By Cara Sulieman
A PET raccoon is hoping to be reunited with his owners after being found cowering behind a garden shed.
Bandit was found in the back garden of a home in Alloa on Tuesday night and the Scottish SPCA went to pick him up.
The charity are now hoping to reunite him with his owners after his ordeal.
Staff at the charity’s Animal Rescue and Rehoming Centre in Balerno, Edinburgh are certain that he was someone’s unusual pet as he is used to being around people.
But he has only just settled into his new home after a shaky start.
Chief Inspector Paul Anderson said that they first thought the call might be a hoax until they turned up to find the small creature hiding behind a shed.
He said: “Our local ambulance driver responded to the call and presumed that it would either be an injured badger or possibly even a hoax, but true enough, when he arrived the raccoon was sitting in the garden, lost and distressed.
“As he was clearly afraid, we had to approach and contain him using a grasper, which was quite stressful for him, but the only safe way to conduct the rescue.
“We then transported him to our Edinburgh and Lothians Animal Rescue and Rehoming Centre where he is resting and recovering from his ordeal.”
Named Bandit by staff due to his facial markings and reputation for stealing food, the creature is nibbling on tasty treats until he makes it home.
Centre Manager Diane Stewart said: “Bandit was terrified when he first arrived, but we’ve created an enclosure for him with a box filled with shredded paper where he can rest and hide during the day, and then he comes out at night to explore the branches and enticing food we’re providing him.
“As a nocturnal creature, Bandit is proving to be quite shy during the day, preferring to curl up and snooze in his bed, but we’re hoping that the bananas, corn on the cob and fish we are feeding him will encourage him to feel at home.
“Although they aren’t common pets in this country, raccoons can be bought as very small, young creatures.
“However, they can grow to be quite big and are notoriously destructive so some end up either escaping from their enclosure or being abandoned by their owners because they can no longer handle them.
“Bandit is not happy being handled by us at the moment, but he’s not wild and has been around people before, so he must have an owner somewhere.
“We’d like to either reunite Bandit with his owner or find him a good, alternative home soon.”
Although Bandit will have to go to a home because he is not wild, the Scottish SPCA don’t recommend keeping raccoons as pets.
Anyone who knows where he came from is asked to call the charity on 03000 999 999.