Every spring, we receive calls about baby raccoons that have been found alone. Every so often these are orphans, but fortunately this is not usually the case.
Mother raccoons must leave their babies alone when they hunt for food. Sometimes, the mother will also move the babies from one location to another, but she can only move one baby at a time. You may have simply discovered the last raccoon baby waiting for his turn.
Also, raccoon babies will explore their surroundings when mom is gone, and sometimes they can become lost. Even though these babies are left alone, they are rarely orphaned unless the mother is killed or relocated. Never touch or disturb a baby raccoon unless you’re very sure that the baby is orphaned or injured.
If you find a baby raccoon or raccoons alone, the best thing to do is to wait and see if the mom returns. Raccoons are nocturnal, so you may have to wait until night time to check if the mother has retrieved her babies.
To give the baby raccoons a good chance for a reunion, keep your pets and children away. Baby raccoons don’t usually move too far from the nest on their own. Expect mom to return when she feels safe.
A mother raccoon’s instinct is extremely strong. If her babies are in an attic and the entry point was sealed up while she was away, she will do anything to get to her babies. Mother raccoons have been known to tear through shingles and wood to get to their babies. If the baby raccoons have not been retrieved by morning, they are likely abandoned.
If you do discover a baby raccoon, here are some signs that it may be orphaned:
Always teach your children to leave wildlife alone, even when the animal appears to be in distress. Baby raccoons, although tiny and possibly weak, can still carry rabies and other diseases. They will bite and scratch, which could leave you vulnerable or injured.
Raccoons should never be raised as pets. If you are certain that you have an orphaned baby raccoon, please contact our office at 901-598-8555. We have an extensive list of local rehabilitators who are skilled in raising baby raccoons so that they may eventually be released back into the wild.
Around 6 weeks after birth, the baby raccoons will begin creeping and then walking. At this time, the babies are still weak and shaky and at first the mother will not take them too far from the nest. Over time, the mother raccoon will take the babies walking around short distances away from the den, slowly building up to longer journeys, and eventually climbing bushes and small trees.
These baby raccoons will quickly gain strength in their legs by playing and climbing. However, for the first few climbing journeys, a mother will stay very close by to protect her young in the event of a fall.
Sometimes, young raccoons can get themselves into some pretty sticky situations. We receive calls every summer about raccoons trapped in garbage cans, and it’s almost always a young raccoon who can’t quite get himself out. During hot Memphis summers, this situation can quickly turn tragic as the young raccoon will die of dehydration and heat stroke within hours without human intervention.
If you find a young raccoon in this situation and the mother is nowhere to be found, there is an easy and safe solution. Simply tip over the garbage can in the direction you want this little fellow to run, and he will take off as fast as he can without looking back. To him, you are the predator!
Young raccoons are considered weaned from the nest around 2 to 3 months after birth, meaning they are able to fully survive on their own without the help of their mother. However, some raccoon families will stay together for up to a year before the babies move on and separate from their litter.
The timing of natural separation from the mother usually coincides with how quickly the babies mature. Males reach sexual maturity at 2 years; females at 1 year.
Young raccoons usually remain with their mother through their first winter, becoming independent early the following spring – just in time for mating season!
We also do outside wildlife trapping in Memphis TN for rats, moles, skunks,
opossums, voles, snakes, armadillos and much more.
So if you have some little visitors you need evicted from your home or property,
give Apex Wildlife Control a call today.
We are happy to help!
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