Wild racoon decides to break into zoo and make himself a resident

One raccoon went to great lengths to secure housing in Germany by breaking into a zoo and integrating himself with its current residents.

Rhein-Neckar-Zeitung, a German newspaper, reported how the racoon just appeared out of the blue at the zoo one day.

Fred has currently integrated with the racoon group who have been living in a new, large enclosure at the Heidelberg Zoo since its opening in March 2014.

Image via Wikimedia Commons

Curator for mammals in the Tiergarten, Sandra Reichler, shared with Rhein-Neckar-Zeitung:

“Fred came to us and got used to the good life in the zoo.”

But it was not an easy fit at first for Fred as in the wild — as he was nocturnal. That being said, Fred was quickly able to adapt.

“But now he has become accustomed to the zookeepers and also adapted his daily rhythm to his conspecifics in the zoo,” Reichler said.

Due to a 2015 directive that regulates the prevention and management of invasive alien species in the European Union, Fred cannot just be tossed back into the wild.

Image via Pixabay

Both gray squirrels as well as crabs also made the list.

But there is some bad news for Fred — while he is no longer able to be transported — this means he will not be able to be bred or released.

But Fred is not the only racoon out there who made a home for himself in an unexpected place.

Jimmy McNeil has been a school caretaker in Toronto, Canada, for six years now and lends a hand at different schools in the area.

Recently, he caught wind about a family of raccoons who would break into the dumpster at one of the schools in the middle of the night and then get stuck there until the morning.

Image via Jimmy McNeil

And while McNeil had never seen the rambunctious family himself, when he was sent to the school one week — he opened the dumpster to discover them for himself.

But it seems that after the family jumped down into the dumpster that there was no way for the raccoons to climb back out again but it seemed this wasn’t the first time they were in this predicament.

Because as soon as McNeil lowered down a piece of wood into the dumpster for them to climb out — they all began to grab at it.

“They almost seem to expect to get out — so they’ve had help before,” McNeil said. 

Image via Jimmy McNeil

And while most of the raccoons seem unmoved by McNeil’s presence — one was a bit scared of his new helper.

“A couple of them seem unafraid, one is very timid, one likes to stare at me as he or she climbs the fence to get away,” McNeil shared.

And once the entire family was safely out of the dumpster, McNeil continued on about his day only to come back the next day to find the family once again and repeat the process.

There are anywhere from three to six in there each morning,” according to McNeil.

Image via Jimmy McNeil

“I encountered them this week for the first time and have been helping them daily. On the weekend the garbage will likely get high enough for them to escape.” 

While the school caretakers have considered sealing up the dumpsters at night — McNeil has a feeling the raccoon don’t really mind.

“We are going to try to ensure they can’t keep getting into the dumpster since that’s not safe,” McNeil said. “However, I think they’re getting used to getting rescued from the dumpster.” 

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