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Gotcha! Raccoon caught on camera becomes a star

By Western Morning News  |  Posted: September 04, 2012

  • The night-time visitor to Taunton garden is caught on an infra-red trip camera

  • The tame raccoon with Secret World manager Sara Cowen Picture: Richard Austin

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When a black and white furry animal began making a nightly visit to a woman's garden, she assumed it was a badger.

The large animal with distinctive markings started to forage around the woman's garden but being in the Westcountry, she had no reason to suspect it was anything other than the usual black and white critter found in these parts.

So when animal experts identified the fur ball as a North American raccoon the homeowner from Taunton, Somerset, was a little shocked.

The mammal had been a regular visitor to the garden after the nature lover put down tasty titbits for it to eat.

She had assumed the animal was a native badger because of its black and white face, but decided to report it to the local Badger Trust group because of its unusual striped tail, wondering perhaps if it was a rare breed.

The trust then reported the night visitor to staff at Secret World animal sanctuary at nearby Huntspill in Somerset who put down trip cameras to try and identify it.

After a few images were caught on camera they managed to lure it into a trap with a few tasty morsels before identifying it.

But they were a little surprised to find out what it was – a raccoon.

Now they are caring for the interloper and have even given it a name – Bandit.

Sara Cowen from Secret World said: "We believe he could be an escaped pet because he's easily handled and he's in excellent condition.

"He may have been out there for up to a fortnight. They are native to North America so the British climate isn't a problem for him.

"But if he was hand-reared then he may struggle to feed himself in the wild." She added: "He's a very handsome raccoon. We're waiting to see if anyone claims him. If not we'll re-home him with a suitable institution."

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