What should you do when you find a baby raccoon? Well, that is a tough question to ask especially if you have no idea on how to approach such a problem. Most of the time, these little ones need to be attended to and cared for. But before that, you should first learn if the baby raccoons have been abandoned or orphaned by their parents. There are instances when their mother has just temporarily left them for reasons such as moving to a new den or finding food. Mother raccoons can carry only a single offspring when she sets out to do tasks such as the ones mentioned earlier. A raccoon can give birth to up to 8 offspring but there are only usually 2 to 4 found in a litter.
There are several possible scenarios wherein you can come across a seemingly orphaned baby raccoon. However, how can you tell whether or not the baby raccoons you’ve found are indeed orphaned? Since raccoons are known to be nocturnal when they reach a year old, they typically look for food at night. Hence, there is a possibility that the mother of the raccoons you’ve found is just sleeping while her offspring are playing during the day. If the little raccoons appear to be really thin, there is a possibility that their mother has been completely separated from them. That is one indication that you have to step in and do something about the abandoned babies. So, what should be done first? Before picking them up, make sure that your hands are protected. You can wear leather gloves or a towel to cover your hands. Such is the case since even as babies, raccoons have a tendency to bite. Since raccoons are vector rabies species, they are known to be capable of carrying rabies. And of course, you wouldn’t want to end up being bitten by an animal with rabies. Place them in a box (with air holes on the lid). Line the container with a clean t-shirt or any other soft cloth to warm them up since these younger raccoons can?t thermo-regulate yet. If they are less than 5 weeks old, they still are incapable of producing their own body heat. In addition, provide external heat through placing a rubber band around the box. You can also choose to add a bottle with hot water wrapped in a soft cloth inside the box. Make sure that there will be enough room in the box for them to move around in. Furthermore, one important thing to keep in mind is that you can?t just feed these little raccoons with anything that you want. Feeding them with the wrong food can mean the difference between life and death. A certain formula is needed for the food of young raccoons. It would be best to contact a licensed wildlife rehabilitator so that they may be given food with the right formula. A rehabilitator has been specially trained to properly handle raccoons in their young and fragile state.
Now that you’ve done your part in helping the newly found orphaned raccoons, find a wildlife rehabilitator for them to be properly handled. Check out websites such as that of the International Wildlife Rehabilitation Council and Wildlife Education for more information.