Female raccoons give birth to 3-7 young during the months of April-June. Baby raccoons are blind at birth, and their eyes open around 3-4 weeks of age. At 6-8 weeks, they begin to explore areas outside their den, but are not weaned until August. Raccoons stay with their mother until the following spring.
If you find a raccoon kit, you need to make sure it is orphaned before rescuing it. At times baby raccoons will wander from their nocturnal mother in the day and may be briefly separated. Raccoons rely on their mothers to teach them the skills needed to survive in the wild, therefore it is extremely important that you do your best to reunite the kit with its mother.
Babies that appear healthy should be left for a few hours up to a full night to allow the mother to reclaim them. Make sure the babies are in a safe location, but do not remove them from their surroundings. If the mother does not come back for the kits or they appear thin and dehydrated, then you will need to take the proper steps to rescue the animals while keeping yourself safe.
Never feed an animal you are rescuing. Improper feeding can result in death for the animal. Keep in mind that although baby raccoons are very endearing, adolescent and adult raccoons become very strong and aggressive. Like any wild animal, raccoons are meant to be free and make terrible pets.
How to Rescue a Racoon
- Wear heavy work gloves
- Throw a towel over the animal
- Do not handle or touch the animal unless absolutely necessary
- Transfer the raccoon to a sturdy cardboard box with air holes, or to a kennel.
- Put it in a warm, dark, quiet place and keep people and pets away.
- Do not offer food or water unless directed to do so by a wildlife rehabilitator. Inexperienced help can kill.
If you find an adult raccoon that may be injured or otherwise needing help, call a wildlife rehabber before taking action. Ask yourself if the normal fear of humans is lacking in the animal, it may be in danger. Remember: if you have to chase it, it probably doesn’t need your help.