Can You Own a Raccoon in Texas? Is Racoon Allowed?

Can You Own a Raccoon in Texas

So is it legal or Can You Own a Raccoon in Texas? No, it is illegal to keep a raccoon as a pet in Texas without special permits. Raccoons are classified as fur-bearing animals and protected wildlife in Texas.

Raccoons are cute, fuzzy creatures that many people wish they could keep as pets.

Here is a comprehensive look at the laws and regulations regarding owning raccoons as pets in Texas.

Can You Own a Raccoon in Texas?

Can You Own a Raccoon in Texas
No its not allowed

Owing a raccoon is illegal in certain states, including Texas. Raccoons fall under the category of fur-bearing animals in Texas.

The Texas Parks and Wildlife Code makes it unlawful for any person to possess, transport, receive, or release a raccoon into the wild. Violators can face fines up to $500.

According to Texas Parks and Wildlife:

“It is important to note that in Texas, as well as in most states, owning wildlife is illegal. Wildlife is defined as any undomesticated, native animal living in the wild, including those hunted for food, sport or profit. In Texas, these include skunks, raccoons, white-tailed deer, cottontails, jackrabbits and squirrels, among many others. Since these animals are found in the wild and are native to the environment,… they are not allowed to be owned.”

The Texas Administrative Code states that a permit is required to possess a fur-bearing animal like a raccoon:

“No person may possess a fur-bearing animal without a fur-bearing animal propagation permit issued by the department.”

Why Raccoons Don’t Make Good Pets

While baby raccoons may seem cute, tame, and cuddly, they grow up to be destructive wild animals that do not make good pets. Here are some reasons why raccoons and other wildlife do not make suitable pets:

  • Behavior and temperament: Raccoons are intelligent, curious animals but they are also unpredictable and aggressive. They can attack their owners without warning.
  • Destructive: Raccoons love to climb, explore, and tear things up. They will cause extensive damage to your home.
  • Expensive: Providing proper care, food, housing, toys, and veterinary care for a raccoon can be very costly.
  • Time-consuming: Raccoons require constant supervision and enrichment to be happy in captivity.
  • Health risks: Raccoons can transmit rabies as well as roundworms, leptospirosis and other zoonotic diseases to humans and pets.
  • Legality issues: It is illegal to keep wild raccoons as pets in Texas. You could face penalties if caught owning one.
  • Ethical issues: Captivity is extremely stressful for wild raccoons and often leads to behavior problems, illness, and early death. Their needs simply cannot be met as pets.

For all these reasons, wildlife experts strongly recommend against keeping raccoons or other wild animals as pets.

What Are the Punishments for Illegally Owning a Raccoon?

There are legal consequences for possessing a raccoon illegally as a pet in Texas:

  • Up to $500 in fines per raccoon illegally owned.
  • The raccoon may be seized by animal control or wildlife authorities.
  • Repeated offenses may lead to jail time.
  • Texas Parks & Wildlife can pursue civil restitution for damages caused by illegally held wildlife.

So illegally owning a raccoon is treated as a criminal offense in Texas, punishable by fines, seizure of the animal, and even jail time.

Why Can’t You Own a Raccoon in Texas?

There are a few reasons why Texas prohibits keeping raccoons as pets:

  • Public health risk – Raccoons can transmit dangerous diseases like rabies to humans. Texas aims to prevent rabies spread.
  • Invasiveness – Escaped or released raccoons pose an ecological threat as invasive pests.
  • Wildlife conservation – Keeping wild raccoons harms native wildlife populations.
  • Public safety – Raccoons have sharp claws and teeth and can be aggressive.

So for both human health and environmental reasons, Texas bans private raccoon ownership.

What Other States Ban Owning Raccoons?

Texas is not alone in prohibiting captive raccoons – most states restrict raccoon ownership:

  • California
  • Colorado
  • Nebraska
  • New York
  • Oregon
  • Virginia
  • Washington

Only a handful of states like Wisconsin and North Carolina allow captive raccoons with a permit.

Can You Own Other Wild Animals in Texas?

While raccoons are off limits, Texas does allow ownership of some native wildlife with proper permits:

However, many other wild species are also illegal to own in Texas, including:

So if you want an unusual pet, consult Texas Parks and Wildlife’s regulations first.


How do I get a permit to own a raccoon in Texas?

There is no permit available in Texas for individuals who want to own a pet raccoon. The law prohibits ordinary residents from keeping raccoons in captivity. Fines up to $500 per illegally owned raccoon can be imposed.

What is the law on raccoons in Texas?

The law in Texas prohibits keeping raccoons as pets or removing them from the wild. Raccoons are classified as nongame animals, so it is illegal for civilians to possess, transport, or release them. Violators face fines up to $500 per raccoon. The only legal way to handle a raccoon is to contact a licensed wildlife rehabilitator.

How much does a pet raccoon cost?

The cost of a pet raccoon can range from $300-$700 on average, according to sources, but prices can vary widely. Some breeders may charge over $1000 for rare color variants like albinos.
You would need to purchase a captive-bred pet raccoon from a USDA licensed breeder rather than taking one from the wild. Some states with legal pet raccoons require this.

About Hailey Pruett

Hailey “Lex” Pruett is a nonbinary writer at YIHY primarily covering reptiles and amphibians. They have over five years of professional content writing experience. Additionally, they grew up on a hobby farm and have volunteered at animal shelters to gain further experience in animal care.

A longtime resident of Knoxville, Tennessee, Hailey has owned and cared extensively for a wide variety of animals in their lifetime, including cats, dogs, lizards, turtles, frogs and toads, fish, chickens, ducks, horses, llamas, rabbits, goats, and more!

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