There is a geographic difference in size for raccoons in North America. Body mass increases as you go further north, so young born in the north will likely be bigger on average than those born further south – although features of each age (for example time when eyes open, or teeth erupt) will be the same. This chart is based on the experience of wildlife rehabilitators in the northern part of raccoon habitat. Weights for young at the same stage of development will vary not only between individuals but across regions as well. Therefore it is best to decide how much formula to feed based on individual weights using this chart as a general guide only.

AGE (weeks)




Birth to

1 week

60-140 grams

eyes and ears closed

face mask and tail rings barely visible

scant fuzz of fur on back and sides, none on stomach

Feed 3 - 7cc per feeding (for 5% of body weight) 7-8 times a day every 2.5 - 3 hours including overnight feeding

Example of a feeding schedule for 8X a day: 7am, 9:30am, noon, 2:30pm, 5pm, 7:30pm, 10pm, plus once overnight

Example of a feeding schedule for 7X a day: 7am, 10am, 1pm, 4pm, 7pm, 10pm, plus once overnight

Formula should be kept a bit warmer than body temperature during the entire feeding since it cools down quickly once drawn into the feeding syringe or held in a bottle. Set the cup of formula or bottle in a larger container of hot water during the feeding to keep it warm.


Keep baby raccoons in a warm room in a pet carrier, or small enclosed box with breathing holes. Protect them from drafts, and create a cozy nest with several layers of soft non-ravelling cloth. Change the bedding twice a day, and wash it without using fabric softener because the scents are hard on the babies’ respiratory system. Likewise, wood chips release aromatic oils, and are thus not good to use for bedding.

Provide external heat by setting the box half-on, half-off a heating pad set to low, or put a hot water bottle well-wrapped in a soft cloth in the box. Make sure it does not leak and that it is not too hot for the babies to snuggle against. Refill it at every other feeding, or when it is no longer warm enough.

Keep babies warm during feeding sessions by cupping them in a small cloth, while resting your hand on top of a hot water bottle. Feed them in a quiet warm room with no distractions.

Try to provide extra sucking time – wear latex exam gloves over light cotton gloves, and allow them to suck on your fingers for 10 or 15 minutes after each feeding.

Stimulate them at each feeding – gently stroke genital area with a wet finger, Q-tip or soft wet cloth until they finish peeing and/or defecating.

Thoroughly wash their face, neck and chin after each feeding.

Once the baby is digesting formula (Esbilac or KMR), stool should be formed and a golden brown colour. Practice proper hygiene since raccoon feces can carry parasites.

2 weeks

190-225 grams

lightly furred

no fur on belly

eyes and ears closed

Feed 9.5 – 11.3cc per feeding (for 5% of body weight) 6 times a day every 3 hours
Example of a feeding schedule for 6X a day: 7am, 10am, 1pm, 4pm, 7pm, 10pm



3 weeks


furred all over

eyes open at about 3 weeks (18 – 24 days of age)

Feed 16 - 20cc per feeding (for 5% of body weight) 6 times a day every 3 hours

Example of a feeding schedule for 6X a day: 7am, 10am, 1pm, 4pm, 7pm, 10pm



As babies become more aware after their eyes open, it is important to continue to feed them in a quiet room with no distractions.

After they have learned to nurse well from a bottle you may want to improvise a way to feed them as a group. See photo for one improvised feeding tool made by attaching a strip of plastic mesh to a small piece of wood trim, and then threading thick elastic through the mesh, creating loops to hold several bottles.

4 weeks

450-550 grams

Feed 22.5 – 27.5cc per feeding (for 5% of body weight)


Feed 31.5 – 38.5cc (for 7% per feeding) 5 times a day every 3.5 hours

Example of a feeding schedule for 5X a day: 7am, 10:30am, 2pm, 5:30pm, 9pm



5 weeks

600-700 grams

Feed 30 – 35cc per feeding (for 5% of body weight)


Feed 42 – 49cc (for 7% per feeding) 4 times a day every 4 hours

Example of a feeding schedule for 4X a day: 7am, 11am, 3pm, 7pm


After baby raccoons have had their eyes open for a week or two, they will be peeing on their own sometimes, and you can start to litter train them to paper towels in their carrier. Stimulate them to pee over paper towels and then use the paper to line the front section of the carrier (or a cat litter pan if it will fit in the carrier) – to give them the idea this is where they should go. Once they are using the paper, monitor often, and if you notice any feces remove it promptly, since you do not want it tracked around. Wear rubber gloves to clean up and always wash hands thoroughly.

6 weeks

750-820 grams

Feed 37.5 – 41cc per feeding (for 5% of body weight)


Feed 52.3 – 55.4cc (for 7% per feeding) 4 times a day every 4 hours

Example of a feeding schedule for 4X a day: 7am, 11am, 3pm, 7pm

Introduce solids, starting with a good quality puppy chow and chopped fruit (grapes and bananas are favourites). At first, moisten the puppy chow with formula and mix mashed banana into it to entice them. Microwave this dish for about 5 minutes to allow the kibble to soak up the fluids.


