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Rocket the raccoon says hello to the world in his first video while Jessi explains that even though he's cute he is most defintely not a pet.

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Hi everyone.  Welcome back to Animal Wonders.  I'm Jessi and this is Rocket.  Rocket is an eight week old raccoon and we've had him for about three and a half weeks.  He is super cute right now, but he's not going to stay cute forever.  He's going to get bigger and adult raccoons are not as friendly and easygoing as babies are.  As an adult, he's going to be a very big challenge, but we are up for it at Animal Wonders.

The reason that we think we're up to the challenge of caring for a raccoon for their entire life is because we've done it before.  I've worked with several adult raccoons and while it's not easy, it's very rewarding.  While he is very cute and you see he's on a harness and leash, he is not a pet.  He's an animal ambassador.  He's not my companion and he's not for my pleasure.

As he grows older, like, in the next couple weeks, he's going to be very demanding and he's gonna do what he wants to do, which is okay.  I'm here to give him the best life I can.  Sometimes that means he's going to be doing things that I don't want him to do but are really good for raccoons, like destroying everything in his path and making a huge mess.  

Right now, he's just beginning to really explore the world around him.  You notice he's using his hands to feel everything?  That's so typical of raccoons.  The reason we have Rocket, especially at this young age, is because he was born at a fur farm where they turn the animals into fur coats and blankets and other fashion accessories.  We think his fur coat looks much better on him than it could ever look as anything else.

We also very passionately educate about animals that often aren't seen in the best light.  Many people call these guys "trash pandas" and that's because they do get into peoples' trash a lot, and because of that, they're seen as pest animals and we think they are much more than just pests.

Raccoons are curious, they're playful--hi--and they fill a very important part in their ecosystem.  Raccoons eat a lot of bugs and they eat small rodents, which helps keep their populations in check.  I'm very excited to have him as an ambassador because it gives me the opportunity to teach about this very misunderstood species, which is why I have him on this harness and leash, because he has to get used to it.  He's going to need to wear this when we go to public presentations.  Not only is it for his safety, but also it is a legal requirement for us to be able to keep him.

Now, Rocket has a lot of energy right now and he is not using his mouth appropriately so we're going to go on a walk and get some of that energy out.  

(musical montage)

So as Rocket grows, he is going to go through an adolescent period where he's going to be extremely bitey and it's going to be challenging to care for him, but we will continue to provide him with the best care we have to offer.  You're getting on my mic, yeah, and once he gets through that difficult period, as long as we continue our positive relationship with positive reinforcement training, as an adult, he should be an excellent ambassador.

Right now, he's just transitioning from milk on to some solid food and once we find his favorite food, we can start officially training him.  The other component of his care is going to be enrichment, which is huge for raccoons.  They are extremely energetic in the wild and they love to explore, so tons of toys and new scents and new experiences are going to be absolutely important for his well-being.

The toys don't just need to be stimulating for him.  They need to work him physically and mentally, because raccoons are quite intelligent, so Rocket is a smarty pants, but there are so many animals all over the world that are so much smarter than we ever thought.

I recently watched a video called Super Smart Animals, where I learned about some truly intelligent animals, like whales who use bubbles as tools and a special primate who outsmarts even humans on a very human-like test and you can watch it, too, on CuriosityStream, who is the sponsor of today's video.  They're a subscription streaming service that offers over 2,400 documentaries and nonfiction titles from some of the world's best filmmakers, including exclusive originals.  Get unlimited access starting at just $2.99 a month and for our audience, the first 30 days are completely free if you go to and use the promo code 'animalwonders' during the sign up process.

Thank you so much for joining me and letting me introduce Rocket to you.  Have a great week and we'll see you next time.