Do not approach escaped Highland raccoon, public warned
The mammal was spotted by conservationists while they were trying to film wildcats.
Members of the public have been warned not to approach an escaped raccoon loose in the Highlands.
The mammal was spotted by conservationists while they were trying to film wildcats in Strathpeffer, Ross-shire on March 17.
The species does not normally live in the wild but sightings of raccoons escaped from zoos and homes have been reported in Scotland since the 1970s.
They are considered one of the 50 most invasive non-native species in the country and have been known to spread diseases like rabies.
Scottish Natural Heritage's Stan Whitaker said: "Raccoons could cause millions of pounds worth of damage per year to the Scottish economy if they became established here.
"They could also cause significant damage to our native wildlife by preying on birds, small animals and amphibians.
"Raccoons aren't dangerous but they may give you a nasty bite if cornered. The raccoon that has been recorded is an adult and roughly the size of a domestic cat.
"Ideally, we would like to trap this raccoon and rehome it in a zoo or wildlife park if possible."
There are more than a million wild raccoons living in mainland Europe, where they were reintroduced in the 1930s.
Ronnie the raccoon went on the run for three months after escaping his pen at the Auchingarrich Wildlife Centre in January 2013. Two other racoons were recaptured quickly after a fallen branch set them free but Ronnie travelled 30 miles away before he was found.