Dedicated to making the world a

better place one squirrel at a time

Raccoons always present a problem for us because every spring we receive a dozen or more calls and we dont have the ability to directly help! Please consider donating generously to those centers that do take raccoons. The state of Washington does not provide any funding for urban squirrels, possums, cottontail rabbits or raccoons so please help to keep the few places that can take them funded.

Don’t make orphans!

Of course doing everything you can to avoid making a raccoon an orphan in the first place is the best course of action.  Remove the food and housing or make housing unhospitable (lights on or a radio playing in the area where the raccoon inhabits) will quickly result in the raccoon vacating since they typically maintain multiple nest sites.  Never remove the mother thinking you can place the babies with a rehabilitator, this is extremely difficult!

Should I let nature take its course?

No.  Nature is not kind and if you do nothing, the baby will suffer and die alone. Do the humane thing and take the baby to the Humane Society for Southwest Washington  or the Dove Lewis Clinic for humane euthanasia at the hands of a compassionate person.  

What do I do with this baby?

Make sure the baby is warm and stable by following the steps on the I found a baby link. The information related to squirrels is appropriate for baby raccoons.

If the baby is ill or severely injured, go immediately to the Humane Society for Southwest Washington  or the Dove Lewis Clinic for humane euthanasia.  It’s sad, but the sooner the baby is relieved of its suffering, the better! It’s simply the kind thing to do.

If the baby is found in Washington, you have two options, you can take it to the Humane Society for euthanasia or try calling neighboring counties to find a placement in one of their wildlife centers (see also, ‘I can’t find any help’ below).

This will require some driving as the nearest center may be found in Thurston County at For Heaven’s Sake Animal Rescue and Rehabilitation.  Be prepared to drive as far away as the PAWS Wildlife Center in Lynnwood. Consider the raccoon lucky to find placement at any center later in the spring since space for raccoons fills quickly!  list of wildlife rehabilitators by county is available on the WDFW Wildlife rehabilitation page.

Placement for Oregon raccoons is much easier than Washington because of the larger number of rehabilitators available across the river who are licensed for raccoons.  While Oregon will euthanize all urban squirrels, opossums and eastern cottontails, they don’t usually require euthanasia of raccoons unless there is an epidemic of distemper or other epizoonic disease.   It is illegal to transfer wildlife across state lines; however, its not uncommon for Washington residents shopping or vacationing in Oregon to find a baby raccoon along the roadside or near a dead mother during their travels. There is no requirement to be a resident of Oregon to take wildlife found in Oregon to a wildlife rehabilitator there. Be prepared to provide the circumstances and location where the baby was found.   

Always start by contacting the center nearest to where the animal was found. Rehabilitators must release the animal in the region where found so centers will typically only take raccoons found in their region. Refer to  Oregon Wildlife Rehabilitators by Region to locate the best resource. Not every rehabilitator accepting mammals in a region will take raccoons so be prepared to make several calls.  

Two  located within an hour’s drive of Portland are Turtle Ridge Wildlife Center in Salem and the American Wildlife Foundation in Mollala. Please donate generously if you are able to these organizations as raccoon formula and rehabilitation is very expensive and they always appreciate your help. There are few charities in which every dime you donate goes to the care of the animals as is the case when supporting these small non-profits run 100% by volunteers.

For those not located in the Portland metro area, please contact a rehabilitator near you since the laws and resources vary by state.

I can’t find any help!

1. Try joining the Raccoon Rehabilitation Network and asking for help. They can often locate an experienced resource near you.

2. Go it alone. Read Care for Orphaned Raccoons. It is illegal in Washington and Oregon for the public to rehabilitate wildlife. You may find a resource on Craigslist in the Community Pets forum that can help you to release it back into the wild.   Make sure it is someone who has large rural property and has successfully raised and released raccoons in the past. Always ask lots of questions, see where the animal will be raised to ensure they have an outdoor enclosure in an area with forest and a nearby water source.  Raccoons imprint very easily on humans and that sweet baby will likely become a very dangerous half-wild animal capable of causing serious injury or death to humans, pets and livestock. Raising a single raccoon to see humans as a source of sustenance NEVER-EVER ends well for these orphans. Do not think your baby will be the one exception.

Do not keep a baby raccoon as a pet

They are cute and sweet and amazing... and then they grow up!  A raccoon can never be happy caged and it will always be a wild animal no matter how much you try to make it a pet.

Raccoons imprint very easily on humans if improperly handled  even for a short period of time.  Rehabilitators must euthanize babies that have imprinted on humans.  A pet raccoon  can revert to its wild nature at any time causing serious injury!  A half wild raccoon must be euthanized for the safety of the public!  

Don’t believe me ?  Warning, disturbing!

Orphaned Raccoons in Clark County