What Do You Feed a Baby Raccoon? A Comprehensive Guide

what do you feed a baby raccoon

Wondering what to feed a baby raccoon? If you notice a baby raccoon left behind, alone for a few hours, it might face the risk of malnutrition and potential harm. In these crucial moments, providing the right nutrition becomes essential for their survival. Selecting the appropriate milk replacement formula, establishing a feeding schedule, and gradually introducing solid foods are pivotal steps in ensuring their well-being. 

This guide will shed light on what to feed, how often, and other vital aspects, offering insights for those who find themselves in this nurturing role.

What to feed a baby raccoon?

Stage 1. Initial Diet: Specially Formulated Milk Replacer (Weeks 1-4)

If you find yourself caring for a baby raccoon, the initial weeks are crucial for their development, and a specially formulated milk replacer is the primary source of nutrition:

  • KMR (Kitten Milk Replacer): Specifically designed for kittens, KMR is a widely used milk replacer for baby raccoons in their first weeks of life. It mirrors the essential nutrients found in mother raccoon’s milk, including proteins, fats, vitamins, and minerals.
  • Esbilac Puppy Milk Powder: Originally formulated for puppies, Esbilac is another suitable option for baby raccoons during their early weeks. Its nutrient-rich composition supports healthy growth in young animals.
  • Pedialyte: While not a milk replacer, Pedialyte is valuable for hydration, especially in cases of dehydration. It maintains electrolyte balance and is often used alongside milk replacers to ensure the baby raccoon stays well-hydrated.
  • Fox Valley Day One Formula: Specifically crafted for a baby raccoon’s first day of life, this formula provides essential nutrients and hydration critical for their initial stages of care.
  • Nutri-Cal: A high-calorie nutritional supplement, Nutri-Cal, can be beneficial for baby raccoons requiring an extra energy boost. It is often used in conjunction with milk replacers to support their growth.

Stage 2. Transitioning to Solid Foods: A Balanced Diet (Weeks 4-8)

Continuing the care for baby raccoons during the transitional phase, consider the following additional points:

  • Variety in Soft Foods: Alongside fruits and vegetables, introduce a variety of soft foods such as baby food purees (without additives) and soft grains. This adds diversity to their diet, ensuring they receive a range of essential nutrients.
  • Slow Introduction of Nuts and Seeds: Gradually introduce small amounts of nuts and seeds, such as unsalted peanuts or sunflower seeds. Ensure these are finely chopped to prevent choking hazards and monitor the raccoon’s response to each new food.
  • Introduction of Yogurt and Cheese: Dairy can be slowly introduced during this stage. Offer plain, unsweetened yoghurt and small amounts of mild cheese. Monitor for any signs of lactose intolerance or digestive issues.
  • Monitoring for Allergies: Keep a watchful eye for any signs of allergies or sensitivities to new foods introduced. If there are adverse reactions, consult with a wildlife rehabilitator or veterinarian for guidance on suitable alternatives.
  • Gradual Reduction of Milk Replacer: As the raccoon becomes more accustomed to solid foods, gradually decrease the frequency of milk replacer feedings. Monitor their weight and overall health to ensure a smooth transition.

Stage 3. Developing Independence with Solid Foods (Weeks 8 and Beyond)

As the baby raccoon progresses into greater independence with solid foods, consider these additional points:

  • Introduction of Harder Foods: Gradually introduce harder foods like small pieces of raw vegetables, nuts in their shells, or tougher fruits. This helps strengthen their jaw muscles and encourages natural foraging behaviors.
  • Natural Environment Exploration: Allow the baby raccoon to explore a controlled outdoor environment if feasible. This exposure encourages natural behaviors, such as digging and exploring, and contributes to their overall development.
  • Limit Processed Foods: Minimize the introduction of processed or sugary foods. While baby raccoons may show interest in such items, a diet focused on natural and wholesome foods better supports their health.

Baby raccoon feeding chart 

Age (Weeks)What to FeedHow to Feed
1-2Specially formulated milk replacer (e.g., KMR)Syringe or small animal nursing bottle every 3-4 hours, including at night. Maintain a warm formula.
2-4Milk replacer with gradual introduction of soft foods (baby food purees, soft fruits, and vegetables)Continue with bottle or syringe, adjusting formula amounts based on the raccoon’s response and appetite.
4-8Transition to a mix of milk replacer and a diversified diet (soft fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds, and protein sources)Gradually decrease milk replacer frequency. Introduce solid foods with varying textures. Monitor for allergies or sensitivities.
8+Gradual shift to a diversified diet of solid foodsEncourage independent eating. Provide opportunities for natural foraging. Monitor water intake. Regularly consult with wildlife rehabilitators or veterinarians for guidance on specific dietary needs and developmental milestones.

