How to Get a Pet Raccoon in California

Title: How to Get a Pet Raccoon in California: A Comprehensive Guide

While raccoons are adorable creatures, it is important to note that they are not suitable as pets for everyone. In California, owning a raccoon as a pet requires fulfilling specific legal requirements and providing proper care to ensure the animal’s welfare. This article aims to provide a comprehensive guide on how to legally obtain a pet raccoon in California.

How to Get a Pet Raccoon in California:
1. Research the Laws: Start by familiarizing yourself with the laws and regulations surrounding raccoon ownership in California. Contact your local animal control or wildlife agency to understand the specific requirements and permits needed.

2. Obtain a Legal Permit: California law requires a permit to keep a raccoon as a pet. Apply for a Restricted Species Permit from the California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW). This permit specifies the conditions under which you can legally possess a raccoon.

3. Find a Licensed Breeder: Look for licensed breeders who specialize in raccoon breeding. Ensure the breeder follows ethical practices and provides proper care for their animals. Request documentation proving the legality and health of the raccoon.

4. Prepare a Suitable Enclosure: Before bringing a raccoon home, create a safe and secure enclosure. It should be spacious, escape-proof, and equipped with appropriate enrichment items like climbing structures, hiding spots, and toys.

5. Provide Proper Nutrition: Raccoons have unique dietary needs. Consult a veterinarian experienced in raccoon care to formulate a balanced diet that includes fruits, vegetables, protein, and commercial raccoon food.

6. Socialize and Train: Raccoons are intelligent creatures and can be trained to some extent. Socialize your pet raccoon from a young age and use positive reinforcement techniques for basic commands to ensure a safe and enjoyable living experience.

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7. Regular Veterinary Care: Just like any other pet, raccoons require regular veterinary check-ups to ensure their well-being. Find a veterinarian familiar with raccoon care and vaccinations.


1. Can I get a pet raccoon without a permit?
No, a Restricted Species Permit from CDFW is required to legally own a raccoon in California.

2. How much does a pet raccoon cost?
The cost may vary depending on the breeder, but typically, a pet raccoon can range from $500 to $2,000.

3. Are there any restrictions on owning a raccoon in California?
Owners must adhere to specific regulations outlined in the Restricted Species Permit. These include proper housing, nutrition, and veterinary care.

4. Can I release a pet raccoon into the wild?
No, it is illegal and unethical to release a pet raccoon into the wild. They are not equipped to survive and may introduce diseases or cause ecological disruptions.

5. Do raccoons make good pets?
Raccoons have complex needs and require dedicated care. They may not be suitable for everyone due to their wild nature and potential for destructive behavior.

6. Are pet raccoons legal in all cities in California?
Some cities within California may have additional regulations or outright bans on owning pet raccoons. Always check with local authorities before acquiring a raccoon.

7. Can I keep a raccoon if I find an abandoned baby?
It is best to contact a licensed wildlife rehabilitator who can provide the necessary care and expertise to ensure the raccoon’s well-being and eventual return to the wild.

Obtaining a pet raccoon in California requires knowledge of the laws, obtaining a legal permit, and providing the proper care and environment. With responsible ownership and commitment, a pet raccoon can be a rewarding companion. Always prioritize the animal’s well-being and consult professionals whenever needed.

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