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Negligent Trapping Leads to a Last Ditch Effort to Save a Raccoon’s Life

Trapping a raccoon isn’t supposed to go this way.

An abandoned cage trap lie wedged against a tree, seemingly empty. As we approached, we found a very weak, and evidently dying adult raccoon. He had a scar on his head from repeatedly trying to break free. Who left this cage trap there? It had to have been a trapper. If not, then someone might have been trapping for fun, probably illegally.

My husband gently removed him from the cage trap and slipped him in his backpack to avoid any delay should we run into anyone; this raccoon’s remaining hours were quickly dwindling, there would be no time for explanations. I ran back home ahead of my husband to prepare our dog’s old crate, luckily we still had it, and rummaged through the kitchen for some kind of sustenance.

Is a raccoon the same as a baby?

We called The Department of Fish and Game, but to no avail. How does one feed a raccoon? What does one feed a raccoon? We had a feeding syringe and plastic pipettes from past school laboratory materials. We had milk. We had water. God I hope this works.

My husband held him with thick rubber gloves while I tried to squirt the liquids into his mouth, alternating between milk and water. The pipette seemed to work best. His eyes were small and dry from dehydration, his strength barely kept him clinging to my husband’s hands.

It seems he took a few good gulps but then refused anymore. Anything else I tried to give him, he spat up. Please, drink this. Please. I begged him silently to take the water, take the milk. He didn’t want any of it.

We tried again one hour later. He appeared more alert; he had shifted positions on his own. Again, he took just a few gulps and refused the rest. >It’s too late, isn’t it?

I came back one hour later. He was motionless. He was dead.

Trapping Responsibly

The trapper had clearly forgotten about the trap; that raccoon must have been in there for at least two or three days without food or water. I blame negligence.

Trapper education thoroughly covers the rules and regulations of trapping as posted by your home state Department of Fish and Game. Although trappers trap for a variety of different reasons, some may be business owners who trap and relocate unwanted guests in residential homes, whereas others might trap for the profit of furs, the obligation to obey the law remains in place.

Bottom line, don’t let an animal suffer because you “forgot” about a trap you set.



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Negligent Trapping Leads to a Last Ditch Effort to Save a Raccoon’s Life