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Cadbury Easter "Bunny"

Raccoons are friendly and inquisitive, but don't try to make a pet out of one you find in your back yard!
Raccoons are friendly and inquisitive, but don't try to make a pet out of one you find in your back yard!

     Folks who like Easter candy know about Cadbury, the company that makes delicious chocolates.  They became known for their Easter candy commercials, featuring a bunny that clucked like a chicken.  Five years ago, they invited people to nominate their pets to be the Cadbury “bunny”.  Three dogs have won the title, along with a tree frog and – last year’s winner – Crash the Cat.  This year the winner of the Cadbury bunny contest is a pet raccoon named Louie.

     Louie is two years old and lives in Miami with his owner Jamie, a vet tech who was volunteering with a wildlife rescue when Louie was brought in.  As an orphaned baby raccoon, Louie could not be released back to the wild so Jamie took him in.  Since then she has taken in three more raccoons so Louie has a lot of company.  He even has his own Instagram page with more than three hundred thousand followers.

     Keeping a raccoon as a pet is not a casual choice.  First, in places like Florida, you must have a permit.  You also must be willing to create an environment where the animal can live and eat and play safely.  (Jamie has trees and branches for her raccoons to climb and play, and even a swimming pool.)  You must know what to feed them – not garbage as everyone thinks, but fresh vegetables and fruits.  And you must find a veterinarian that is knowledgeable about raccoon care, because they require vaccinations for rabies and distemper.

     Lucky for Jamie, Louie is a bit of a fashionista who loves wearing hats, so putting him in a pair of bunny ears for his entry in the contest was no problem – and he won!

     Keeping a raccoon as a pet requires someone knowledgeable about what these intelligent animals need, and how best to accommodate those needs.  It also helps to start with a baby animal, as Jamie did with Louie, and raise them to be well behaved around people, a “sweet” trait to have when you’re speaking of pets.