Escaped raccoon filmed by camera trap in Highlands
Published 01/04/2016 | 12:51
Members of the public have been warned not to approach an escaped raccoon caught on camera in Scotland.
The North American native was spotted in the wild by a camera trap set up to record images of the elusive Scottish wildcat.
Instead, the footage revealed a raccoon foraging in woodland near Garve in the Highlands.
Conservation body Scottish Natural Heritage (SNH) said it plans to trap and rehome the raccoon, and warned members of the public not to approach it as the animals have a "nasty bite".
SNH wildlife and non-native species manager Stan Whitaker said: "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.
"Raccoons aren't dangerous but they may give you a nasty bite if cornered. The raccoon that has been recorded is an adult and roughly the size of a domestic cat."
Members of the Blackwater wildlife recording group caught the animal on camera on March 17.
Anyone who spots it is asked to report it immediately to the Scottish Environment and Rural Services (Sears).
SNH said 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.
Sears can be contacted at email@example.com or 08452 30 20 50.