Digital Original: Student is raising baby raccoon abandoned by his mother


BRYANT, Ark. -Man’s best friend has long been known as the four-legged canine.

However for Nathan Mayes, 21, from Bryant, he’s raising his own furry and playful “best friend” – a baby raccoon named Simon.

“He’s a pretty well-behaved raccoon,” explains Mayes. “He’s now 6-months old.”

Mayes says he and Simon do pretty much everything together, from playing outside to watching television.

“He’s different and very playful,” he says. “Because I had him from when he was a baby. He’s very social and sometimes he would just sit on my lap for three hours and kind of hug my arm and sometimes he can not be still.”

Mayes is used to handling wildlife. His family is well known in his community for rehabbing injured or abandoned animals. He says his family received a call from their neighbor who found a kit of raccoons undernourished and cooped up in her attic.

“My family helps rehab deer, raccoons, all kinds of stuff,” he says. “We do pay attention to regulations with Game and Fish.”

Certain states have made it illegal to keep captive or domesticate raccoons. However, according to the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission, a person can have up to six in the Natural State.

“I like to describe him as a puppy that can climb walls,” Mayes says.

As for the name Simon, Mayes says it was the name that first came to mind when looking down at the three helpless baby raccoons.

“So the idea was Alvin, Simon and, Theodore from Alvin and the Chipmunks,” he explains. “They all have different personalities and honestly he was the one with the sweetest personality.”

The other two raccoons have since returned to the wild, but Simon didn’t seem to want to leave.

Mayes says he doesn’t recommend just anyone getting a raccoon as a pet because they need a lot of attention and someone with patience.

“Would I recommend just anyone getting a raccoon – definitely not,” he says. “He can be calm but he also needs a lot of attention.”

Before heading out to get a pet raccoon, see laws on wildlife pets, here .

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