This chart provides a general overview, but individual baby raccoons may have unique needs. Always consult with professionals for specific recommendations based on the raccoon’s health, weight, and behavior.

How to determine the age of the baby raccoon?

Determining the age of a baby raccoon is crucial for providing proper care tailored to its developmental stage. Observation of physical characteristics is a key method.

  • Newborns are hairless, with closed eyes and ears, while those around two weeks old start developing fur.
  • At four weeks, the eyes and ears open, and they become more active.
  • By eight weeks, they begin exploring solid foods. Teeth development is also a reliable indicator, progressing from milk teeth to permanent ones as they age.
  • Consulting with wildlife professionals or veterinarians can help accurately assess the age and guide caregivers in meeting specific needs at each stage.

How to take care of a baby raccoon?

  • Maintaining Ideal Body Temperature: Ensure the raccoon is kept in a quiet, warm, and dark space, away from household pets and noise, to create an environment conducive to maintaining its ideal body temperature. Additionally, provide a makeshift nest with soft bedding for comfort, aiding in the insulation of warmth for the baby raccoon.
  • Hydration: Provide clean, fresh water in a shallow dish.
  • Regular Feeding Schedule: Feed a baby raccoon every 3-4 hours throughout the day and night, maintaining a consistent feeding schedule to ensure proper nutrition and development. Adjust the frequency based on the raccoon’s age and specific needs.
  • Veterinary Care: Schedule a veterinary examination to check for parasites and other health issues. Follow the veterinarian’s advice regarding vaccinations, if applicable.
  • Encourage Natural Behaviors: Provide toys and objects for the raccoon to explore, climb, and manipulate. Encourage activities that mimic natural behaviors, such as foraging.
  • Waste Disposal: Dispose of the baby raccoon’s waste in a sanitary manner by using gloves and appropriate cleaning materials. Regularly clean the living space to prevent the spread of diseases and maintain a hygienic environment.
  • Preparation for Release: As the raccoon grows, gradually reduce human interaction to encourage independence. Work with a wildlife rehabilitator to prepare the raccoon for release into the wild. Follow proper protocols and guidelines for releasing the raccoon back into its natural habitat.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) About What to Feed a Baby Raccoon

Q1: What do baby raccoons eat?

A: Baby raccoons primarily feed on a specially formulated milk replacement formula designed for their nutritional needs. It is essential to avoid cow’s milk and opt for formulas like KMR (Kitten Milk Replacer) or Esbilac Puppy Milk Powder.

Q2: When can baby raccoons eat solid food?

A: Baby raccoons can begin transitioning to solid foods around 4 to 6 weeks of age. Start introducing soft fruits, vegetables, and a mix of protein sources. Gradually shift to their favorite food which includes fruits, vegetables, small mammals, and insects.

Q3: How often should I feed a baby raccoon?

A: Feed a baby raccoon every 3-4 hours, including during the night, and during the early weeks. Adjust the feeding schedule based on the raccoon’s age, weight, and developmental stage. As they grow, gradually decrease the frequency of feedings.

Q4: How should I feed a baby raccoon?

A: Use a syringe or a small animal nursing bottle with an appropriately sized nipple for feeding. Follow the product instructions for preparing the milk replacer, ensuring it is at a safe temperature. As the raccoon grows, gradually transition to a mix of solid foods.

Q5: What precautions should be taken when caring for a baby raccoon?

A: When caring for a baby raccoon, it’s crucial to prioritize safety by wearing gloves to minimize stress and reduce the risk of disease transmission. Additionally, maintain a clean environment by regularly sanitizing feeding utensils and living spaces. Avoid excessive human contact to prevent imprinting and maintain their natural instincts. Always adhere to legal regulations regarding wildlife care, and seek guidance from professionals to ensure the raccoon’s well-being and successful reintegration into the wild.


In conclusion, caring for a baby raccoon demands a dedicated and informed approach. Selecting the right milk replacer, establishing a consistent feeding schedule, and gradually introducing solid foods are key aspects. Monitoring the raccoon’s growth, maintaining a clean environment, and seeking professional guidance are paramount. Remember, wild animals thrive under the care of experts, so contact wildlife rehabilitators for advice.

By adhering to ethical and legal guidelines, you contribute to the well-being of these fascinating creatures, ensuring their successful return to their natural habitat while gaining a deeper understanding of responsible wildlife care.

About Tanya Garg 82 Articles
I'm Tanya, the dedicated raccoon enthusiast behind racoonpet.com. My mission is to share my knowledge about raccoons through insightful blogs, fostering a deeper understanding and appreciation for these intelligent creatures. Join me on a journey to learn more about raccoons, their behavior, and the importance of ensuring their safe relocation when necessary. Let's together create a world where raccoons and humans coexist harmoniously and safely.