Sad ending for raccoon found in shipping container
A grocery store manager said he nearly jumped out of his skin when he came face to face with a stowaway raccoon in his shipping container.
Chris Smith, a manager at Lindo’s Family Foods, was unloading the container at the Warwick store yesterday lunchtime when he saw the wild animal inside.
He told The Royal Gazette: “I opened the door and he was staring right at me. I almost jumped out of my skin.
“I thought he was going to jump out of the container. It would have been quite an episode trying to catch him if he got out into the yard, I imagine.
“He surprisingly looked pretty healthy. He would have been in there since last week Thursday with no food or water. He was definitely wanting to get out.
“He had made quite a mess as he must have been scurrying around looking for food, but unfortunately for him he picked the wrong container.”
Mr Smith contacted the Government and the animal was trapped by staff from the Department of the Environment and Natural Resources and humanely put down.
Mr Smith emphasised there were no fears of food or drink contamination as only household goods were in the container.
Raccoons are susceptible to infectious agents including bacteria, viruses and parasites, and some are known to carry rabies.
Mr Smith said that the DENR team was able to lure the raccoon into a cage with food.
He added the animal probably climbed into the container at New Jersey’s Sea Venture warehouse in a bid to find shelter from the cold.
Mr Smith said it was the first time he had found a wild animal in a container.
He added: “My biggest fear is of a snake being in there.”
A spokesman for the Ministry of Home Affairs said: “Some members of the public will be aware that raccoons are known as possible carriers of rabies.
“Also, the option of deportation is not practical as rescue organisations willing to receive the raccoon would have to undergo the lengthy USDA import permit application process.
“Furthermore, the importation of wildlife with no history for non-scientific purposes is unwise and unlikely to be approved.”
He confirmed that the animal did not come into contact with food items.
The spokesman said: “We were fortunate as the animal was kept contained within the container and later captured and humanely euthanised.
“There was no evidence indicating the animal was purposely smuggled into the island.”