Can You Own a Pet Raccoon in Tennessee?


Is it legal to keep a Raccoon as a pet in the state of Tennessee? Yes, it is. In Tennessee, Raccoons are considered Class II animals, which require a Personal Possession Permit to keep as pets. Though Raccoons are found state-wide in Tennessee, it is illegal to take one from the wild and keep it as a pet. In other words, only captive-born Raccoons are legal to keep as pets in Tennessee. While Raccoons may seem cute and curious, it's important to consider the unique challenges and responsibilities that come with keeping one as a pet.

Three Raccoons

Though it is legal to keep a Raccoon as a pet in Tennessee, the state's Wildlife Resources Agency (WRA) discourages keeping these masked, nocturnal mammals as pets. According to Tennessee WRA, Raccoons, like all wild animals, do not make good pets. They can carry diseases and parasites and can become territorial and aggressive when they reach sexual maturity.

Should You Keep a Raccoon As a Pet?

Captive-born Raccoons are legal to keep as pets in Tennessee, but should you keep one as a pet? When it comes to deciding whether to own a pet raccoon, there are several factors to consider. While raccoons may appear cute and playful, they are not your typical domesticated animals. Over the years, there have been some unsuccessful attempts to domesticate raccoons because these mammals are wild by nature, and their instincts can be difficult to suppress even with proper training.

Raccoons have sharp claws and teeth which can cause harm if they feel threatened or scared. In addition, raccoons have a natural tendency to explore and forage for food, which can lead to destructive behavior within the home. As pets, Raccoons need a lot of space to roam, climb, and explore to be healthy and happy, as they don’t do well in cages or even in small bedrooms.

It is also worth noting that laws regarding keeping raccoons as pets vary by municipality in Tennessee. In some Tennessee municipalities, it may be illegal to own a pet raccoon, even though it is legal under state law. This is because individual municipalities have the authority to ban animals that aren't banned under state law. So, before adopting a pet Raccoon in Tennessee, it is important to check your municipal code to find out if it is legal in your city or town.

While some individuals may have succeeded in raising a raccoon as a pet, it requires extensive knowledge of their behaviors and needs, as well as patience and dedication. It is important to consult with experts or professionals if you are considering having a raccoon as a pet.

Before you are granted the Personal Possession Permit in Tennessee, you need to purchase the Raccoon in person from a licensed source, not over the internet or via a classified ad. Acquiring a Raccoon in Tennessee can cost you between $300 and $700 on average. In captivity, the average lifespan of Raccoons is 16 years.

In conclusion, while the idea of having a pet raccoon may be appealing to some people, it is crucial to carefully weigh the pros and cons before making such a decision. It's advisable to explore other domesticated pets that are better suited for companionship in order to ensure both the well-being of the animal and your own safety.

Videos of Pet Raccoons

Before getting a pet Raccoon in Tennessee, watch the following YouTube videos.


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