Late last year, a very unusual bundle fell out of a tree in Rosie Kemp’s backyard: a month-old raccoon.
She was very weak, and had broken her back leg. Kemp waited, but when the raccoon’s mother didn’t return she decided to take her in.
Kemp lives in Nassau, Bahamas, where there are no raccoon rescues and it’s legal to own them. Determined to give the tiny cub her best possible chance, Kemp and her daughter, Laura Young, raised the little raccoon just like one of their own. They fed the cub, whom they named Pumpkin, every few hours round the clock and kept her warm and toasty, just like her mom would have.
“They are so unbelievably intelligent, very aware, and I would say they are even able to express emotions.”
Now Pumpkin lives with Young, her husband, William, and their two rescue dogs, and appears to be as happy as can be. Her adventures are chronicled on her Instagram account, where Young and her friends post photos of Pumpkin’s daily life.
“She instantly bonded with us and our two rescue dogs and follows me and our two dogs everywhere we go,” Young said. “She now thinks she is a dog … she is able to play and be rough with them and she respects them when they have had enough.”
Note: Raccoons do not usually make good pets and are illegal or restricted in much of the U.S. While rabies is not considered a threat to land animals in the Bahamas, raccoons in the U.S. are major rabies carriers, and if they bite someone will almost always be put down for rabies testing (which makes human contact dangerous for them). They are also extremely active, curious and destructive animals and, as with any wild species, do best in the wild whenever possible.