Can You Have A Pet Raccoon In New York?

Raccoons are adorable creatures that have become a popular choice for pets in recent years. However, before you consider getting one, it’s essential to understand the legality of owning a pet raccoon in New York. Although raccoons are cute and cuddly, they are wild animals that require specialized care and attention.

So, can you have a pet raccoon in New York? The answer is no. It’s illegal to keep a raccoon as a pet in New York, and individuals found guilty of violating the state’s wildlife regulations may face severe penalties. In this article, we’ll explore the reasons why raccoons are illegal pets in New York and what you can do if you’re interested in adopting a furry friend.

Can You Have a Pet Raccoon in New York?

Can You Have a Pet Raccoon in New York?

Raccoons are fascinating creatures that are known for their mischievous nature and curious personality. Due to their intelligence and playful demeanor, many people are drawn to the idea of having a pet raccoon. However, before deciding to bring one into your home, it’s important to understand the laws and regulations surrounding raccoon ownership in New York.

Is it Legal to Own a Raccoon in New York?

In New York, it is illegal to own a pet raccoon without a license. The state considers raccoons to be wild animals and therefore requires a special permit to keep them as pets. Additionally, raccoons are considered a high-risk species for transmitting rabies, which is another reason why they are regulated by the state.

To obtain a license to own a raccoon in New York, you must follow a strict set of guidelines. These guidelines include providing adequate housing and care for the animal, as well as obtaining a health certificate from a licensed veterinarian. The license must be renewed annually and failure to comply with the regulations can result in fines or even the removal of the animal.

The Risks of Owning a Raccoon

While raccoons can make fascinating pets, there are several risks associated with owning one. Firstly, raccoons are wild animals and therefore can be unpredictable and potentially dangerous. They can become aggressive if they feel threatened or stressed, and can cause serious injuries with their sharp claws and teeth.

Additionally, raccoons are known carriers of several diseases, including rabies, which can be transmitted to humans through bites or scratches. Even if the raccoon has been vaccinated against rabies, there is still a risk of transmission.

The Benefits of Owning a Raccoon

Despite the risks, there are several benefits to owning a raccoon. They are highly intelligent and can be trained to perform tricks and even use a litter box. They are also very social animals and enjoy interacting with their owners and other pets.

Raccoons are also very curious creatures and can provide endless entertainment with their playful antics. They are natural problem solvers and enjoy exploring their surroundings, making them a unique and fascinating addition to any household.

The Verdict: Should You Get a Pet Raccoon in New York?

In conclusion, owning a pet raccoon in New York is not a decision to be taken lightly. While they can make fascinating and entertaining pets, they are also wild animals with specific needs and requirements. If you are considering getting a pet raccoon, it’s important to do your research and ensure that you can provide the appropriate care and housing for the animal.

Additionally, obtaining a license to own a raccoon in New York can be a difficult and expensive process. If you do decide to pursue raccoon ownership, make sure to follow all regulations and guidelines to ensure the safety and well-being of both the animal and yourself.

Pros and Cons of Owning a Pet Raccoon in New York

Pros:

  • Fascinating and entertaining pets
  • Highly intelligent and trainable
  • Social animals that enjoy interacting with their owners and other pets

Cons:

  • Wild animals with specific needs and requirements
  • Potentially dangerous if not handled properly
  • Carriers of several diseases, including rabies
  • Difficult and expensive to obtain a license to own in New York

Conclusion

In conclusion, while owning a pet raccoon in New York can be a tempting idea, it’s important to consider all of the risks and benefits before making a decision. If you do decide to pursue raccoon ownership, make sure to follow all regulations and guidelines to ensure the safety and well-being of both the animal and yourself.

Frequently Asked Questions

What are the Laws Regarding Keeping Raccoons as Pets in New York?

In New York, it is illegal to keep a raccoon as a pet without a license. Even with a permit, it is not recommended to keep a raccoon as a pet due to their wild nature and potential to carry diseases that can be transmitted to humans.

The state of New York views raccoons as a potentially dangerous animal, and they are classified as a nuisance wildlife species. It is best to admire raccoons from a distance in their natural habitat.

Can I Obtain a License to Keep a Raccoon as a Pet in New York?

It is possible to obtain a license to keep a raccoon as a pet in New York, but it is a difficult and lengthy process. The state requires that the applicant has a significant amount of experience working with raccoons or other wildlife species before granting a license.

Additionally, the applicant must provide a detailed plan outlining how they will provide proper care for the raccoon and prevent it from escaping or posing a danger to humans or other animals. It is important to note that obtaining a license does not guarantee the ability to keep a raccoon as a pet.

What are the Risks of Keeping a Raccoon as a Pet?

Keeping a raccoon as a pet can pose several risks, both to the animal and to humans. Raccoons are wild animals and can become aggressive if they feel threatened or scared. They can also carry diseases such as rabies, which can be transmitted to humans through bites or scratches.

Raccoons also have specific dietary and environmental needs that can be difficult to meet in a home setting. It is recommended to leave raccoons in their natural habitat and not attempt to keep them as pets.

What Should I Do if I Find an Injured or Orphaned Raccoon?

If you find an injured or orphaned raccoon, it is best to contact a licensed wildlife rehabilitator. These professionals have the experience and resources to properly care for the animal and prepare it for release back into the wild.

Attempting to care for a raccoon on your own can be dangerous and can also violate state and federal laws. It is important to leave wild animals in the hands of trained professionals.

What Should I Do if I Encounter a Wild Raccoon?

If you encounter a wild raccoon, it is best to leave it alone and admire it from a safe distance. Raccoons are wild animals and can become aggressive if they feel threatened or scared.

If a raccoon is exhibiting unusual behavior, such as approaching humans or appearing disoriented, it may be sick or injured and in need of help. In this case, it is best to contact a licensed wildlife rehabilitator or animal control agency for assistance.

Watch This Before You Get A Pet Raccoon


In conclusion, the answer to whether you can have a pet raccoon in New York is a bit complicated. While raccoons are not specifically listed as prohibited pets in New York, it is illegal to keep wildlife as pets without the proper permits. Raccoons are also known to be difficult and potentially dangerous pets, as they are wild animals and have specific needs that may be difficult to meet in a domestic setting.

If you are considering getting a pet raccoon, it is important to do your research and make sure you are prepared to provide for their needs and obtain the necessary permits. It is also important to consider if a raccoon is the right pet for you, as they require a lot of time, attention, and specialized care.

Ultimately, while it may be possible to have a pet raccoon in New York with the proper permits and care, it is important to weigh the risks and responsibilities before making the decision to bring a wild animal into your home.

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