Appeal to find owner of raccoon 'mistaken as a badger'

Bandit the raccoon
Image caption The raccoon has been named as Bandit by staff at Secret World

A raccoon, which was mistaken for a badger, has been captured near Taunton and is being cared for at a local wildlife centre.

The creature kept visiting a garden in Henlade which prompted the owners to contact the Somerset Badger Group.

Homeowner Kenneth Beazley said: "We thought it was a badger, we were quite surprised. We've been here over 30 years and never had any problems."

The raccoon, named Bandit, is now being looked after by staff at Secret World.


The Somerset Badger Group contacted staff at Secret World who had been monitoring badgers in the area.

They set up motion sensor cameras and later lured the creature into a baited trap which is when they discovered it was a raccoon.

Rescue worker Sara Cowen said: "It's really unusual to find a raccoon living in the wild here, they're a North American species, so it would have been an animal that someone specifically had as a pet, I imagine, as he is okay to be handled."

It is not known how long Bandit had been living in the wild.

Ms Cowen said: "He has been managing alright. He is a nice big, fat and healthy raccoon.

"They're opportunists, they're scavengers - they'll pretty much go through bins and take what they need as they're so dexterous, they'll quite easily get inside a wheelie bin."

Staff have said they hope the owner will come forward but no-one has contacted them so far.

If no-one comes forward, the charity has said it will find a long-term home for Bandit.

"He is absolutely gorgeous, a proper little heart-wrencher, he's just very sweet, very cute," said Ms Cowen.

"I'll be sad to see him go - he is quite happy here eating cupcakes and raisins."

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