Meet Pumpkin, the classiest raccoon on the Internet (and possibly in the world).
She isn't your average trash-picking night prowler: Pumpkin lives in the Bahamas and enjoys the finer things in life. Her diet consists of sunny-side-up eggs and avocados. Her interests include napping with her two best dog friends and examining her own fan art. She even uses the toilet. To sum it all up, Pumpkin lives a #blessed life.
Pumpkin was orphaned when she was just a month old, and was rescued by Rosie Kemp in the Bahamas' capital city, Nassau. The local Humane Society was too busy to care for the tiny injured animal, so Kemp enlisted friends and animal activists who have cared for raccoons before to help nurse the critter back to life. Pumpkin now lives with Kemp's daughter Laura and her husband, who raised the animal as a pet along with their two rescue dogs.
Pumpkin has never come face to face with another raccoon, her owner Laura told The Huffington Post in an email, so the dogs are her best friends and role models. Pumpkin is part of the pack.
"She follows them outside and explores with them," Laura said, "but like them, she has become very accustomed to the luxury of air-conditioning and demands to come back inside when its too hot!" We'd expect nothing less from Lady Pumpkin.
It's legal to keep a raccoon as a pet in the Bahamas, but this is not the case in the U.S. and many other jurisdictions. And although Pumpkin makes living the high life look breezy, wildlife experts warn about the dangers of raising a wild animal in the home.
"Raccoons are wild animals that can be habituated to human contact but they can never be truly tamed or domesticated by humans," Paula Goldberg, executive director of D.C.-based animal rehabilitation group City Wildlife, told HuffPost in an email. "The family runs the usual risks of being bitten or scratched by this animal. Raccoons can also be very destructive to the interiors of homes."
The species can also carry rabies, which is deadly if contracted by humans, and other dangerous diseases. Pumpkin's owners had her spayed and make sure she has all her shots. And they say she hasn't caused any major household disasters... yet.
Though Pumpkin may mind her manners, even her owners agree that raccoons should stay in the wild.
"I really want to stress that raccoons are NOT pets," Laura said. "Raccoons are best left in the wild, but as she didn't get the chance, we always want and will do what is best for her."
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