RAISING BABY RACCOONS
I, Remo William Coon, at the early age of 8 weeks, misplaced
my mother. Our tree house was being cut down and ma went one way
and I went another. I never found her again, although I searched
vainly for days. I got so weak that I became careless, and a
human snuck up behind me and snatched me off my feet. I snarled,
struggled and bit the hand that held me, but to no avail. They
took me inside and put water and some items I later learned were
food in front of me, but I hadn't the foggiest idea what I was
supposed to do with them. My keepers immediately realized I
wasn't weaned and would have to be bottle fed. Fortunately for
me, they had done this before and had all the necessary
equipment, which includes:
- Pet Nursers
- There are 2 type of nipples, one long and
pointed, the other slightly rounded at the tip. Baby
coons seem to prefer the slightly rounded tip to the
- KMR - Kitten Milk Replacement
- There are several commercial brands of
this. Because this is higher in fat content than Esbilac
(puppy milk replacement) baby coons seem to thrive on it
more than on Esbilac, although I've known people to
successfully raise coons on Esbilac. Cow's milk is
- Lots and lots of baby blankets
- Mommy gets hers second hand and then
doesn't worry about how rough I am on them
- Hot water bottle.
- Be prepared to patch the holes.
My surrogate parents filled a pet nurser with KMR, held me
firmly, right side up, and stuck the nurser in my mouth and
gently squeezed until a bit of milk got on my tongue and I
swallowed. At first, I didn't like KMR or being given a bottle,
but I got used to it. You must be careful that your infant coon
doesn't swallow wrong and get any in his or her lungs. That's why
you don't hold us on our backs!
|The gestation period of a female raccoon is from 60 to 73 days with 63 being the
How old is my baby raccoon?
You may well ask, "How old is my baby raccoon?"
To tell you the truth, I haven't the foggiest idea because no self respecting mother raccoon
would let me anywhere near her kits until they were 6 months old.
My surrogate mother says that:
|Newborns ||- ||are 4 - 6 inches long, have fur but no markings. Their ears are pressed close to their heads.|
|At 7 days ||- ||they begin to crawl, and you can see an eyelid slit.|
|At 10 days ||- ||they have a mask and stripes on their tails.|
|13-18 days ||- ||they are noisy and 7 to 10 inches long.|
|19-24 days ||- ||their eyes and ears open. The eyes are a cloudy blue and stay that way until
they are about 4 or 5 weeks old.|
|At 28 days ||- ||they've grown to 12 to 13 inches long.|
|At 49 days ||- ||they are fully ambulatory: walking, running and climbing.|
|At 63 days ||- ||they begin to show an interest in solid food.|
|At 70 days ||- ||if they had a mother, they'd begin going with her on evening outings.|
|At 112 days||- ||usually, they are fully weaned from their mother.|
Feeding Young Raccoons
I know you havent a clue about how much KMR to feed us.
You can always just feed us until were full. However, we will, if allowed, overeat and that's dangerous.
Stop feeding when our bellies are full, but not tight. Or, you can
follow the guideline below. To convert ccs to ounces,
divide by 28.35.
to feed in ccs
||3 times a
||4 times a
||5 times a
Your baby coons are thriving,you've run out of KMR and your local pet store is closed until Labor Day.
What do you do until the KMR you ordered over the internet arrives? First, don't panic.
Next, go into your kitchen & mix up a batch of homemade formula according to this recipe:
Refrigerate it. Warm to body temperature to feed.
- 2 cups whole milk
- 2 egg yokes, strained
- 1 can (1.5 cups) evaporated milk
- 2 tablespoons dark Karo Syrup
Below is a weekly timeline for feeding baby raccoons.
Birth to 7 weeks - bottle feed KMR
7 to 8 weeks begin introducing baby cereal
into formula. Don't forget to increase the size of the
9 weeks - add baby food to diet. Continue bottle
feeding if baby insists.
10 12 weeks - begin adding a wide variety
of fruits, cooked skinless chicken, and vegetables cut
into tiny pieces.
13 weeks - baby should be weaned from the bottle.
After they fed me, they took a soft cloth, wet it with
warm water and massaged my anal area to stimulate defecation. My
mother used to do that after I ate. This was absolutely essential
if I were to live because my intestinal tract was too immature to
function on its own.
To be truthful, I wasn't sure life was worth living
without my mother. But my surrogate mother knew how I felt and
wrapped me in a baby blanket and kept me against her own body so
I'd feel her warmth and heart beating. At night she placed me in
a box lined with baby blankets and gave me a hot water bottle for
Each day I was offered various strained baby foods.
Actually, my surrogate parents would put a taste on my tongue.
After 2 weeks, I began eating some of the strained foods on my
own. The next thing I knew, my KMR was offered in a saucer and I
had to figure out how to slurp it up (that was hard).
Then, other things were added to my diet; tiny bits of
fruit, tiny bits of roast chicken, etc. KMR was still offered,
too. By now, I had a mouthful of teeth and a bit of dry kitten
food was added as well as water.
In an emergency until you can get some KMR, condensed milk
(mixed with baby cereal depending on the age of the babies) will
give the babies some nourishment and hydration. It's important
that the babies don't become dehydrated nor cold.
Here is a time line for how often and how much to feed
If the coon is very young and/or weak, you may have to
feed it small amounts of KMR as many as 8 times a day. A healthy
baby, several weeks old need only be fed 4 times a day.
Fill the pen nurser with KMR slightly warmed. Feed the
baby until it is satisfied. When it has had enough, it will turn
away and refuse more food. Hold the baby upright when giving it a
bottle (head at the highest point). If you hold it on its back it
may choke on the liquid and get it into its lungs (which is
When the baby coon is 6 weeks old, begin introducing foods
to it. Human baby foods are particularly good. Strained bananas,
vanilla custard and baby food meats are all favorites of mine.
When the baby begins tasting them, offer it some skinless boiled
chicken cut up very finely. As soon as the baby learns to lap,
you can discontinue the bottle feeding and offer the KMR and
other things in saucers.
Once the baby begins eating solid foods, it turns into a
little gourmand overnight.
HOW TO RAISE ORPHAN COONS FOR RELEASE TO THE WILD, IF YOU MUST
So the little buggers have trashed your house, and you've decided you can't live in chaos and poverty
for the next fifteen years. Getting rid of them isn't as easy as you think.
Raccoons without mothers to teach them are amazingly inept at adapting to the wild.
Here's what you have to do to compensate.
1. If you're going to release them, don't handle them too much.
2. Build a large outdoor cage with a nest box in it for them.
3. Put them in it. When the babies are about 5 months old, start leaving the door open.
KEEP FOOD AND WATER AVAILABLE TO THEM AT ALL TIMES.
The babies will gradually begin to explore on their own. Gradually, through hit and miss,
they'll learn how to find food and shelter on their own. As time passes, they'll return
home less often. When they become sexually mature, the return to nature is usually complete.
WARNING! Some coons never leave home when raised by hand.
Special Note: There is a very good book called "Wild
Orphan Babies" by William J. Weber, D.V.M. (ISBN
0-03-056821-8, Holt, Rinehart and Winston). This book tells how
to treat injuries and diseases as well as showing how to feed the