It happens every now and then - people find baby wildlife, all alone. With a raccoon, this can happen for a variety of reasons. The mother raccoon may have perished, and the very rugged and determined young may set out on their own. Or perhaps a mother raccoon moved from a den to a new den, and had to make a judgement call to leave one behind - that happens. Or, very likely, the raccoon isn't an orphan at all. Mom is just sleeping somewhere, or off gathering food, and the youngling wandered off. Mom will still find it. Here is what you should do in your situation.
Found a Baby Raccoon, What do I do?
Things to know when you find a baby raccoon
ARE YOU SURE? - Perhaps the raccoon is not orphaned after all. It could be wandering while momma raccoon is sleeping or gathering extra food. Perhaps the mom is in the process of moving them to a new den. the best thing to do may be to leave it alone, and see if the mother raccoon will come get it. DO NOT ATTEMPT TO FEED THEM. They can live a very long time without food, but the wrong food, like cow milk, could possibly kill them.
What To Do If You Find An Abandoned Baby RaccoonBaby raccoons will generally spend most of their time in a nest or den with the mother, especially for the first few months after birth, but there are occasions when the mother does go out to forage for food, or the baby manages to find a way out of the den. Baby raccoons are also more active during the day than adult raccoons, and it is possible that a baby raccoon has just ventured a short distance away from their mother sleeping nearby. The problem with an orphaned raccoon is that it does require very specialist care, so for those who do find an abandoned raccoon and would like to help, the best way to do so is to try and ensure that the kit is reunited with its mother. Intervening too quickly to try and help the baby raccoon can often do more harm than good, and can prevent the mother from recovering her baby.
Try And Reunite The Raccoon With Its MotherIn many cases, the mother of the baby raccoon will be nearby, so if there is no immediate threat to the animal, the first step should be to retreat to a safe distance to see if the mother does come looking for her kit. It is vital to avoid any sort of confrontation with the mother as raccoons are known to carry diseases such as distemper and rabies, and in most cases the mother will do anything to get back to her offspring. If the mother doesn't come to recover her kit, and there are no immediate signs that she is injured or has been trapped nearby, it is still possible that she will come looking for her young, which is still the best result for the baby raccoon. It is best to leave the baby raccoon overnight if possible to see if the mother returns, but to ensure they are comfortable, you can place a hot water bottle wrapped in a towel to ensure the baby stays warm, and place it in a basin or bin that it cannot escape from. If it is raining or the baby is in strong sunlight, try and place some shade over the animal but still leaving it open enough to be recovered by its mother.
Should You Feed An Abandoned Raccoon?In a word, no. For the vast majority of households, they will not have the kind of specialized food that a baby raccoon will need, and in many cases the things that most people will try and feed a baby raccoon may cause a lot of harm. Cow's milk should certainly be avoided as this cannot be digested by baby raccoons, while even the kitten and puppy milk replacement mix can cause damage to a baby raccoon if it is dehydrated.
Recovering And Transporting The Raccoon Safely
Having given the baby raccoon's mother several hours, or preferably overnight in order to recover the animal, if the baby is there, then it is time to take action. Find a suitable container in order to transport the baby raccoon, such as a kitten or puppy cage or a basin that can be covered. If you have been keeping the baby raccoon warm with a hot water bottle, replace this with a fresh warm bottle wrapped in a towel. While there are some vets and wildlife rehabilitation specialists that will come to collect the animal, the most important thing is to get the raccoon to the right care.
CONTACT US - If you have verified that the raccoon pup has in fact been abandoned please contact us so we can arrange to care for the raccoon pup until they are old enough to be released back to their home in the wild.