Is It Illegal to Keep a Pet Raccoon?

The common domestic pets we are accustomed to seeing in a person’s house are typically dogs, cats, small breed reptiles, maybe a few hamsters here and there, or some goldfish. On the other hand, there are people in this world who like to step outside of the box by adopting an exotic pet in place of the stereotypical four-legged furry friend. This choice and alternative to pet ownership is perfectly fine, depending on the state you live in. If this is something you have in mind, you will first need to learn the specific laws and regulations surrounding exotic pet ownership in your particular state of interest. Before you or a loved one decide to adopt a pet raccoon or kit, be sure to educate yourself on all the legal boundaries concerning raccoons and pet possession.

Pet Raccoon Regulations

For many states, the short answer to the question, “Is it illegal to own a pet raccoon?” is “no.” However, in these states where exotic pet ownership of raccoons is permitted, there are usually several prerequisites and requirements that one must meet in order to adopt a pet raccoon. Common rules include obtaining specific documentation and licensing, such as a legal permit and state approval, as well as, pay annual fees. Also, a state’s wildlife possession laws vary depending on the intended use of the animal. The state wants to know if a person intends to use the animal for commercial use or non-commercial use. This means, “Are you going to sell the raccoon, breed the raccoon and sell the kits, or keep it as a pet?” Different permits are required and assigned for the different intended uses of a raccoon. And these uses must be revealed and verified before permits are approved.

In Many States, But Not all…

If a person’s intentions are merely non-commercial, they will need a Furbearing Mammal Breeder/Possession Permit. There are two classes for this permit: Class A, and Class B. For those who wish to keep protected wildlife for non-commercial use, they will need a Class A permit. For those who intend to use protected animals for commercial purposes, they will need a Class B permit. The fee for a Class A permit is only $10, and then $25 annually. Again, it is only intended for those who keep a raccoon solely as a pet. Class B permits are $20 and $25 annually. Class B allows a person to breed and sell protected wildlife. Keep in mind these are just averages, and fees vary from county to county and among individual states.

Another stipulation to Furbearing Mammal Possession Laws is that a person must purchase or obtain a pet raccoon from a licensed breeder only. They must file and receive their legal permit before purchasing or adopting a pet raccoon. People are not allowed to catch, trap, or take a wild raccoon from nature and keep it as a pet. They will not be approved for any exotic animal possession permits. It is strictly forbidden. A person must adopt a raccoon from a licensed raccoon breeder; and they must file and receive a legal permit before doing so. If these rules are not followed, then the law is being broken.

What to Do if You Find a Stranded Raccoon

If you find an injured or stranded raccoon in your yard, never attempt to touch it or pick it up. Unfortunately, wild animals such as raccoons can carry diseases that can be harmful to you and your pets. You never know what raccoon can be aggressive, scared, and potentially attack. One bite can pass on various contagious illnesses and diseases. If you ever find or have raccoons in your yard, call a professional raccoon removal company right away.