Tayside and Central Scotland

Mystery over Alloa garden raccoon

Raccoon (Pic: SSPCA)
Image caption The raccoon is now being cared for at an SSPCA centre

An animal welfare charity is appealing for information after a raccoon was found in a Clackmannanshire garden.

The Scottish SPCA said it was contacted by someone from Alloa on Tuesday, who reported that the animal was cowering behind a shed.

Inspectors initially thought it was a hoax but found it sitting in the garden looking "lost and distressed".

Raccoons are native only to North America, though they have been introduced to some parts of Europe.

The Scottish SPCA said they were not common pets in the UK.

The charity's chief inspector Paul Anderson said: "Our local ambulance driver responded to the call and presumed that it would either be an injured badger or possibly even a hoax but, true enough, when he arrived the raccoon was sitting in the garden, lost and distressed.

"As he was clearly afraid, we had to approach and contain him using a grasper, which was quite stressful for him, but the only safe way to conduct the rescue."

'Terrified'

The animal was taken to the Edinburgh and Lothians Animal Rescue and Rehoming Centre.

Staff at the centre have named the adult raccoon Bandit, because of the animal's facial markings and reputation for stealing food from bins.

Centre manager Diane Stewart said: "Bandit was terrified when he first arrived, but we've created an enclosure for him with a box filled with shredded paper where he can rest and hide during the day, and then he comes out at night to explore the branches and enticing food we're providing him.

"As a nocturnal creature, Bandit is proving to be quite shy during the day, preferring to curl up and snooze in his bed, but we're hoping that the bananas, corn on the cob and fish we are feeding him will encourage him to feel at home."

Ms Stewart said raccoons were often bought as small, young creatures but could grow quite big and were "notoriously destructive".

Many end up either escaping or being abandoned by their owners.

She added: "Bandit is not happy being handled by us at the moment, but he's not wild and has been around people before, so he must have an owner somewhere.

"We'd like to either reunite Bandit with his owner or find him a good, alternative home soon."

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