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Raccoon young are out! Admire from afar

Published by Central Office May 9, 2017

Contact(s): Dianne Robinson, DNR Wildlife Biologist, Dianne.Robinson@Wisconsin.gov, 262-424-9827

[EDITOR'S ADVISORY: DNR wildlife and conservation warden staff will conduct a phone news conference to take questions and discuss issues surrounding keeping wildlife wild. The news conference is Thursday, May 11, 2017, from 10:30 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. Call in number: 1-855-947-8255. The  passcode is: 6967750#.]

MADISON -- State wildlife officials remind everyone the best way to enjoy views of Wisconsin's wildlife newborns is from a distance - and that includes the raccoon young known as kits.

People may see baby raccoons playing during daytime and mistakenly think they are abandoned.
People may see baby raccoons playing during daytime and mistakenly think they are abandoned.
Photo Credit: Jay Watson

Dianne Robinson, wildlife biologist with the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources, says people likely will see the raccoon kits but not their mother because although she is nearby she stays out of sight.

Robinson, who also leads the multi-agency Keep Wildlife Wild committee, says well-meaning people may discover raccoon kits playing during the daytime, and will take unneeded action when they mistakenly believe the kits are in trouble.

A raccoon kit's best chance for survival is with its mother, Robinson says.

"Mother raccoons will leave their kits alone near their den while she is searching for food. Raccoon moms care for and protect their young differently than human mothers," Robinson said. "It is normal for raccoon kits to be seen frolicking or heard vocalizing near their den unattended by mom. This is their way of building their strength and learning to survive. Watch and enjoy their antics from a distance."

Robinson says her best advice to spring callers concerned about raccoon kits is simple: "Watch from a distance. If they appear healthy, leave them alone."

What if a raccoon kit is truly in need of help?

"If you find a raccoon kit and it appears to be sick, cold, weak, injured or still has its eyes closed, then it may need help," Robinson said. "If you are truly concerned for the raccoon's well-being, call a licensed wildlife rehabilitator. Do not touch or feed the raccoon. Even young raccoons have sharp teeth and claws. Remember, a healthy raccoon kit's best chance for survival is with its mother."

For more information, search the DNR website, dnr.wi.gov, for "Keep Wildlife Wild" or view this baby mammal brochure. /topic/wildlifehabitat/documents/mammalkey.pdf

If a raccoon kit is injured or known to be orphaned, contact your local wildlife rehabilitator by visiting the DNR's website, dnr.wi.gov, and searching keyword rehab. If you require additional assistance, contact the DNR Call Center at 1-888-936-7463.

Last Revised: Tuesday, May 09, 2017

Contact information

For more information about news and media, contact:
James Dick
Director of Communications
608-267-2773