Sightings of another out of place creature in Wallsend

Hot on the heels of recent reports of an Eagle Owl on the loose in Wallsend, Tyne & Wear, North East England – https://alchemyandaccident.wordpress.com/2014/09/23/eagle-owl-spotted-in-wallsend/  – comes this…

 

Is it a dog, a badger or an old fox?

Well, experts think this may be the first sighting of a Raccoon roaming free on Tyneside.

The furry mammal, usually found in North America, was spotted by a surprised jogger in Wallsend on Friday morning.

Wildlife experts believe it is the first recorded sighting of the wild beast in the area.

Tom Hughes, 22, was running through the grounds of Wallsend Hall at around 7am when something caught his eye.

He said: “I was running along and came across this curious creature.

“At first I thought it was a badger but its unusual facial markings made me think it was a raccoon.

“It was big and stocky, but very placid and didn’t seem to be in a hurry to get anywhere.”

Tom, who lives in Howdon, near Wallsend, is training to be in the Navy.

He said he hasn’t seen anything like this before but hoped to raise some awareness of the creature being out there.

I wasn’t going to go for my run on Friday morning but I’m glad I did now,” he said.

The early bird catches the worm, as they say.”

The last recorded sighting of a raccoon was in Sunderland in 2012.

They are considered dangerous with changeable temperaments, but some people are known to keep them as pets.

Following a change to the law in 2007 which removed the need for a licence, they are becoming more prominent in Britain.

Several sightings have also been recorded in County Durham.

Steve Lowe, head of conservation at the Northumberland Wildlife Trust based in Gosforth, Newcastle, said: “That is either a raccoon or a raccoon dog.

“Because we can’t see the feet we can’t be certain which.

“These are non-native animals which appear to be kept as pets. They can be aggressive so inevitably in such circumstances the owner finds them too hard to handle and abandons them.

“They are also extremely good escapologists. Two were recorded in County Durham recently but this is the first for us and not especially welcome. “

The last record of one was in Sunderland in 2012.

“It may be the same animal although it’s a stretch to say that it definitely is.

For a recent Racoon sighting in Chopwell, Gateshead, see :

https://alchemyandaccident.wordpress.com/2014/09/10/raccoon-spotted-in-north-east-england-garden/

Source – Newcastle Journal, 26 Sept 2014

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One response to “Sightings of another out of place creature in Wallsend

  1. From Newcastle Evening chronicle, 27 Sept 2014…

    A much-loved pet dubbed the ‘Beast of Wallsend’ has been reunited with her family after escaping from their garden.

    Raccoon dog Ronnie escaped from owner David McDonald’s home on Tuesday and brief sightings of the animal in the grounds of Wallsend Hall, in North Tyneside, led to speculation it was a wild animal roaming free.

    Now Ronnie has been found and reunited with fellow raccoon dog Reggie.

    Terry Tulett, who rescues animals as a sideline to his printing and events business, offered to help David in his search to find his pet.

    And it was Terry’s own raccoon dog Swyper who managed to sniff out the animal.
    The 44-year-old, of TNT Print and Events, has rescued both raccoons and raccoon dogs which he takes to shows and birthday parties in a petting zoo, and has raccoon dogs at his home.

    Terry, of Birtley, Gateshead, said: “There were people having sightings of her here, there and everywhere. I knew raccoon dogs would go near to the waterline.

    “I went out with David and took my raccoon dog with me. It just took for Ronnie to smell my dog and she came running out and David got hold of her.”

    David, 25, bought Ronnie more than a year ago and she had been living in the back garden of his Wallsend home with Reggie.

    But after jumping over the fence, Ronnie went AWOL, prompting a flurry of sightings from bemused passers-by who saw her.
    David, who was becoming the increasingly worried for Ronnie when she left, said he was “over the moon” she had been found.

    He said: “Ronnie and Reggie are back together now, Reggie is happy. He’s much better now she’s back.

    “He’s been coming out of the shed and playing with her. We would just like to thank everyone for helping us find her.”

    Racoon dogs have become increasingly popular as pets in this country in recent years, but are still unusual enough to cause a stir.

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