A young couple spend their nights cuddling up to an unusual pet – their four-month-old fluffy RACCOON.
Lexi Quigley, 23, and Blake Olson, 26, rescued Oscar in May 2019 when he was found abandoned in a pal’s back yard.
Newborn Oscar, then two weeks old, required bottle feeds of kitten formula and Pedialyte every four hours, which Lexi, an accountant, and Blake, a teacher, juggled between them.
The couple, of Tampa, Florida, USA, crafted a makeshift incubator out of a storage bin to ensure the little kit stayed warm and safe as he grew.
Oscar, who once fit into the palm of Lexi’s hand, is now a healthy 5lbs and spends his days horsing around with the couple’s pets, dogs yorkie Bandit and beagle Weiser and cats Kitty and Eleanor.
Lexi said: “He was two weeks old when he turned up outside my friend’s mother’s house.
“We think Oscar’s mother was spooked by her dogs and dropped him.
“I grew up on a farm and my boyfriend’s family has rescued a raccoon in the past so I knew I could care for him.
“When we found Oscar he was so tiny. His eyes and ears had just opened.
“I started him on kitten formula and Pedialyte to keep him hydrated.
“He didn’t really love the kitten formula so I started mixing it with Pedialyte which he loved.
“He was so small, he fit right in the palm of my hand.
“He was the size of a stick of deodorant.
“He was so little he didn’t produce his own body heat so I built him a little incubator using a storage box, heat patches and a duvet cover.
“At the beginning, I was up feeding him every four hours. It was like having a newborn.
“As he got older he was like clockwork.
“I would give him his bedtime bottle and put him to bed like a baby.
“When he was young, I quarantined him from the rest of my animals because I wanted to make sure he was healthy.
“He had a few fleas which I treated. He will get all his shots from the vet next week.”
Lexi made sure to apply for a permit for Oscar from Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission which is required by law.
The accountant said Oscar is an entertaining addition to her family and is lapping up the life as a domestic pet.
Lexi said: “He’s really funny at the moment. He’s entertaining.
“I wake up in the morning and he’s playing with my hair.
“He absolutely loves my beagle. They play together and run around together all the time.
“Oscar acts like a dog, he’ll go outside and go to the bathroom and play with the dogs but he also uses a litter box inside.
“That’s great because raccoons go to the bathroom so much more than dogs.
“He’s supposed to be nocturnal but he’s definitely not any more.
“He wakes up before me in the morning and it can be hard to get him to wind down before bed.
“He tucks himself underneath the covers in our bed.
“He plays on the cat tower and climbs the stools in the kitchen and he will climb trees in the backyard sometimes.”
Oscar spends his day munching on dry dog food and fruit like grapes, banana and his personal top treat, watermelon.
Although the couple are enjoying Oscar in their family unit, they don’t know if his good nature may change as he grows.
The couple are currently in talks with their vet to see if neutering their pet might be an option.
Lexi said: “We’re not sure what Oscar will be like when he’s older.
“There’s always a fear that when he gets older his male hormones might make him aggressive.
“We never made any definite plans with him, I just wanted to keep him alive.
“We’re looking into whether or not he can be neutered at the moment.
“He’s an important part of our family, but if it came to a point where we had to train him to be released into the wild, we would have to do what is best for him.”
To follow Oscar visit https://www.instagram.com/raccoon_named_oscar/