What States Is It Illegal to Own a Raccoon

Title: What States Is It Illegal to Own a Raccoon?

Raccoons are adorable creatures known for their masked faces and mischievous behaviors. It is not uncommon for people to develop an affinity for these intelligent animals and consider keeping them as pets. However, it is essential to understand that owning a raccoon is illegal in many states due to various reasons. This article explores the legal aspects of owning raccoons across the United States, highlighting the states where it is strictly prohibited. Additionally, a FAQs section provides further insights into the topic.

Legal Restrictions on Raccoon Ownership:
While raccoons might appear cute and cuddly, they are wild animals that require specific care and environment. As a result, state laws have been put in place to protect both the raccoons and the public from potential risks associated with raccoon ownership. It is important to note that these laws can vary significantly from state to state.

States Where Owning Raccoons is Illegal:
1. California: It is illegal to own a raccoon as a pet in California, as the state prioritizes wildlife conservation and does not permit private ownership of native wildlife species.

2. Colorado: Colorado prohibits the keeping of raccoons as pets due to concerns related to disease transmission and the potential for invasive species introductions.

3. Georgia: In Georgia, it is illegal to possess raccoons as pets unless you have a wildlife rehabilitation permit specifically issued by the state.

4. Hawaii: As an isolated island state with unique ecosystems, Hawaii has strict regulations to prevent the introduction of non-native species. Owning raccoons is illegal in Hawaii.

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5. Kentucky: Raccoons are considered wildlife in Kentucky, and owning them as pets is strictly prohibited.

6. Maryland: Maryland prohibits the private ownership of raccoons due to the risk of disease transmission and the potential for raccoons to escape into the wild.

7. Massachusetts: Massachusetts law prohibits the private ownership of raccoons, recognizing them as wild animals that are best left in their natural habitats.

8. Minnesota: Raccoon ownership is illegal in Minnesota, as the state emphasizes the importance of preserving wildlife populations and preventing the spread of diseases.

9. New Hampshire: New Hampshire also prohibits the ownership of raccoons, ensuring wildlife conservation and public safety.

10. New York: In New York, owning a raccoon as a pet is illegal unless you are a licensed wildlife rehabilitator.


1. Can I legally own a raccoon as a pet in any state?
While there are a few states that permit raccoon ownership with proper permits and licenses, it is generally illegal in most states due to concerns over wildlife conservation, disease transmission, and public safety.

2. Why are raccoons considered unsuitable as pets?
Raccoons are wild animals with natural instincts and behaviors that are difficult to manage in a domestic setting. They require specialized care and diet, and their unpredictable nature poses risks to both humans and other animals.

3. Is it possible to adopt a raccoon legally?
In some states, such as Tennessee and Florida, raccoons can be adopted under specific circumstances, such as for educational purposes or as part of a wildlife rehabilitation program. However, these cases require proper permits and licenses.

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4. What are the consequences of owning a raccoon illegally?
Owning a raccoon illegally can result in fines, confiscation of the animal, or even criminal charges, depending on the state’s laws. It is vital to familiarize yourself with the regulations and avoid engaging in illegal ownership.

While raccoons may captivate our hearts with their adorable appearance, it is important to remember that they are wild animals that belong in their natural habitats. The majority of states in the United States have strict laws against owning raccoons as pets, prioritizing wildlife conservation, public safety, and disease prevention. It is crucial to respect these regulations and appreciate raccoons from a safe distance, allowing them to thrive in their natural environments.