Young Raccoons Alone?
Seeing a baby raccoon alone is cause for concern. Raccoon babies stick to their mother like Velcro. They don’t venture out of the den in the daytime as baby skunks do.
If a raccoon mother has been forced to move her young to a new den, she may be in the process of carrying the babies to this new location. If this is the case, she should return within the hour. Stay as far away as possible and watch for her, helping to protect the baby or babies by alerting dog walkers whose dogs might attack the baby.
Sometimes a baby is separated from its mother and siblings by falling or getting trapped somewhere that it couldn’t get out of the previous night.
If someone realized that a baby had fallen into a light well and let the baby out, the mother will check the area the following night to attempt rescue again.
Keeping a baby safe during the daytime, then attempting to reunite the baby with its mother is the best first course of action unless the animal needs medical care.
If a single baby raccoon, with eyes closed, is found, it must be kept warm. And if possible a wildlife rehabilitator should assess the condition to determine if reuniting should be attempted. Animals this small are vulnerable to pneumonia if they have gotten cold. An animal with pneumonia requires medical assistance.
Attempting to reunite a mother and baby raccoon is done by putting the baby in a container that it cannot climb out of, but the mother can easily tip over. Depending on the size of the baby, a box or plastic garbage can works well. Place the container as close as possible to where the baby was stuck or found, and concealed as well as possible from human view. Someone may think the baby is being “tossed out’ and foil the reuniting.
Place a towel that has the baby’s scent on it outside the container to help the mother find the baby if it’s not crying to draw her over.
Baby caught in fence?
If there is a baby raccoon caught in a fence it may have a broken leg or nerve damage. Freeing the animal is the only way to tell the extent of the injury. Call your local Animal Care and Control or Humane Society if you need assistance. Freeing the raccoon is a two-person rescue job. One to support the animal’s body, holding the animal firmly in a thick blanket, and one to try to guide the leg out of the fence, widening the crack in the fence with a pry bar if the leg is too swollen to easily slide back up the way it went down between the board crack. Pushing one board forward can twist and break a small animal’s leg, so always try to widen the crack enough to get the leg out. Once the animal is free, it will need to be looked at by a wildlife rehabilitator, unless you are comfortable tossing the towel over the animal to recapture it if it can’t put any weight on the leg.
This is the most important sign of injury. Swelling is normal after an accident like this, but the animal must be able to put some weight on the leg to be considered releasable. Often times the mother will be watching from a nearby tree even though it is daytime. If you see the mother and the baby can bear even a bit of weight on the leg, let the baby go and walk away to allow the mother to come get her freed baby. If she is not seen, the baby should be taken to a wildlife rehabilitator for an evaluation, and if the damage isn’t serious, leave the baby in a container that evening and the mother will be sure to get it back into her good care. She will assist the young one to climb, and that will be a very happy ending indeed.
Babies under your house?
If there are babies under the house, leave the hole open and make the area unpleasant by lights and noise or toss a rag with predator scent on in into the area at dusk when it will be safe for them to leave. The mother will move her babies to another nest site and you can then safely close the hole. White flour placed outside the hole should be undisturbed the next day to assure that an animal wouldn’t get trapped inside.