Uncancel the Trash Pandas!

It should be legal to own a raccoon as a pet in the state of California


This raccoon just wants to be your friend.

Edgar Torabyan, Staff Writer

They’re the cutest animals ever and they’re native to North America. However, raccoons are illegal to own as pets in most states, including California. There are tons of cute raccoon videos out there, uploaded by people who have raccoons, so why aren’t we allowed to own them as pets?

One reason is that they carry rabies. But so do dogs, and dogs are obviously allowed as pets. Thankfully, there is a rabies vaccine for wildlife. We can easily require people to vaccinate their raccoons and show proof of vaccination, just like we currently do for dogs. It would be understandable to not allow them as pets if they were endangered, but they’re not endangered. According to the IUCN Red List, raccoons are of the least concern because their population is increasing. 

Many argue against keeping raccoons as pets because they’re wild animals and we can’t force them to be pets. However, raccoons have been in contact with humans for a very long time. Raccoons are used to living in cities, alongside humans, which is why they’re known as “trash pandas”. Raccoons bond with humans, and there has even been a raccoon in the White House

The sad thing about raccoons is that most only live for 2 to 3 years. This is because they lack food and shelter in the wild. However, this isn’t a problem for domesticated raccoons, which is why they can live for up to 20 years if humans care for them. So the reality is that by legalizing raccoons as pets, we are saving them. And by not legalizing them, we are allowing them to die.

Raccoons and cats both come from the Carnivora order of mammals. Although they’re extremely different, they’re not exactly too different either. Raccoons can eat cat food, they act like cats, they have about the same lifespan as cats, and they like playing with cats. They’re also very smart and entertaining, so they wouldn’t be ordinary pets.

Although it is illegal to own raccoons as pets in most states, they’re legal to own in others. For example, it’s legal to own up to six raccoons in the state of Arkansas. When properly vaccinated and taken care of, raccoons can be awesome pets. The bottom line is that laws should not be this strict, and if people in Arkansas and other states can own raccoons with no issues at all, then so should we in California.