Can You Have a Pet Raccoon in Arkansas: Laws and Regulations Explained

Many people find raccoons to be adorable and fascinating creatures. Their playful and curious nature can make them seem like the perfect pet. However, it is important to know the laws and regulations regarding owning a pet raccoon. If you live in Arkansas and are considering getting a pet raccoon, there are certain things you need to know.

In Arkansas, the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission (AGFC) is responsible for regulating the possession and ownership of native wildlife, including raccoons. According to AGFC regulations, individuals who wish to keep a pet raccoon must obtain a Wildlife Breeder/Dealer Permit or a Wildlife Rehabilitation Permit. These permits are required for breeding, selling, or rehabilitating wildlife, including raccoons. It is illegal to keep a raccoon as a pet without a permit.

Legality of Owning a Pet Raccoon in Arkansas

Owning a pet raccoon in Arkansas is a controversial topic. While raccoons are cute and cuddly, they are considered wild animals and are not legal to own in many states. However, Arkansas is one of the few states where it is legal to own a pet raccoon.

According to Arkansas Game & Fish Commission, raccoons are considered native wildlife in Arkansas, and state law generally prohibits the possession of native wildlife as pets without the necessary permits. However, there are exceptions to this rule. Up to six individual animals from the following list and taken by hand from the wild may be kept per household: Opossums, rabbits, raccoons or squirrels.

To legally own a pet raccoon in Arkansas, you must obtain a permit from the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission. The permit is issued under the Wildlife Rehabilitation Permit, which is required for individuals who want to keep a wild animal that has been injured or orphaned.

It is important to note that owning a pet raccoon comes with a lot of responsibility. Raccoons are wild animals and can be unpredictable. They require a lot of attention, care, and training to become good pets. Raccoons can also carry diseases that can be transmitted to humans, so it is important to take proper precautions.

In summary, while it is legal to own a pet raccoon in Arkansas, it is important to follow the regulations for raccoon owners and obtain the necessary permits. Owning a pet raccoon is a big responsibility and requires a lot of attention and care.

Considerations Before Having a Pet Raccoon

Raccoons are intelligent animals that are known for their mischievous and destructive nature. While they can be affectionate and playful, they are also unpredictable and require a lot of attention and care. Before deciding to have a pet raccoon in Arkansas, there are several important considerations to keep in mind.

Nocturnal Animals

Raccoons are nocturnal animals, which means that they are most active at night. This can be a problem for people who prefer to sleep during the night, as raccoons may make noise or cause disturbances while they are awake. It is important to provide a quiet and dark sleeping area for the raccoon during the day to ensure that they get enough rest.

Outdoor Enclosure

Raccoons require a large outdoor enclosure where they can climb, play, and explore. The enclosure should be secure and provide plenty of space for the raccoon to move around. Raccoons are excellent climbers, so the enclosure should have a roof to prevent them from escaping. Additionally, the enclosure should have plenty of toys and a litter box to keep the raccoon entertained.

Messy Eaters

Raccoons are messy eaters and can be difficult to feed. They require a varied diet that includes fruits, vegetables, and protein sources such as eggs and insects. It is important to provide a balanced diet that meets their nutritional needs. Additionally, raccoons tend to play with their food and may make a mess while eating.

Safety Concerns

Raccoons can be unpredictable and may become aggressive if they feel threatened. It is important to handle them with care and to provide a safe environment for them to live in. Additionally, raccoons can carry diseases such as rabies, which can be dangerous to humans and other animals. It is important to keep up to date with vaccinations and to take precautions to prevent the spread of disease.

In conclusion, having a pet raccoon in Arkansas can be a rewarding experience, but it requires a lot of time, effort, and attention. Raccoons are intelligent and playful animals that can be affectionate and entertaining, but they are also unpredictable and can be destructive. It is important to consider the needs of the animal and to provide a safe and secure environment for them to live in.

Health Risks and Concerns

Owning a pet raccoon in Arkansas comes with some health risks and concerns that potential owners should be aware of. Raccoons are known to carry and transmit diseases such as rabies, leptospirosis, distemper, and salmonella. These diseases can be transmitted to humans through bites, scratches, or contact with bodily fluids.

Additionally, raccoons can carry parasites such as fleas and ticks that can transmit diseases to both humans and other animals. One particular parasite to be aware of is Baylisascaris, which is a roundworm that raccoons can carry in their intestines. If ingested by humans, it can cause serious neurological damage and even death.

It is important to note that even if a raccoon appears healthy, it may still be carrying diseases or parasites. Therefore, it is essential to take precautions and practice good hygiene when handling a pet raccoon. Washing hands thoroughly after handling, avoiding bites and scratches, and keeping the raccoon’s living area clean are all important steps to minimize the risk of disease transmission.

While owning a pet raccoon can be a unique and rewarding experience, it is important to weigh the potential health risks and concerns before making the decision to bring one into your home.

Regulations in Other States

While Arkansas is one of the few states where it is legal to own a pet raccoon, it is important to note that the regulations regarding pet raccoons vary from state to state. Here are some of the regulations in other states:

States where pet raccoons are legal

Aside from Arkansas, there are 15 other states where it is legal to own a pet raccoon. These states are Delaware, Florida, Illinois, Indiana, Maine, Michigan, Nebraska, New Jersey, Ohio, Oklahoma, South Dakota, Tennessee, Vermont, Wisconsin, and Wyoming.

Permit Requirements

In some states, a special permit is required to own a pet raccoon. For example, in Indiana, a “wild animal possession permit” is required to own a raccoon. In Oklahoma, a “wildlife breeder license” is required. In Florida, a “Class III permit” is required. It is important to check with the state’s wildlife department to determine what permits are required.

States where pet raccoons are illegal

There are several states where it is illegal to own a pet raccoon. These states include California, Oregon, New York, Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, Colorado, Connecticut, Georgia, Hawaii, Idaho, Iowa, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maryland, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Mexico, North Carolina, Utah, Virginia, Washington, and North Dakota.

Consequences of owning a pet raccoon illegally

It is important to note that owning a pet raccoon illegally can result in fines and even criminal charges. In some states, the raccoon may be confiscated and euthanized. It is important to research and abide by the regulations in your state to avoid any legal consequences.

Leave a Comment