This is "Wobbly" and a poster child for the reason to NEVER assume that an animal is sick just because of the way they walk!
About 5 years ago a Momma Raccoon brought up 4 babies and we noticed that 2 of them seemed to walk a little slow, while a third lagged behind and would take a step or two and thenfall down. At first, we attributed this to the fact that this little girl might just be so young that he she had not developed her sea legs yet, but as the days and weeks went by we noticed there was very little to no improvement. I knew it could not be rabies since she was not sluggish nor aggressive and had this problem too long already.
One day I walked out the door to feed them and Momma and her children were up by the deck and I guess I startled her as she took off and all of the children ran with her. Little Wobbly tried, but kept falling down so she climbed a tree, only going up about 5 feet. I walked up to the tree and could have reached out and petted her but she was scared to death and looked frozen from the fear of what I was going to do next so I just talked to her for about 10 minutes, then slowly backed away from the tree. There have been times I wish I would have picked her up or at least tried and then just held her close, but I still believe what I did was the right thing to do and it probably alleviated her fears.
I have an extremely hard time watching an animal that has an injury and even now 4 -5 years later I just cringe when I see Wobbly take a step or two and fall down and even sometimes rolling over from the fall. She comes up every single night to eat and I KNOW that she would not have made it in the wild had we not fed her all of these years and of course that gives me satisfaction. She has grown into a BEAUTIFUL raccoon with wonderful coloring and an extremely mild temperament.
I have contacted colleagues, friends, experts, zoos and just about anyone that I think might know about this condition and yet not one soul has ever heard of it. However, we have come to the conclusion that it is a genetic trait because in the past 4 years there have been several more little “Wobblys” each spring that are her children, though none of them have this as bad as Wobbly does. We have also noticed that none of the other grown raccoons bother her or become offensive to her, so I am convinced that in the raccoon kingdom, they recognize that she has a disability and they leave her alone.
We have noticed that when she walks and even when she stands as you might be able to see in my photo, she stands on her tiptoes and almost never puts her feet flat on the ground. Just about every time I see her walk and fall, I just want to run outside, pick her up and tell her "it is OK, and I am here for you!" and give her a big hug………..but when she sees me looking at her and I speak her name, there have been times that I think I see a little twinkle in her eyes and a bit of a smile, telling ME …………she knows, and it IS OK!!!
Her name is Wobbly and she is a sweetheart!!