Can you have a pet raccoon in Canada?

Bandit-masked looks, furry tail, and adventurous personality makes this little-bear looking mammal welcome everywhere from North and South America to Europe to Asia. Their curious nature makes raccoons adaptable to every sort of habitat. Many will object that isn’t only the curiosity that brings them everywhere, but also their appetite. Raccoons are found in forests, prairies, marshes, farms, towns, and even in big cities. In the wild, they are tough and will show their swimming and hunting abilities to rats, fish, frogs, and other aquatic creatures. In sophisticate, urban environments they will change their diet requests: preferring their favorite nuts, fruits, and bird eggs, mostly you will scoop them at night-time, eating food scraps around garbage beans like there is no tomorrow.

Furry, cute-looking with their black mask, fearless and adventurous raccoons make many Canadians fall in love. Some of us have made serious thoughts about adopting one of those little-bear looking mammals. In theory, raccoons can be lowing and sweet pets, they are very adaptable animals. In reality, our animal friends are more than happy living on their own, in nature. Additionally, it is very rarely permitted to domesticate a raccoon, and only to experts in Canada. They are wild animals and for this reason, they are on the prohibited animal list. Even more, it is unethical to keep a wild animal in your household.

Are you curious to find out more about the argument? Keep reading. We will explain why you shouldn’t keep wild animals as pets, what does the Canadian prohibited animal list mean, on which occasions it is legal to keep a wild animal, raccoon, and what does mean keeping a raccoon in your house.

Why you shouldn’t have a raccoon as a pet

Firstly, keeping a wild animal as a pet is unethical. Associate yourself with these little mammals. Living in nature, they are active at night-time and accustomed to large prairies and forests, retain them into a room or cage is inhuman. So, are you still sure you want to keep a raccoon with you for the rest of its life for your pleasure, or for his cuteness? It is even more morally questionable where there are many homeless domestic animals like dogs, cats, rabbits, and hamsters in Canada. Secondly, as explained, it is illegal to keep raccoons as pets in Canada. They are wild animals and are kept in custody only on extremely rare occasions, although for a reasonable reason, for example when they have to be cured. Keeping a wild raccoon in these occasions requires a licensed, experienced, and knowledgable veterinarian. Thirdly, raccoons can carry zoonotic parasites and infectious diseases, including rabies, that pose a threat to humans and other animals. Both young and adult wild raccoons can shield viruses, bacteria, and parasites that can result in infections and diseases for both humans and other pet animals. Saliva, urine, feces, bites, or scratches are the most common routes of exposure. Also, contamination of the environment and materials used by raccoons can be sources of rabies, intestine parasites, giardiasis, leptospirosis, and other diseases. The same goes for raccoons. In Canada aren’t many veterinarians dealing with raccoons. If your raccoon pet gets sick, finding appropriate treatment and care can be difficult, hopefully not impossible. Further, visiting a veterinary, you must show proof that you are licensed guardian of your pet raccoon, and you didn’t illegally take the animal from the wild.

Additionally, raccoons aren’t easily house-trained. As a pet, a raccoon requires a lot of your time, attention, and supervision. A young or adult raccoon as a pet can be messy. They love to use their fingers to open doors, jars or boxes, and to dig little holes in the ground. Further, running trough the house can be dangerous for your raccoon pet and your furniture. Even more than that, it is notorious, that raccoons’ natural instinct when they are unhappy, frustrated, or stressed is to bite. When they are approximately 6 months old, they are sexually mature and hormonal. Consequently, their behavior can change, and if angry they will bite your family members or other animals in the household. Consider it when you live for a vacation or trip. In this case, you will have to find someone who is willing to supervise your pet raccoon.

