When Are Baby Racoons Born
Mother Raccoon with Babies
10.03.2008 — Raccoons are excellent mothers. They take great care of their babies. When the babies are young, they stay in a nest while the mother raccoon goes and forages for extra food to make enough milk to feed them. After about twelve weeks, the young have grown large enough that they start to follow the mother outside of the nest area (the nest is usually in a tree hollow or an attic) and outside, where they learn from her how to forage for food, and where are the best places to go. They are weaned by 16 weeks. The young stay with her for some time, up to nine months, and finally go off on their own. Although a female raccoon can give birth to up to eight pups (though four is average), by the nine months after birth, there’s usually only two or so left. She then finds a new mate.
In the above photo I’ve actually used a litter of pups as bait to catch the mother raccoon. This is a very common tactic that I employ when I am getting raccoons out of an attic. I usually can’t get the mother right away, but I can find the nest of baby raccoons and then set them in a back of a trap. The mother raccoon will always go in for them, and then I have them all, such as in this photograph. I am then able to relocate them to the wild all at once. I know that it must be hard on the raccoons to find themselves outside of their former warm, dry attic home, but the young stand the best chance of survival if they stay with their great mom. If I give the young to a wildlife rehabber who raises them and releases them, they won’t have learned essential survival skills.
Do it yourself: Visit my How To Get Rid of Raccoons page for tips and advice.
Get professional help: Visit my Nationwide Pro Directory of wildlife removal experts.
Do raccoons make good mothers? — Although there will normally be four to six raccoons in a territory for reasons of protection, Raccoons live a mostly solitary existence their entire lives with two exceptions. During mating in January or February, a female may stay briefly in a den with a male. In late April, early May, when a female has her babies or kits she stays in a family group with her offspring. A female raccoon spends a large amount of her pregnancy looking for the perfect place to nest. She will look to secret herself away in a cosy, hidden den to await the birth of her babies a week or so before she is due. After she gives birth to between one and six tiny, blind, hairless kits she will spend all her time attending to them. The female, or sow, has the duty of raising her young all on her own. This makes her very protective of her kits. For the first few weeks she will leave the nest only to feed and return frequently to nurse them. She will often patrol the area around her den looking for possible predators.
The Kits are totally helpless when they are born and will not even open their eyes till about five weeks of age. At six to eight weeks they can finally stand on their own. The mother raccoon will wean her young between three and four months of age. At this time she will begin taking them out with her to look for food. She can often be seen carrying a young kit in her mouth on the adventures. Even though the average lifespan of a raccoon is only two and one –half years, it takes about one year for the young raccoons to perfect their food gathering and survival skills. At this time their mother will start to let them wander off on their own, still keeping a watchful eye. By the time they are fourteen months of age, she will have left them alone completely. Female raccoons will become sexually mature around eleven months- about the time they leave. Males do not become sexually active until they are around two years of age.
When Are Baby Racoons Born
|Care for Baby Raccoons|
A raccoon is a RABIES VECTOR SPECIES!
If you have found an orphaned or injured raccoon, you must be informed that RABIES in Texas is an ongoing state health emergency.
It is illegal for a person to keep as a “Pet,” possess, or transport certain animals that are high risk for transmitting rabies, including raccoons, foxes, skunks, bats and coyotes. A violation of this law is a Class C misdemeanor.
Until you are able to contact and place the orphan with a permitted Wildlife Rehabilitator, you can follow these CARE INSTRUCTIONS to give the infant the best chance for survival.
HEAT & BEDDING: The very FIRST thing the orphaned raccoon kit will need is an external heat source. Infants younger than 5 weeks do not produce their own body heat to thermo-regulate. They need a heating pad, set on LOW setting. Place a bath towel, folded to make about a 1 to 1 1/2 inch thickness and put it on the heating pad. Now, place a box on top of the towel. Place your babies into a soft cloth such as an old flannel shirt, or old sweatshirt or sweatpants. Place the infant, nestled in the cloth, down into the box. That way, a gradual heat will come up through the layers and warm the infant, but not make them too hot.
HOW OLD IS THE RACCOON? A 100-gram or less — baby is a week or less old: very light hair fuzz, 4 ½ -6” nose-end of tail, eyes closed, ears unopened, crawls spread-legged.
