'Large cat' invading British man's home found to be raccoon

By Ben Hooper  |  May 19, 2017 at 4:07 PM
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May 19 (UPI) -- A British man who thought a cat had invaded his home soon realized the intruder was something far less common in England: a raccoon.

Marek Chapanionek of Horton, England, said he first spotted the raccoon stealing a cereal bar from his wife's purse and initially thought it was a cat.

"I noticed this dark thing coming out of my wife's handbag, and thought, 'That's quite a large cat'... that's when our own cat Dotty legged it out of the house," Chapanionek told the BBC.

Chapanionek said the raccoon fled upstairs and started rooting through the drawers in his daughter's bedroom.

The man said he chased the raccoon through the house and was able to trap it in a hallway.

"But I had to wedge a chair under the door handle as it knew how to open them," he said.

"We thought about letting him out -- but we didn't know whether that was right or wrong," Chapanionek told the Northampton Chronicle & Echo. "We thought he must have been someone's pet because he seemed to know how to open doors."

The RSPCA took the raccoon to Stapeley Grange Wildlife Center in Cheshire. Officials said the raccoon, native to North America, was likely brought to Britain as a pet before escaping.

"[Raccoons] are wild animals and we would strongly discourage people from buying or keeping one as a pet," an RSPCA spokesperson said.

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