A raccoon dog ‘hiding under a water tank’ has been rescued from a garden by the RSPCA.
The exotic mammal, known as a tanuki, was found on Easter Monday by a woman in Kirton Holme after her dogs were barking at the creature which was hiding under a water tank in her garden.
Inspector Becky Harper went to the scene to catch the raccoon dog - originally from Asia.
“When I arrived, the caller had managed to confine him in an outbuilding by barricading the doorway which thankfully made it much easier for me to catch him.
“He was huddled under a car and was clearly very nervous. Thankfully, he hadn’t suffered any injuries and was in fairly good condition.
“He wasn’t totally wild and seemed to be used to having people nearby but didn’t want to be touched or stroked.”
The raccoon dog - nicknamed Cedric by RSPCA staff - was taken to a nearby vets for assessment.
Unfortunately, he wasn’t chipped so he was transferred to the charity’s specialist wildlife centre at RSPCA Stapeley Grange in Cheshire.
The tanuki was registered on Pets Located and posted on social media and various lost and found forums but sadly no one has come forward to claim him.
“As he has not been claimed, he will be rehomed to a specialist keeper who can care for him properly,” inspector Harper continued.
“While he is very cute, we’d like to stress that raccoon dogs don’t make good pets. They are wild animals and, while they sadly seem to be becoming more popular as pets in the UK, we would strongly discourage people from buying or keeping one as a pet.
“They need a great deal of space and their needs cannot be met in a typical domestic environment.
“If they escape or are released into the wild they are a high invasive non-native species risk to our native wildlife.”
In recent years the RSPCA has dealt with a number of call-outs to stray pet raccoon dogs that have escaped, or been deliberately released to the wild.
It is offence under the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981 (as amended) to release these animals, or allow them to escape, into the wild because they are not a native species to the UK.
To help the RSPCA visit: www.rspca.org.uk/give or text LOVE to 87023 to give £3 (Text costs £3 + one standard network rate message).