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June 16th, 2010

Mother raccoon and her five babies @ 12:54 pm

lizzie:
A week ago, I got a phone call from a homeowner, Sam, who had a mother raccoon and her baby kits living in his attic. When I talked to him, a trapper had come and caught the mother, but the babies were still stuck up in the attic. After being without their mom (and thus, without nourishment) for three days, I told him that we were on a race against the clock to get the babies out before they died of dehydration. If he could get the babies out of his attic, I would take them. If he could get the mother back from the trapper (who was keeping her until they figured out what to do), then I would take her, too.

On Thursday, he called me with fantastic news - he had gotten three raccoon kits out of his attic and the trapper had given him the mother. He and his wife, Sharon, were awesome enough to meet me at my office to give me the four raccoons - the babies in one box and the mother in the have-a-heart trap. I was so anxious on the drive home with these guys - I've never taken in a mother and her babies before, let alone reunited a mother with her kits, so I was unsure what to expect. Plus, the mother was SO upset that she could hear her babies in the box next to get, but couldn't get to them. When I got home, I prepared a temporary cage for her outside and then reunited her with the babies. She was upset to be in a cage, but very, very relieved to have her babies with her.

Over the next couple of days, I made sure she had food, water, a litter pan, and food for the babies in case her milk had dried up and she was no longer able to nurse them. I tried to keep my distance as much as possible so I didn't stress her out any more than she already was.

On Sunday, Sam called me up again because he heard more chirping in the attic and found baby #4. We met up and I took the baby home to momma raccoon. As soon as I put baby #4 in the cage with the mother, Sam called again because - you got it - he found baby #5. We met up again and I reunited the mother with this baby, too.

By that point, I could tell that the mother really wanted to get out of the cage. She was anxious about being in there, searching around for a way out. I didn't want to risk her freaking out so much that when she left, she wouldn't take her babies with her. I opened up the cage door for her and added a portable fence to the front of the cage so hopefully the babies wouldn't escape on their own. She scoped out our farm and came back a couple of hours later to collect her babies and take them to her new home.

Here's the video of her grabbing each baby and taking them to the tree hollow where they now live. It's not too far away from our house (I was taking this video outside my bedroom window), so I'm still able to keep an eye on her and feed her until she finds enough food on her own.

 
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Comments

 
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From:evilegg
Date:June 16th, 2010 08:09 pm (UTC)
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Amazing.
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From:lizzie
Date:June 17th, 2010 12:26 pm (UTC)
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I know! I keep watching the video over and over again because it STILL amazes me. :-)
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From:evilegg
Date:June 17th, 2010 01:56 pm (UTC)
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That raccoon is smarter then me.
It's the very definition of the difference between common sense and book smarts.
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From:lizzie
Date:June 17th, 2010 02:22 pm (UTC)
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lol I was so worried she wouldn't be able to find the hole in the portable fence. I put up the gold fence so hopefully the babies wouldn't escape. I was holding my breath the first time I saw her go back to the cage after I had let her out of it - I was so worried she wouldn't be able to get in. Apparently, that was a useless worry. lol
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From:anodracs
Date:June 17th, 2010 02:50 am (UTC)
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What a good mama! Did all the babies survive the attic ordeal?
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From:lizzie
Date:June 17th, 2010 12:27 pm (UTC)
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Yep, all five babies survived and are doing well with their momma! The homeowner never found any more babies in the attic, so that's good - we got all five out of there!
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From:anodracs
Date:June 17th, 2010 02:52 am (UTC)
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Oh, and I was looking at your LJ and I noticed you have had pre-exposure rabies shots. Did your insurance cover them? If not, how much did they cost?
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From:lizzie
Date:June 17th, 2010 12:29 pm (UTC)
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I got my pre-exposure shots about 10 years ago, so I'm not sure if my information is still valid. No, my insurance did not cover them - I had to pay out of pocket. Annoyingly, they WILL cover post-exposure (which is done in the emergency room, so it's super-expensive), but they wouldn't cover pre-exposure. The three-shot series cost me $350 at our county health department. It was well worth it, obviously, but it took a couple of months of planning and saving before I was able to get them.
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From:anodracs
Date:June 17th, 2010 04:55 pm (UTC)
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Aha, thanks for the info. I'd love to get a rabies series, but I've seen cost estimates anywhere from $2,000-7,000.
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From:lizzie
Date:June 17th, 2010 05:36 pm (UTC)
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Is that for the pre-exposure or post-exposure? You should be able to get your pre-exposure through your county health department, or team up with a vet's office who has some employees that need to get the series (some health departments won't order it because it's too expensive for them to just "have on hand"). Because the post-exposure is only given in emergency situations, it's carried in emergency rooms, thus, you have to go to the hospital a bunch of times in order to get the series there. I can understand why *that* would be $2k - $7k (because you have to pay for the ER room each time, etc.) but the pre-exposure should be a LOT cheaper than that. Maybe call your county health department and ask them? I know mine was nearly 10 years ago, but I've had rehabber friends get their shots more recently and the price hasn't gone up that much.
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From:jeppy
Date:August 1st, 2010 03:01 pm (UTC)
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I got my pre-exposure shots in March of this year and they were $270 for each of the 3 shots
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From:Rocky Raccoon
Date:September 23rd, 2012 01:12 am (UTC)

Please help

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Hey Lizzie, the names Rocky Raccoon.
I come from central Oregon. I was really hoping somehow I could get in contact with someone about Raccoon's. Iv been wanting one for quite sometime now. I know there quite a hassle in doors but I myself live out in the redwoods and I also have a place I could raise them if needed.
All I know is that i would do anything in my power to get one. Just need someone to point me in the next step. Who should I talk to what? should I be doing???
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From:lizzie
Date:September 24th, 2012 03:26 pm (UTC)

Re: Please help

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Call your state department of natural resources to determine whether it's legal to have a pet raccoon. If it is, then they might be able to give you some reputable sources of raccoon breeders. If it's not, then you're SOL.

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