can guide you on suitable techniques based on the specific age and health condition of the little rascal.

Remember, these adorable creatures have unique dietary requirements that must be met for their optimal growth. If bottle-feeding becomes necessary, there are two main options: commercial milk replacers or homemade formulas.

Commercial milk replacers designed specifically for raccoons can often be obtained through specialty pet stores or online retailers. These products come with instructions on how to prepare them properly.

On the other hand, homemade formulas can be tricky since it’s challenging to match the nutritional content found in commercial alternatives.

Consultation with wildlife rehabilitator is highly recommended

The experts’ guidance can make all the difference

In matters as delicate as raising a baby raccoon, seeking professional help is paramount. Communicating with a wildlife rehabilitator will provide you with invaluable insights and guidance regarding the proper care and feeding of these curious little creatures. Remember, raccoons have specific dietary needs that must be met in order to ensure their growth and development.

A wildlife rehabilitator will be able to guide you through the process and help you understand the nuances of feeding techniques, ensuring the baby raccoon receives the best care possible.

Formula options: commercial milk replacers vs homemade formulas

The right formula for a thriving baby raccoon

When it comes to nourishing baby raccoons, two primary options are available: commercial milk replacers or homemade formulas. Commercial milk replacers are carefully formulated to meet the nutritional requirements of these growing critters, offering a convenient and reliable option for their care.

These products often contain a balance of essential nutrients, vitamins, and minerals catered specifically for young raccoons. While homemade formulas may seem like an appealing alternative, it’s essential to exercise caution.

Crafting a nutritionally balanced formula at home can be challenging without expert guidance and knowledge of the specific nutritional needs of baby raccoons. Inadequate nutrition can lead to serious health complications or stunted growth in these incredibly adorable creatures.

Always consult with a wildlife rehabilitator before experimenting with homemade formulas.

Providing water in shallow dishes to prevent drowning risks

Aquatic safety measures for our mischievous buddies

In addition to providing nourishment, hydration is critical for our little masked friends’ well-being. To ensure they stay adequately hydrated without any potential risks involved, place shallow dishes filled with clean water within their reach. This allows them easy access while reducing the chances of accidental drowning.

Remember to refresh the water regularly to keep it fresh and appealing. However, it’s important to note that baby raccoons usually receive most of their hydration through the milk they consume.

Therefore, water should not be offered as a substitute for proper nutrition or a replacement for milk if the raccoon is still nursing. By understanding suitable feeding techniques, seeking expert advice, choosing the right formula, and providing safe access to water, you’ll contribute to the well-being of these adorable creatures while increasing their chances of thriving in this world.

Transportation to Wildlife Rehabilitator

The Important Role of Wildlife Rehabilitators

When you find a baby raccoon in need of help, it is vital to get them to a wildlife rehabilitator as soon as possible. These dedicated individuals have the knowledge and experience to properly care for orphaned or injured wildlife, ensuring their best chance at survival.

Contact your local wildlife rehabilitator or animal control agency and explain the situation. They will provide guidance on next steps and may even arrange for someone to pick up the baby raccoon if necessary.

Safely Transporting the Baby Raccoon

While waiting for assistance from the wildlife rehabilitator, it’s crucial to ensure the comfort and safety of the baby raccoon during transportation. Prepare a secure carrier or box lined with soft bedding material.

Make sure there are enough air holes for ventilation but small enough to prevent escape. Place a blanket or towel inside to provide warmth and security during travel.

When handling the baby raccoon, remember that although they may look cute and harmless, they are still wild animals. Use gloves or towels to protect yourself from scratches or bites, as they may become frightened when picked up by unfamiliar humans.

Once inside the carrier, close it securely but do not seal it completely, allowing for proper airflow throughout transportation. Avoid exposure to direct sunlight or extreme temperatures that could harm the baby raccoon during transit.

Baby Raccoon Comfort during Transportation

To keep stress levels low during transportation, avoid loud noises or sudden movements that could startle the baby raccoon further. Keep your voice calm and soothing while ensuring a smooth ride without sharp turns or sudden braking. Ideally, limit your travel time until you reach the wildlife rehabilitator’s facility.

If necessary, you can place a warm water bottle wrapped in cloth near one side of the carrier box, creating a cozy spot for the baby raccoon. This will help maintain their body temperature and provide additional comfort during the journey.


Transporting a baby raccoon to a wildlife rehabilitator is a crucial step in ensuring its well-being. By contacting local authorities or rehabilitation centers promptly, you give these adorable creatures the best chance of survival and eventual release back into their natural habitat.

Remember, it’s essential to handle the situation with care and respect for both the baby raccoon’s safety and your own. With proper transportation and intervention, we can protect and provide necessary care for these innocent creatures in need.

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