Fear of Danish racoon invasion

Authorities in the south of Sweden are fearing an invasion of masked bandits, after a dead raccoon was found on a shore in Falsterbo this weekend.

The raccoon, originally native to North America, is now spreading quickly across Denmark. The species is known as a carrier of rabies as well as for decimating local fauna.

Local wildlife authorities in the Skåne region are now intensifying their contacts with their Danish counterparts to prevent the raccoon from spreading to Sweden.

Skåne County Council gamekeeper Nils Carlsson has examined the dead raccoon and says it had no sign of a collar or trimmed claws, and was therefore probably not an escaped pet.

His theory is that the animal travelled on a ship, and then fell in and drowned, reports local newspaper Sydsvenskan.

Carlsson says to Swedish Radio that raccoons are also capable of swimming the Öresund strait between Denmark and Sweden.

Wildlife experts fear that if a population of raccoons or raccoon dogs establish themselves in Sweden it will grow exponentially. The animals are experts at scavenging.

"The person who invents a rubbish bin that a raccoon can't open will get the Noble Prize," says Nils Carlsson.