Escaped raccoon breaks back into Drusillas Park

Missing raccoons Turpin and Bandit
Image caption Turpin and Bandit disappeared from their enclosure at the end of April

One of a pair of raccoons which escaped from a zoo is believed to have broken back into its enclosure.

Bandit and Turpin disappeared from Drusillas Park in Alfriston, East Sussex, on 26 April.

Schoolgirls found Turpin curled up in a crate at the top of a climbing frame in a local play area about a week later.

Keeper Katherine Gibson found Bandit back in her enclosure, alongside Turpin and the zoo's two other raccoons, during a routine check on Friday.

The zoo said a scan of the animal's microchip confirmed she had returned and was in good health.

'Grass not greener'

Head keeper Mark Kenward said: "When Katherine first radioed me I couldn't quite believe it. I dropped everything I was doing to rush to see for myself.

"It's been a very distressing time with huge concerns for her welfare; we have been looking for her both day and night to no avail."

"We've always been very proud of the standards we have at the park and are so pleased she came back on her own as it proves she is happy here. We have made adjustments to the enclosure to prevent a similar situation occurring in the future.

"Clearly the grass wasn't greener on the other side."

He said the raccoon enclosure had been checked daily following the disappearance of the pair.

Keepers think the raccoons may have been spooked by a noise or movement and fled through an electric deterrent.

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