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How-to For Domestic Coons

playing with my nail polish bottle

I wrote this page out of experience, I am not a professional rehabber, you should consult with a vet prior to engaging in any rehabilitation process. The information that I have on this page is how we raise our raccoons and it is, in my opinion, very effective.

What to do if you find orphaned coons:

If you happen to find a litter of raccoon kits, DON'T TOUCH THEM! Observe them for several hours to see if the mother will come back, she may be out finding food. If she doesn't return, call your local rehabber or Veterinarian and they will tell you exactly how to handle the situation. In Zoey's case, her eyes and ears were open, but she was still very friendly so, the people that found her just picked her up. This is NOT always a good idea, as raccoons have fourty razor sharp teeth and extremely sharp claws!

What to do with a kit once you get it:

Zoey nursing

If you do end up with some orphaned coon kits, you can buy a small bottle at a local pet shop or at Wal-Mart. The brand we have is called "A Little Lovin". You also can get an orphaned kitten formula to nurse them with. We got ours at Wal-Mart, it's called "Tiny Tiger". The feeding requirements are on the can. However, if you have several kits, this can get a bit pricey, so I'll post a recipe for home-made coon formula below. Also, realize that they might not necissarily want the bottle at first, simply because they are not used to it. Put a drop or two of the warmed milk on their tongue to allow them to taste it. Gently rubbing their back or neck as they nurse, may encourage them to nurse as well. *Never feed a kit on their back, although it is cute, the formula can run into their lungs*

Coon Formula Recipe:

Two cups whole milk

Two egg yolks

1 can of evaporated milk

2 Tablespoons of Karo syrup (for flavor)

**Please remember** Kits can easily over-eat while nursing and the results can be deadly. Please remember to feel the kits tummy as they eat. If it feels full-it is! Don't let it get too tight, that's the first sign of over-eating!*

***After Feeding***

When the kits are very young, their digestive system is not yet fully mature. It is because of this that you'll have to stimulate their anal area to encourage defication. The mother licks that area to help them but for the coons safetly, and yours, just use a moist, warm, soft cloth to wipe back to front. You'll know you no longer have to do this when they go by themselves in their cage. Sometimes, they may not feel like going, but generally right after feeding is the best time to attempt this. If you do not do this daunting task regularly, the results can be fatal.

napping on my pillow

This is Zoey, napping on my pillow.

Although raccoons are nocturnal, when put on a schedule, they are willing to adapt to your lifestyle. However, coons need lots of attention, because their mother generally spends 23 hours a day with them. The younger the kit, the more they sleep.

Housing your new member(s) of the family:

coming out of her cage

Zoey's cage door is left open and she can come and go as she pleases.

You can keep young kits in a box, with the top left open. Add a soft blanket or towels to the bottom for warmth. If possible, put a heating pad *underneath the box* on LOW! Any higher setting will cook them. Older raccoons can be kept in a cage. They need lots of room. They need a dish for water and a dish for food, if possible a tub of water for them to play in. Line the bottom with blankets or towels and give them lots of toys!!!

Zoey in attack mode

Click on the picture above to send us an e-mail. Any comments, suggestions, and criticism are welcome.

Coming soon: A balanced, healthy diet for adult coons.

Zoey's Favorite Toys:

playing with a bird toy in her cage

stuffed animals
rubber jacks
cat toys
her water tub
rope dog toy
smooth shells or rocks
tin foil balls
rawhide dog chews
(basically anything metalic or smooth)

Potty Training Your Raccoon:

Coons can be trained to use a litter box just as cats do. This, unfortunately does not come as easy to them as it does to cats. It takes alot of work! I suggest using shredded newspaper as most kitty litter is very dusty and can cause respiratory problems. Spend alot of time with your coon and when he/she squats where she's not supposed to, tell her, "NO!" and place her in her litter box. Persistance and Patience pays off. Eventually they'll catch on.

Disciplining Your Coon:

wrestling with a stuffed animal

When punishing your raccoon, NEVER hit them. They do not understand why they are being hit and are capable of lashing out at you. They are nothing like a cat or a dog in this sense. All you can do is tell them, "NO!" very firmly and show them what they should be doing ie. if they bite you, say no, and give them a toy to play with instead. Practice makes perfect.

Weaning Your Kit:

To begin weaning your kit, add some applesauce or baby food to their milk. I've heard that crushed fruit loops, saturated in milk is also a good one. As for baby food, Zoey prefers bananas, sweet potatoes, pears, rice cereal, etc. The idea is to make the milk gradually thicker. Zoey also has a liking for frosted shredded wheat cereal, (after it gets soggy) so we crush that and put it in her bottle too. Tiny pieces of bread will also help. From there you can start teaching them to lap their milk, pour it over pieces of bread or cereal. We've also heard adding canned cat food to the formula does the trick, and soon they'll be eating the canned food by itself. It's really just a matter of trial and error. Keep in mind that raccoons generally have a sweet tooth!

I would like to make it very clear that I, personally do not believe in keeping a coon as a pet. As they mature they get agressive and they will never be happy stuck indoors. Zoey was weaned and then we gave her to a rehabber who released her back into the wild. Racoons are VERY distructive and unlike most animals they do not feel remorse. Therefore, if you punish them, they do not care. It is very hard to train them. Please, if you find a baby and want to raise it, do so, but make sure it gets released back into the wild.

Ginger Snaps