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From Necessity to Love: A Raccoon Story

In the late spring of 2009, a raccoon had her litter under a riser in our garage. This wasn’t the first time, and it’s always cool to hear the babes’ little noises and to know that life is renewing right under our noses. This time though, when the kits were about five weeks old, their mother didn’t return. We found raccoon fur on our property and suspected a bobcat or coyote got her.

The kits needed help but first we had to reach them. I was limited by a broken arm, but after some banging and prying, I got the side off the riser. I was then able to get the three of them out fairly easily.

I contacted NAR for help. Molly was almost in tears when she told me that all the foster parents were overbooked since it was a very busy year for orphaned raccoons. After some discussion, I agreed to do the fostering. Molly gave me raccoon formula, instructions and the phone number of Vikki, an experienced raccoon rehabber.

We had the kits in a cardboard box with some old t-shirts for bedding. My wife Betty and I figured out how to feed them, but we needed some training. I phoned Vikki to come over. Vikki was wonderful. She checked the creatures over. They were healthy – two boys and a girl. Funny, but we hadn’t even wondered about that. She gave them wormer and vaccinations and gave us confidence and training.

At first we bottle-fed them every four hours. In a few weeks, it was down to twice per day. Now they were ready to go outside into our makeshift aviary. A few months later, when they were ready, we released them back into the wild.

Since then, we have successfully raised and released four sets of raccoons. It’s been a rewarding adventure that started out of necessity and now continues out of love for these very smart creatures.

By Frank Luft

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