Tennessee family pleads for return of YouTube-famous pet raccoon

Brown’s trained raccoon Rebekah gained Internet fame for appearing in videos on YouTube. But now, Rebekah’s fame has backfired.


Gaby Dunn


Published Aug 15, 2013   Updated Jun 1, 2021, 9:07 am CDT

If you’ve got an illegal pet raccoon, chances are you’re either an animated version of Pocahontas, or you’re YouTube’s Mark Brown.

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Brown’s trained raccoon Rebekah gained Internet notoriety for appearing in videos of the two showering, dancing to Chain of Fools, and of Brown feeding the critter from a baby bottle. But now, Rebekah’s fame has backfired: She’s been seized by the Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency, which took Rebekah from her owner last week.

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Brown is, obviously, distraught without his baby and took to YouTube to plea for Rebekah’s safe return. He asked Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam to grant him the necessary permits to be able to keep his rocky friend and to pardon the charges against him. Brown had previously owned a raccoon named Gunshow who passed away. 

Brown said he believed Rebekah was taken because she appeared in viral videos such as one called “Hillbilly Slide and One Mad Coon” posted to Brown’s YouTube channel SwampMusic12. 

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Rebekah is currently being kept at a local wildlife rehabilitation and education center, and she will be used as an education tool in Tennessee schools and colleges. In the video, Brown, who sports a long white beard and sometimes makes videos as Santa Claus, seems distressed that she’ll be in captivity instead of with him. 

He said he has set up a fund to help the family with legal fees, and to “free Rebekah.” 

In a post on YouTube, SwampMusic12 wrote: “It has been eight days since Rebekah was taken from us and I am so heart broken. I can’t sleep and all I can think about is how she must be chattering for us and how she doesn’t have her toys we got her, she’s not getting? the foods we were feeding her, and she’s not getting the love we give her. She wants to be home with us.” 

The channel asks that people email [email protected] and ask that Rebekah be allowed to come home and keep making cute videos on YouTube with her family.

H/T Gawker / Photo via YouTube

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*First Published: Aug 15, 2013, 7:31 am CDT