DEHYDRATION: Dehydration is very common in orphan raccoons. A baby raccoon that is 5% dehydrated needs to get about 4-5% of its body weight of balanced fluids over an 8-hour period. A good rehydrating solution can be made by mixing the following: 1 pint of boiled (or distilled) water — 1 teaspoon of sugar — 1/3 teaspoon of salt. You can also rehydrate dehydrated babies with warm warmed Lactated Ringer’s Solution (LRS) if available, or diluted Pedialyte,
If the babies are not fed properly as infants, they may develop metabolic bone disease resulting in a horrid, painful death once released.
Never give whole milk, raw eggs or honey to baby raccoons, as these could cause a deadly digestive bacterial infection. Keeping the baby hydrated and getting its electrolytes back in balance will suffice until it can be properly fed. Formula should be heated to body temperature before feeding (100-102F). You should feed it 5 times a day (that includes in the middle of the night) for the first four weeks. If it doesn’t take to the bottle yet (animal nurser bottle, 4 ounce size, from a pet shop or a baby bottle with preemie nipple), Use a medication syringe and allow the baby to lick the formula off of the tip.
FEEDING SCHEDULE (APPROXIMATIONS)
HOW TO FEED: Use a baby bottle, warm the formula, and place the raccoon on its tummy. The raccoon will suck. You will have to clamp your hand firmly over its muzzle and rub its back to get the raccoon started. Make sure the hole in the nipple is not too large, as this will allow the raccoon to take too much formula. If this happens the raccoon will sneeze formula out of its nose – Stop feeding, turn upside down, gently rub its back, and gently wipe the excess formula from its nose. Repeat this for about 5 minutes or until the sneezing stops and breathing returns to normal. If severe this can cause immediate death or pneumonia on a long-term basis. To avoid this from occurring feed in a quiet room, go slowly and watch both the raccoon and the bottle. Feed the baby belly down on a towel or blanket on a counter top or on your lap; do not place it on its back, as this can cause aspiration leading to pneumonia and possible death. Don’t overfeed! Raccoons will overeat when nursing. Overeating can cause bloat and/or colic resulting in death. Stop nursing the baby when it stops sucking vigorously, stops searching for the nipple or if its little belly feels full. It is better to feed more often than to overfeed. Baby raccoons can drink 1-5% of their body weight in cc’s at a feeding – better you stop before the animal is overfilled and refusing. Gently rubbing or scratching the back of the neck or lower back, where the body meets the tail, may stimulate it to nurse. After feeding is finished, wash its face well with a damp face cloth as the formula dries quickly and will cause fur loss.
You will have to burp the baby, by laying it over your shoulder or lap and gently patting the upper neck, and manually stimulate it to eliminate for another few weeks. Use a warm rough paper towel and gently swap or tap the genital area from front to back. Place a soft piece of material between you and the baby so that you don’t get dirty. If diarrhea occurs, dilute the strength of the formula.
WEANING DIET: (6 to 8 Weeks) You should be feeding 4 times a day now.
TREATS (Sparingly) Fig Newton’s, cookies, wafers, raisins.
LITTER BOX: Once a raccoon can walk, you can train it to use a litter-box. If you use a water bowl instead of a water bottle, the raccoon will eliminate in the water bowl. It will then «wash» its food in that same water. Remove the water bowl. Place a litter box in the enclosure. If you are still weaning the raccoon to solid food process, place a small tin with kitty litter next to the feeding area. If the raccoon starts to eliminate, immediately place it in the litter. This will help speed up the process and keep it from using its food bowl as a toilet. Raccoons will share a litter-box. They do not bury their feces, but may knock over the litter-box for fun. Place a piece of concrete under the litter to weigh it down.
Practice proper hygiene at all times, as raccoons pass harmful parasites through their stools. On KMR, a normal stool is golden brown, with the consistency of peanut butter. Promptly flush any fecal matter down the toilet and immediately practice proper hygiene. Once the baby feeds from a dish, this should no longer be necessary
WORM THE COON with Pyrantel Pamoate, orally at (5mg/pound) or 11mg/kg. BE DILIGENT ABOUT WORMING. DO NOT MISS A SINGLE DOSE UNTIL RELEASE. Pyrantel pamoate is very low in toxicity because it is not absorbed from the intestine. It is sold under the trade names Nemex, NEMEX-2, and Strongid.
Give NEMEX-2 @ weeks 2, 3, 4, 6, 8, 10, and then give 1 X monthly (Don’t be late)