Meet 'Rambo,' the domestic raccoon with a new lease on life
A raccoon named “Rambo” who was nursed back to health by a Hants County man has now become part of his family.
Billy Holman, who owns a farm in East Uniacke, N.S., says a group of children found Rambo starving and helpless in a ditch. He had cared for raccoons before, and always released them back into the wild -- but with Rambo, he realized that could end in tragedy.
“We noticed when we were feeding him and stuff, he took seizures, so we knew we couldn't release him,” says Billy Holman.
Holman reached out to a number of wildlife organizations, but only got offers to euthanize. He says as time passed, Rambo grew into the strong, silent type – just like his namesake.
These days, he's far more of a pet than a predator, routinely running errands with the family. He even found time for a photo with Santa Claus this year.
Rambo's becoming a regular at some local businesses, but his public appearances are still causing abuzz on social media. But animal rescue specialist Hope Swinemar of Hope for Wildlife warns it can be dangerous to domesticate raccoons.
“Once hormones kick in, once the raccoon gets to be about a year old, they can become very aggressive and dangerous,” says Swinemar. “It's always a good idea to get wild animals back out to the wild where they need to be."
The Nova Scotia Department of Natural Resources agrees, saying in a statement to CTV News that adopting wildlife as house pets is “dangerous to the animal and rescuer” and against the law in Nova Scotia.
“Creatures of the wild do not make good pets and captivity poses a constant stress to them. When raised without contact with their own species, wildlife fail to develop survival skills and fear of humans, virtually eliminating their chances of survival in the wild,” said Bruce Nunn of the natural resources department.
But Holman says the natural resources department isn’t offering the help Rambo needs.
“We even went to natural resources but they wouldn't even help us. They wanted to just put him down,” he says. “You can't release him back. He's really domesticated now, so
The family fears it's now too late to send Rambo back to the wild, so they'll seek a permit to keep him after they've had him neutered.
In the meantime, Rambo sleeps in the family barn, free to come and go as he pleases.
With files from CTV Atlantic’s Bruce Frisko.