A raccoon that arrived in Bermuda on board a container ship has been put down.
The animal, normally found in parts of North America, is believed to have stowed away in a shipping container in the United States before being brought across the Atlantic and into Hamilton Docks.
The raccoon was discovered inside the container by staff at Pembroke Paint Company on Bakery Lane earlier today.
A spokeswoman for the Department of Environment and Natural Resources said: “Government officers attended the scene and the animal was removed.”
She added that the container, which departed Scarborough in Ontario, Canada, one week ago, was inspected for additional “live cargo” and nothing further was found.
The spokeswoman also confirmed that the animal was put to sleep “immediately” by government officers.
She added: “In these matters, a wild raccoon would not be returned to the country of origin, as no country would not accept it.”
“Due to the unknown disease status of this wild animal and the potential implications to human health, the raccoon was humanely euthanized immediately.”
The spokeswoman said: “Raccoons are susceptible to a large number of different infectious agents including bacteria, viruses, and parasites.
“Thankfully, no person came into contact with the raccoon, and so no human was put at risk.
“The Department wishes to thank the staff of Pembroke Paint Company for their quick thinking and actions which safeguarded the community.”
It is not the first time that a raccoon has managed to make its way to Bermuda.
The Royal Gazette reported how a young raccoon had to be killed in 2008 after being discovered in a shipping container in Pembroke’s Mills Creek.
The animal had arrived on board a container ship from Baltimore.