Canadian regulation over the ownership of raccoons and other wildlife

In Canada, a number of municipal, provincial, and federal regulations govern the ownership of wildlife as pets. Citizens are looking for animal companions a bit more outside of the mainstream than cats and dogs. For this reason, wild animals are becoming increasingly popular. Considering that certain Canadians wild animals like bears and wolves shouldn’t be kept as pets, possessing a wild raccoon is prohibited. Some licensed custodians can on rare occasions keep a wild young or adult raccoon. Generally are the provincial laws that prohibit keeping native wildlife as pets. Rules on this subject are tricky so it is wise to contact federal offices like Fish and Wildlife Office or similar. We have already resolved the raccoon’s question, for similar Canadian wild or world exotic animal species here is a list of animals that are illegal to own in Canada. Besides raccoons, banned as pets are wild bears, fox and wolves, alligators, crocodiles, elephants, killer whales, poison snakes, primates, hyenas, giraffes, kangaroos, lions, leopards and tigers, pandas, and poison frogs.

If this prohibited animal list makes you giggle, think about some local laws that permit legally keeping a tiger, but not a pit bull.

The issue of Canadian wild animals in captivity has been the subject of strong debate for a long time. In rare cases, licensed wildlife custodians are authorized to possess raccoons, mainly for scientific and educational proposes, like providing care or rehabilitation to sick, injured, or orphan raccoons.

A raccoon cannot be a pet, instead, it can be a companion in nature

Raccoons are Canadian wild animals and cannot be kept inside. It is also true, that in some ways the look like puppies. It is their look to encourage people to feed and care for them in nature. Feed and care for raccoons that shelter in nature next to your propriety is a kind gesture, but it can be tricky. Unfortunately, if you live in urban areas, this increases their chance of being hit by a car or trapped and kept in custody. We are proud of your caring intentions, just be careful of your and their safety. On the other hand, if you live on farms, continue with your kind nature. Raccoons are intelligent animals, and will certainly reward you in their way. Known for their memory, raccoons can be affectionate and playful with their favorite humans.

Remember they don’t do well as pets, mostly the reasons are in their behavior and temperament. They are unpredictable and notorious biters when something bothers them. Raccoons need space to play with their toys, run, climb, swim, and explore small holes. Keeping them in cages, indoors, or on lashes is simply inhuman.

Thanks to their intelligence wild raccoons are capable of bonding with humans like common pets, they will come for food even living outside, in nature. Most of them are able to learn their names, become cuddly and playful too.

If you live in the countryside, or you are a farmer, please remember that their curiosity will get the best of them, and they will break through doors, sliding doors, windows, furniture, and other areas.

Wild raccoons are omnivores. Their diet should include meat and vegetables. If they shelter near to your propriety, you can offer them dog food, poultry, fish, eggs, insects, and vegetables. Treat them with nuts and other fruit and raccoons will become your best buddies. Remember that they like to rinse their food in water, or rub it in their hands, before consuming it. For those reasons, they are a messy eater. In general, adult raccoons need at least two meals per day.


There are many raccoon species native to North and South America. Their look and curious nature attract animal lovers, and in Canada, there are more and more requests about owning them as family companions. Federal regulations prohibit keeping wild animals as pets, keeping a raccoon as a pet is consequently illegal too. Even more, hunting, trapping, or keeping them indoors is unethical. Caring for raccoons in nature will require a lot of your time, attention, and supervision. But that is not all, the main problem with raccoons is that as wild animals there aren’t many vets specialized in them. So it is risky and complicated to treat them when they get sick Raccoons can develop many medical issues from skin problems to intestinal parasite to urinary infections to rabies. Keeping wild, young or adult, raccoons in house, instead if you aren’t a licensed, experienced custodian, can be medically dangerous for you, your family and your other pet animals. Wild raccoons can shield parasites, viruses, and bacteria that can infect humans and animals. So if you are an animal lover, and you are fond of small, furry animals think of abandoned cats, dogs, hamsters, and rabbits instead. They can be fantastic companions too. Enjoying trips in nature with your dog and family and observe raccoons in their natural environment seems the wisest decision to make.

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