Whose Zorro? Our Raccoon...
...we got Zorro and his brother Ringo when they were only 3 days old (Their mom was killed by a farmer's dog). When Zorro and Ringo were old enough, we let them go back in to the woods. Every year for the past 3 summers, Zorro has returned. PLEASE NOTE: Although Raccoons are cute animals, they DO NOT make good pets!
The night Zorro returned we shared a bowl of spaghetti... we had separate bowls... and forks! Then he was on his way for the night. Zorro's favorite food is MARSHMALLOWS! This is NOT their main diet... normally we feed them dry cat food as suggested by our vet. Feeding wild animals, such as raccoons... should not be done because they can carry and spread illnesses... like rabies.
Two nights later... Bandit (another of our babies we raised)... and her THREE babies return home. We found Bandit and her brother Sly sitting in our yard... we think their mother was hit by a car. You could tell they were young, but older than Zorro and Ringo, and very hungry when we took them in!
This is Bandit's 3rd liter of babes! These 3 are just as cute and playful as her other kids!!! The lil' photo is of one of them... he just met the CAT! ...Bandit had not seen Misty in awhile, and Misty was by HER BABIES! Uh-Oh! ...I gotta go... have to find Misty and bring her back in the house... bet she doesn't try to escape to the outside again... not for awhile anyway!
Misty did make it back home safely about 4:30 in the morning!
A few nights later, Zorro showed up again... this time with 5 babies... the next night, 7 babies... tonight a total of 8 babies. It seems he is gathering all of the stray baby raccoons this year and bringing them to meet us! I think 3 of these babies belong to Bandit... in previous years, she would bring the babies to be feed... then gradually get them used to finding food on there own. We may not see Bandit again until the fall. This is Bandit's way of saying that it is time to get on with your own life. ...and like in the past, Zorro has always been there to take over.
First... raccoons do NOT make good pets, if you find a baby or hurt animal you should contact someone who has experience with taking care of wildlife, or just leave the animal alone... a baby's mom may be just out finding food and will return to tend to the young ones. This site has a great listing for Wildlife Rehabilitators or you can contact your local Veterinarian.
When we first got Zorro and Ringo... we feed them Puppy Milk in a small baby bottle. Each of us took turns with the feeding, which was done every hour. Next we had to break them in to eating solid food... so we added baby cereal to their milk. (This next step is very important... getting them to eat more food on their own. The quicker you can get them to do this, the better chance they have for survival.) Fruit Loops were suggested by our vet... and they quickly learned to like this cereal. After a couple of days we mixed dry cat food in with the cereal. Little by little more cat food was given and less Fruit Loops.
If they get sick... we found that they would eat less, or you would have to force them to drink the puppy milk and water. We would have to increase how many times we feed them because they would eat less at one feeding. This happened 3 times with Zorro and Ringo... many nights we took shifts sleeping on the floor beside them.
To get excercise, we let them run the house... oopps... seems Zorro wants to help out with the dishes! One important thing to remember... raccoons are RACCOONS... and they will naturally be curious, and get into everything!
Once they were older, they were placed in pens outside so they could adjust to the weather. It was in the fall and the weather was still warm. As it grew closer to winter, the nights became colder... their fur became thicker. Their cages had a wooden box in it which we filled with straw to keep them warm. During the winter months we had to go out a few times a day to make sure they had water.
In the spring, if you got up early enough, you could find other raccoons climbing on the cages. To our surprise, Bandit had babies... it seems we did not separate the boys and girl soon enough. She had 5 babies!!! One morning when we went out to feed them, we noticed a hole had been created by Bandit and the babies... they were all gone. They continued to visit during the night ... for food! We continued to feed them, at first every night... but as the weeks went on, we feed them less often so they would go out and be able to find food on their own.
Bandit, because she was older when we found her and her brother must have learned a lot from thier mother because she was able to take care of herself when other raccoons came near. However... Zorro and Ringo, whenever they were in trouble... they'd always come running back home. They would start this crying noise and hide under our clothes we'd have hanging out to dry.
It's nice to have them visit... if we wake up early enough in the morning... we find many raccoons making their last round before heading to their homes for the day. It's especially nice when we get to see our babies... the ones we raised... and their offspring!
Spring 1999... yeap, it's time for dinner!
Links to Raccoon Pages...
Photos and Contents Copyright ©1998 Loraine and Roger