AUBURN — An urgent message from the Maine Warden Service: it is never a good idea to kiss a raccoon, even if it’s a cute, baby one.

An unidentified woman seen Tuesday with a baby raccoon at Petco in Auburn. Screenshot from video

Wardens on Thursday were seeking information about a woman who took a juvenile raccoon into an Auburn pet store, where the animal was said to have been kissed by a few in the store.

Raccoons, the Warden Service advises, are one of the most common carriers of rabies.

It happened at about 1:30 p.m. Tuesday at the Petco on Mount Auburn Avenue, wardens said.

“The unidentified woman in the photos brought the raccoon into the store seeking to have the raccoon’s nails trimmed,” according to a statement. “While waiting, many different people handled the racoon and some even kissed it. Once the store manager was alerted to the raccoon, he asked the woman with the racoon to leave the store, and contacted the Maine Centers for Disease Control and the Maine Warden Service.”

It was not clear if the woman, shown in Petco surveillance footage, could be in any legal trouble. Right now, the wardens wrote, their main concern is determining if anyone was exposed to rabies — and making that determination as quickly as possible.


Anyone who kissed or otherwise touched the animal is encouraged to seek medical attention.

“Rabies is lethal unless treated after exposure,” they wrote. “If you were exposed to this raccoon, please contact your health provider. Rabies is spread through a rabid animal’s saliva or neural tissue, and a person can be exposed when that saliva or neural tissue of a rabid animal comes in contact with a person through a bite or scratch, cut in the skin, or gets into the eyes, nose, or mouth.

If you have any information regarding the woman with the raccoon in these photos, please contact the Maine Warden Service at 1-800-452-4664.”

In the photo provided by the Warden Service, the woman in question is seen holding the small raccoon close to her chest inside the store with other Petco customers nearby.

At least one local animal handler was aghast at the news.

“She just put a lot of people in potential danger,” said Drew Desjardins, of Mr. Drew and his Animals, Too. “People really need to leave wildlife alone.”

The raccoon did not get its nails trimmed.

Comments are no longer available on this story