Housing should still be kept in a warm quiet room, but the youngsters will now need more space to play – if you can, give over a little room to them for a few weeks, and use a very large dog-size pet carrier (33” x 22” x 28” high) as their nest, but remove the door so they can come and go from it. Start to remove their supplemental heat source gradually now. Use a well wrapped hot water bottle in the carrier under their bedding since it will no longer be safe to use a heating pad; they could damage it and hurt themselves.

Provide a source of fresh drinking water such as the containers made to water pigs, dogs or rabbits that affix to something solid. Empty, wash and refill the container several times a day.

Some wildlife rehabilitators start to use sand or kitty litter in a litter pan, once baby raccoons are trained to know where to go. The housing and litter pan will need to be cleaned often, and the bedding washed daily.

Provide toys – natural items are best – acorns, pinecones, small branches, bark, limestone pieces, shells, stones/pebbles, maple keys, flower seed heads, etc., but sturdy dog chew toys, cat toys, human baby toys and empty boxes are also good.

7 weeks

900-1000 grams

Feed 45 – 50cc per feeding (for 5% of body weight)


Feed 63 – 70cc (for 7% per feeding) 4 times a day every 4 hours

Example of a feeding schedule for 4X a day: 7am, 11am, 3pm, 7pm

Once they are eating the puppy chow, discontinue moistening it, and increase the amount of solids offered.



8 – 10 weeks

1000-1450 grams

Feed 50 – 72.5cc per feeding (for 5% of body weight)


Feed up to 80cc per feeding 3 times a day every 5 hours

Example of a feeding schedule for 3X a day: 8am, 1pm, 6pm

Weaning: as they eat more solids, decrease the frequency of their formula feedings to 2 times a day and then to once – aiming to completely wean them from formula by 10 weeks of age.



Do not continue to increase formula past 80cc per feeding, Raccoon kits should be encouraged to eat solids, and if formula continues to increase they will not be motivated to do so.

10 – 16 weeks

In the northern part of raccoon habitat, youngsters born in the spring (March – May) should weigh about 15 lbs by the time they are ready for release in August or September at 16-18 weeks of age.

Feed a good quality puppy chow (about 2/3 of the diet) and fresh fruits and vegetables (about 1/3 of the diet). Adult dog or cat kibbles will not be rich enough in some of the nutrients a growing animal needs.

Feed juvenile raccoons all they want to eat, twice a day – your goal is to help them put on weight to see them through their first winter.

Empty any play pools you use after a few hours to prevent raccoons from getting water borne illnesses, and pay special attention to keeping their drinking water fresh and clean.


After raccoon kits are weaned they should be housed outside in a large pre-release cage until release. The cage should be as spacious as you can manage, but at least 8ft x 8ft x 6ft high and made of 1” welded wire mesh on a wood frame. Do not use “chicken wire” because it is much too light and easily torn by predators or the raccoons themselves. Furnish the cage with a secure wooden nesting box (20” x 24” x 24” high) attached to a top corner platform, and accessed by ramps. Give them clean straw or dried grass in their box as bedding, and check it every day to make sure it is staying dry – you do not want any mould inside their box. The cage should have a roof to protect it from the elements and large tarpaulins can be draped around most of it – to provide the youngsters with the feeling they are hidden and safe.

Raccoon kits are extremely active in this 6 – 8 week period and need to exercise and grow strong.

This is a very messy stage, so the cage will need to be hosed out and the litter pan cleaned at least twice a day.

The size of the outside enclosure you need will depend on your situation. If raccoon kits must be caged all the time, try to make the enclosure as large as possible and add as many interesting climbing opportunities as you can think of. Furnish it with fresh hardwood branches with leaves and as many natural elements as you can gather, such as rocks, pebbles, acorns, maple seed keys, pine cones, flower seed heads, bark, mosses etc. Create hanging “hammocks” from tough fabric and thick rope, provide a tire swing, and put a big hardwood stump or large hollow log in the bottom of the cage.

If you are able to take them out for daily walks where they can exercise and climb trees, you may be able to make do with a smaller outdoor cage – but it still must be big enough to provide some play/exercise room, and comfortably house their food and water containers, litter pan and a wooden nest box.

Provide a “soft” release from the cage at 16-18 weeks of age.

16+ weeks

Make sure to continue to stock a feeding “station” daily for your raccoon youngsters until they go off to den in November – even if you don’t see them. A good staple food is the puppy chow they are used to.

Some youngsters will disappear for several days or even a week or two when they are first released, as they explore their new world, and some are wilder and more wary and you will not see them after release.


Leave the cage and nest box open and accessible post-release so your youngsters can use it as a back up shelter while they establish themselves in the wide world.

Do not leave any food in the cage since you do not want to attract other animals to it, and in that way it remains a safe haven for your released youngsters. You can continue to provide fresh drinking water in the open cage however, until you are sure your youngsters have scouted out a source for themselves.

They need your support over their first fall of life to attain a body weight that will see them through their first winter because they will likely lose 50% of their weight over winter.