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July 26, 2023

Raccoon inside Philly airport's baggage claim surprises travelers waiting for their luggage

The animal was caught on video. An airport spokesperson says it probably had lived in one of the fields that surround the facility before entering the terminal

Odd News Wildlife
Raccoon philly airport Quinten de Graaf/Unsplash

A raccoon crawled from a baggage claim chute and onto the carousel at Philadelphia International Airport on Tuesday, surprising travelers. The animal was caught on video. This image is a stock photo of a raccoon.

Travelers at Philadelphia International Airport were surprised by a raccoon who joined them while they waited to collect their suitcases at baggage claim on Tuesday evening.

The furry friend got into PHL's Terminal B/C baggage claim area by crawling up a chute and then onto the luggage carousel, according to airport spokesperson Heather Redfern. 

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In a video posted to social media, bewildered people are heard exclaiming "Is that a raccoon?" as the critter scampered around the carousel

Raccoons occasionally enter the Philly airport from the fields that surround the property, as well from the John Heinz National Wildlife Refuge. The airport has numerous spots where wildlife can gain entry from the airfield to underground areas, according to Redfern. Usually when animals have entered the airport, they have steered clear of public areas.

The raccoon in the video most likely got lost in a baggage tunnel and was attempting to escape when it entered the baggage claim area, Redfern speculated. 

"In this instance, if you've seen the video, it looks like the raccoon was trying to get out and maybe made a wrong turn," Redfern said. "And instead of ... going back out the way it came in, came up through the baggage chute."

This isn't the first time a raccoon has been spotted inside PHL. Last year, another raccoon popped open a panel below a checkout kiosk at an airport shop and tried to snatch a package of Twizzlers.

Philadelphia airport staff works with the U.S. Department of Agriculture, which sets humane traps to capture the raccoons and release them elsewhere. On Wednesday afternoon, Redfern said the USDA had been contacted, but there is no update on whether the most recent critter in question had been caught or found its way outside yet.

"If you're standing there waiting for your bag, you're not expecting to see a raccoon," Redfern said. "So I can imagine the surprise to the passengers when they saw that. But it definitely looked like it was trying to make its way back to where it came from."

No injuries were reported. Passengers should report unusual sightings to airport personnel. 

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