What’s normal for baby raccoons?

Young baby raccoons should be inside the den most of the time. At about 8 weeks old they begin to explore outside the den, learning how to climb and find food. They stay with their family until the end of summer, but as they get older they spend more time on their own. Young babies alone outside the den may be in need of help, but older babies may simply be out exploring on their own. Observe the size and behaviour of the baby you have found, and read the matching section below.

What to do if the baby raccoon is larger and a steady walker

If the baby raccoon is at least a foot long (not including the tail) and steady while walking, it is at the age where it will normally be exploring outside the nest. It is common to see babies either with their mother or on their own, and it is not unusual to see them out during the day. If the baby looks healthy, leave it alone but check back several times for the rest of the day, and once or twice during the night if possible.

If the baby stays in the same area for the whole day and night, it likely needs help. If this is the case, learn how get help for the baby.

What to do if the baby raccoon is smaller and a wobbly walker

Raccoons under a foot long that are still wobbly when walking should normally still be inside a den. They are occasionally found alone outside if the den has been disturbed or the mother raccoon has been disrupted while moving her babies to a new den. The mother may feel more comfortable returning for the baby after dark, so if the baby was found within the last 24 hours, you should try to reunite it with its mother.

If the baby was found more than 24 hours ago, it will likely need care from a wildlife rehabiliator.

What raccoon den sites look like

Raccoons use a wide variety of den sites to rear their young, from a hole in a hollow tree to a garage crawlspace to a hole underneath a deck. What to do if you have seen a baby with no mother inside a potential den site.

The mother has returned and retrieved the baby but I don’t want the family living in that space. What can I do?