Escaped raccoon caught on camera in Scotland

Invasive, non-native species spotted in the wild near Garve in Ross-shire.

Raccoon, Ross-shire, Scotland
Camera-traps set up by Blackwater Wildlife Recording Group captured images of the raccoon. All images © SNH


Members of a wildlife monitoring group caught the adult raccoon on camera on 17 March.

Conservation officers are hoping to catch the animal and rehome it in a zoo or wildlife park.

Raccoons have been identified in Scotland as one of the top 50 invasive, non-native species most likely to be introduced and cause negative impacts.

They are currently kept as pets and zoo animals, and there have been several escapes in the last few years.

“Raccoons could cause millions of pounds worth of damage per year to the Scottish economy if they became established here.

“They could also cause significant damage to our native wildlife by preying on birds, small animals and amphibians,” said SNH Wildlife and Non-Native Species Manager Stan Whitaker.

Raccoons are native to North America, where they are considered to be a major nuisance, causing damage to buildings and gardens and foraging in rubbish bins.

Raccoons were deliberately introduced to Germany in the 1930s and the population in Europe has now grown to over a million.

In the UK raccoons aren’t established in the wild, but sightings have been reported since the 1970s.

Find out more about Scottish Natural Heritage

Watch a video of raccoons playing in a storm drain

Read more wildlife news stories in BBC Wildlife Magazine

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