(Picture: Elena Troskina/Caters News)A couple have a pet raccoon, and they say he’s just like their child.
Two-year-old Tema is a playful raccoon who has a hobby of destroying the house he shared with his owners Elena and Oleg Troskina, who live in the city of Kemerovo, Russia.
The animal isn’t very well behaved – as he eats the furniture – but his owners love him anyway.
A recent video even shows Tema digging a hole into the sofa and then sliding into it to hide.
(Picture: Elena Troskina/Caters News)But Elena said Tema is as clever as a three-year-old child and can open doors, switch on the oven and run water himself.
The blogger and former model, 35, said: ‘Raccoons are pretty difficult animals to have at home.
‘They need constant communication and attention, you need to spend at least a couple of hours a day playing with them.
‘When you have one, you need to forget about normal furniture and all your doors must be locked.
(Picture: Elena Troskina/Caters News)‘You can’t have a holiday and ask your neighbour to come and feed your pet, as within two weeks a raccoon will be wild again.
‘All my evenings are busy giving him attention, if you don’t give it in the afternoon and evening he will demand it in the night.
‘I still love him very much though, I don’t remember my life before him.’
Elena and Oleg, 27, got Tema when he was eight weeks old after buying him from a zoo.
But when he was sent to the couple from Moscow by train, he was so small he could fit in their hands and had to be fed every two hours.
She added: He is very social, but I am his favourite family member.
(Picture: Elena Troskina/Caters News)‘We have no conflicts with him, he understands everything but of course can be as much of a nuisance as any other kid.
‘Raccoons are a pretty clever animals, they are as clever as a three-year-old child.
‘Tema can open any door himself, run the water or switch the oven on.’
Elena said true to his breed’s stereotype, Tema eats everything – with cookies, fresh quail eggs, fresh fish and grapes some of his favourite foods.
(Picture: Elena Troskina/Caters News)And she admitted the he has full run of their flat, which they also share with a dog and a cat, despite having his own house on their balcony.
Elena added: ‘Sometimes Tema sleeps next to my head, sometimes on the sofa.
‘I can say one thing – if I knew everything about raccoons I do now before I adopted him, I would never have done it.
(Picture: Elena Troskina/Caters News)‘Everyone thinks they are cute but no one thinks about how hard they are to keep at home.
‘He made our life change suddenly – now we need to think ‘raccoon’ when we plan anything.
‘But already, I am scared to think there will be a time when he will pass away.
‘I love him and will never give him to anyone, he is like a child to me.’
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