Raccoon filmed wild in the UK

Wildlife Trust cameras have captured the first raccoon ever filmed in the North East of England.

The North American mammal was photographed and filmed in a garden in County Durham by cameras operated as part of the North East Wildlife Trusts WildPlaces project.

The owners of the house, who are not being identified, are members of Durham Wildlife Trust, and contacted the organisation to say that they had seen the animal early one morning.

Raccoon filmed in North East England

Raccoon filmed in North East England

The WildPlaces team, which is based at the Trust’s headquarters at Rainton Meadows, Houghton le Spring, set up two high definition video cameras in the garden, both of which filmed the animal.

During the footage, the raccoon is seen climbing a tree then taking down and opening a bird feeder to get to the nuts inside.

Cheryl Nicholson, Project Manager at Durham Wildlife Trust, said: “ This is a remarkable event. Obviously, racoons are not native to the UK and this is the first one to have been filmed here in the wild.

“We have checked with Natural England, who have confirmed that last year there were three sightings of raccoons in the UK, all of them in southern England. All were suspected escapees, which we assume to be the case with our own sighting.”

To see all of the raccoon HD footage visit www.urbanwildplaces.co.uk.

About Raccoons

The raccoon (Procyon lotor), is a medium-sized mammal native to North America.

It has a body length of 40 to 70 cm (16 to 28 in) and a weight of 31⁄2 to 9 kg (8 to 20 lb).

The raccoon is usually nocturnal and is omnivorous.

It has a greyish coat, of which almost 90% is dense underfur, which insulates against cold weather.

Two of its most distinctive features are its extremely dexterous front paws and its facial mask,

About WildPlaces

Durham, Northumberland and Tees Valley Wildlife Trusts are working in partnership to deliver this project, funded by the Heritage Lottery Fund.

The project now has 72 digital cameras across all three Trusts, including motion-activated (stealth) video cameras with infrared night vision, a four-camera CCTV system and an underwater camera.

So far the cameras have captured including footage of foxes, badgers, otters, deer, hedgehogs, and now a raccoon.

To see a gallery of photos and footage, visit www.urbanwildplaces.co.uk and follow the links to its pages on YouTube, Flickr and Facebook.

Some of the footage available on YouTube

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