‘I definitely got more than I bargained for’ – Cody the raccoon causing a stir in Stevenage
- Credit: Archant
With his own Facebook page racking up more than 8,000 likes and people spotting him going for walks with his owner in Stevenage town centre, Cody the North American raccoon is becoming something of a celebrity.
Kasey Valentine, who lives in Stevenage, took Cody in when he was just a few weeks old after his previous owner realised having a raccoon for a pet is not straightforward.
Kasey said: “Raccoons look very cute and cuddly, but we need to remember they are wild animals and, without the correct keepers, it could end up being very bad.
“I had been researching raccoons for many years and had also done training with exotic animals, so I was expecting some difficulties, but I definitely got more than I bargained for.
“Raccoons have a lot of energy. I take him for walks and play with him as much as possible every day in order to keep him socialised and happy, but he has torn wallpaper and carpets, lifted flooring and destroyed clothing. He even pulled a pipe out of the wall and caused
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a leak in the airing cupboard.
He has cost me thousands of pounds.
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“He is wonderful, but he is not a pet or a cute animal to get on a whim.”
Cody, who was bred and hand-reared in the UK, enjoys eating crackers and pancakes and going for walks on a lead in Stevenage town centre with Kasey, where he attracts a lot of attention from shoppers.
There are plans to introduce an EU regulation banning exporting or possessing ‘invasive alien species’ such as raccoons and grey squirrels, with hefty fines and confiscations for anyone caught breaking this law.
Invasive alien species are animals and plants introduced into a natural environment where they are not normally found.
The blacklist includes 37 types of flora and fauna and has been drawn up in a bid to stop threats to native wildlife.
Kasey said: “I do agree there should be some kind of permit for these animals, but the new law means they may even be banned in zoos and wildlife parks.”
For more about Cody, search for ‘Cody the raccoon’ on social networking site Facebook.