A raccoon that invaded a Northampton home through the cat flap is now enjoying a stay at the RSPCA’s Stapeley Grange animal centre before being rehomed at a specialist centre.
As the Chronicle & Echo first reported, the animal, a native of North America, surprised husband and wife Marek and Caroline Chapanionek's living near Northampton, when it entered their house through the catflap and rummaged through their belongings.
The couple reported the incident to the RSPCA, who rescued the raccoon. It is now at the RSPCA’s Stapeley Grange animal centre.
Lee Stewart, manager of the centre said: “This is the first raccoon we’ve looked after at Stapeley Grange. He is very friendly and inquisitive and has thoroughly explored his temporary home here.
“Raccoons are not native to the UK, so we suspect he was kept as a pet and then abandoned when he became more challenging to look after. He will be rehomed at a centre with specialised facilities and experience in meeting the needs of animals like this.”
As an omnivore, the raccoon has a varied diet and is being fed with eggs, fruit, vegetables and dog food at Stapeley Grange. Once he has been neutered and vaccinated, he will be rehomed next week.
Raccoons are wild animals and providing for their needs is difficult in a home environment. They need lots of space and stimulation. The RSPCA therefore does not recommend them as a pet.
Lee added: “We must stress that raccoons really don't make good pets. They are wild animals and we would strongly discourage people from buying or keeping one. They are nocturnal and need a great deal of space so their needs cannot be met in a typical domestic environment.”
Raccoons are on the EU's list of invasive alien species and so sellers cannot sell any new stock, nor can raccoons be bred or released to the wild. If they escape, or are released into the wild, they pose a risk to our native wildlife.
Anyone who comes across an injured or sick animal, or an animal who has been abandoned, should contact our 24-hour emergency line on 0300 1234 999.
To help the RSPCA continue rescuing, rehabilitating and rehoming animals in desperate need of care please visit: www.rspca.org.uk/give or text LOVE to 87023 to give £3 (Text costs £3 + one standard network rate message)