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Blonde raccoons

 
Do blond (raccoons) really have more fun? Watch our video to find out!
Trouble viewing the video? Click here to watch it on YouTube.
Three raccoons. Photo by Shelly Ross
Photo by Shelly Ross
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Blond baby raccoons

These three sibling raccoons, all boys, were left in a box on the doorstep of a Napa Wildlife Center volunteer in late June. We don't know, but we suspect their mother had been trapped and killed.

It being the height of Baby Season for all the wildlife centers in the area, Napa asked if WildCare's dedicated Raccoon Team could take on this unusual trio. Of course we said yes!

At WildCare we often see color variations in Eastern Gray Squirrels and pigeons among other species, but it is very unusual for us to admit light-colored raccoons.

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It costs $3.43 a day to feed a hungry baby raccoon

During their 99 days in care at WildCare, we fed these rambucctious raccoons a varied diet and introduced them to a wide range of the foods they'd find in the wild.

For about $3.43 per day they grew up healthy and gained weight on fruit, fish and the other items that you see in the menu box on the right.

These three orphans stayed with us for more than three months before they were ready to return to the wild. That means feeding these three cost at least $1,018.71 during their stay at WildCare!

Help us alleviate their food bill (and feed the six baby raccoons we're still fostering at WildCare!) by donating 10, 15 or 20 raccoon meals.

Donate ten raccoon meals!
Raccoon diet

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spacer2.gif Blonde baby raccoon at WildCare. Photo by Shelly Ross
  Photo by Shelly Ross
  Blonde and brunette raccoons. Photo by Shelly Ross
  Photo by Shelly Ross
  Blonde baby raccoon at WildCare. Photo by Shelly Ross
  Photo by Shelly Ross
  Raccoons in carrier. Photo by Julie Alston
  Release day! Photo by Julie Althouse

However, despite their light coloring, these raccoons aren't albino. Instead the blond is a natural, although unusual color morph (click to read more about color morphs in the patients we see at WildCare!) They have all the markings of regular Northern Raccoons, but in a much lighter shade. Otherwise they are completely normal raccoons, and very fit and healthy.

These babies were about three weeks old when they first entered our care on June 28. Raccoon Foster Care Team member Shelly Ross took on the incredibly challenging job of bottle-feeding the three hungry babies. At three weeks old, they should be fed approximately every four hours, and that's 24 hours a day!

Under Shelly's excellent care over the next several weeks, the three went from crying eyes-closed babies to toddling bundles of curiosity, getting into anything and explring almost constantly.

Although they were unusually colored, the two blonds developed exactly as their normally-colored brother did, gaining weight and dexterity with every passing day.

When finally their rambunctious behavior was too much for the nursery at Shelly's, the three were transferred to an outdoor cage at volunteer Monique Pflager's home. Moving outdoors is the first step to preparing orphaned baby raccoons for their eventual release back to the wild, and these babies found their new environment fascinating. Watch the video above to see them romping and playing in their outdoor yard.

Raccoons are incredibly intelligent animals, so every effort must be made during the rehabilitation process to introduce them to the challenges they will face in the wild. From climbing trees to tackling crustaceans, the more experiences we give our baby raccoons during their adolescence, the better prepared they will be for their futures as wild animals.

Great care must also be taken to not socialize these incredibly gregarious animals to humans. It is our job as professional wildlife rehabilitators to keep our patients wild. A raccoon that thinks humans are friendly, and especially one that thinks we are a source of food, will end up in conflict with people or their pets, and will probably not survive long in the wild.

By the time these raccoons were ready for release, they had grown appropriately wild and snarly with their human caretakers. They were definitely ready to get on with the next phase of their lives!

Napa Wildlife Center and several WildCare volunteers who had participated in these raccoons' care did the research and scouting necessary to find the perfect release site in Napa (we're required by law to return rehabilitated mammals back to their original territories). Once at the site, the volunteers opened the carrier and let the animals go. Despite a short "blond moment" when the siblings all considered climbing back into the safety of their WildCare carriers, eventually their innate curiosity carried them down to a nearby creek and up an oak tree.

Satisfied that their charges were successfully on their own, the volunteers returned to WildCare exhilarated by the experience of raising and releasing these beautiful and unusual animals.

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Get a blond raccoon T-shirt

Get this beautiful and unusual raccoon patient on a T-shirt or sweatshirt!

Buying a T-shirt will support WildCare's efforts to raise all our raccoon patients (six of which are still in care at WildCare).

Click here to choose from a selection of awesome T-shirts (or an hooded sweatshirt or a coffee mug or other cool stuff ) featuring these amazing WildCare patients.

WildCare will receive $25 from your purchase as a donation.

Shop now...

spacer2.gif Blonde raccoon. Photo by Shelly Ross

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