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Baby Raccoon
You indicated you have found a Baby Raccoon

About Baby Raccoons

Baby RaccoonsCaution: Rabies vector species. Always wear gloves when handling.

Orphan Alert:  Be very careful not to create orphan raccoons by accident. When a baby raccoon is separated from its mother during the night, the baby will stay where it is until the mother returns, which may not be until the next night. People often find a sleeping baby raccoon and will assume it needs to be rescued. However, it is likely that the mother will be back after dark. If the baby raccoon is not in imminent danger, it’s best to observe the baby for another 24 hours without disturbing it. Unnecessarily removing an animal from its environment – particularly a baby – can cause more harm than simply leaving it be. It is important to recognize signs of distress.

There are a few cases where you might need to intervene:

  • The baby raccoon has been crying continuously.
  • The baby raccoon remains in the same spot for 24 hours.
  • The eyes are closed and the baby raccoon is alone. (no mother)
  • The baby raccoon is lying stretched out and is cold to the touch.
  • The mother has been removed, relocated or is dead.
  • The baby raccoon is injured or has been attacked.
  • The baby raccoon walks up to humans non-aggressively.
  • There are flies around the baby raccoon.

If you know of an animal who needs help, please call your local animal control officer, a licensed wildlife rehabilitator, or the Tufts Wildlife Clinic as soon as possible.

What to Do

Protect yourself

Wear gloves. When dealing with non-carnivorous mammals, a thick pair of work gloves, a thick jacket, and other personal protection can prevent injury. All mammals can carry the rabies virus. Do not use bare hands when helping mammals. Please be careful not to get bitten, licked, or scratched by the animal as well.

Prepare a container

Have a sturdy box or animal carrier ready to contain the animal. Garbage cans, recycling bins, and plastic containers will work in a pinch, depending on the size of the animal.

Capturing the animal

Place a thick towel over the animal and quickly gather it inside the towel. Place the animal immediately in an appropriately-sized box with a secure lid. Make sure the box has air holes in the lid. If you are trying to capture a porcupine, do NOT use a towel. Use a board or other sturdy object to slowly herd the porcupine into the container.

If you can’t transport it immediately

  • Keep the animal in a warm, dark, and quiet place.
  • Do not give it food or water. Feeding an animal an incorrect diet can result in injury or death. Also, a captured animal will get food and water stuck in its fur/feathers potentially leading to discomfort and hypothermia.
  • If the animal is cold, keep it warm by putting one end of the container on a towel over a heating pad set on low. If you don’t have a heating pad, you can use microwaveable heat bags or a bottle filled with hot water placed inside the box.
  • Do not handle it. Leave the animal alone. Remember human noise, touch and eye contact are very stressful to wild animals.
  • Keep children and pets away from it.

Transport

Transport the animal to one of the following places:

During transport, keep the animal in the box or crate, keep the car quiet (radio off).

If you need help capturing an injured or sick non-carnivorous wild animal, you can always call a local wildlife rehabilitator or you can call the Environmental Police at 1-800-632-8075, your local Massachusetts Animal Control Officers, The Animal Rescue League of Boston at 657-777-2752, or Massachusetts Fish and Wildlife at 508-389-6300 for assistance.