Raccoon rescue causes hourlong traffic standstill on Alabama interstate

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HUNTSVILLE, Ala. (WHNT) — A raccoon brought interstate traffic to a standstill in Alabama for almost an hour this weekend. The raccoon climbed to the top of a light pole on the side of I-565 in Huntsville.

The rescue involved Huntsville Police, Huntsville Fire and Rescue, Huntsville Animal Control, and Alabama Wildlife Rescue.

Alabama Wildlife Rescue Director Michael Treat was in the middle of releasing a group of rehabbed squirrels when he received a call about the raccoon.

He called the police, who shut down both lanes of the interstate over concerns that the raccoon would fall from the light pole and land on a car.

“We were really worried about public safety, as well as the raccoon’s,” Treat said.

Huntsville Fire arrived with a ladder truck, and they sent several people up to rescue the raccoon. The animal was caught in a net but leaped out before rescuers could bring it to the ground.

Though the raccoon fell many feet, Treat said he did not appear to be very injured.

“He got up and ran across the interstate, and we were able to get to him as he got to the wall of the interstate, so it was a pretty quick and dramatic thing,” Treat said.

The raccoon was checked out by an emergency vet in the Huntsville area.

Alabama Wildlife Rescue is a nonprofit that rescues, rehabilitates, and releases small mammals such as squirrels, groundhogs, rabbits and opossums. The organization, a licensed rehab facility for the Alabama Department of Wildlife and Conservation, is one of only 14 rescue organizations in the state.

Alabama Wildlife Rescue has taken in about 300 animals so far in 2022. Roughly 100 of those animals have since been released.

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