Raccoon runs rampant through Philadelphia airport baggage claim

Airport officials say raccoons visit the airport on occasion as it's surrounded by fields.

This story originally appeared on 6abc.

Some travelers at Philadelphia International Airport got quite the surprise on Tuesday evening.

While passengers were waiting for their bags, a raccoon entered the baggage chute.

Video captured the critter scurrying away as travelers remained in shock near “Baggage Claim B/C” around 7:30 p.m.

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Sara Higgins watched it all happen as she stood with her husband and three daughters.

“We could see its tail and we’re like, ‘That is a live animal! What is it?'” recalled Higgins.

The family is visiting from Australia. Higgins and her daughters have been enjoying their summer vacation in the Maryland area. Her husband, Darryl Pereira, arrived Tuesday night on a flight from Los Angeles.

“I was expecting a surprise from them when I arrived, but I didn’t expect that,” Pereira said of the raccoon.

Higgins says the raccoon was trying to make its way back down the ramp of the luggage chute when the conveyor belt started moving.

“It would be like you would walk down an escalator that was going up,” Higgins said of the raccoon’s failed attempt to get back down the chute.

Unable to go back down, the raccoon jumped onto the metal part of the luggage carousel, scurried around, and jumped off. The raccoon then ran around before hiding under a vending machine.

No injuries were reported.

Airport officials say raccoons visit the airport on occasion as it’s surrounded by the Heinz National Wildlife Refuge.

“The raccoon in the video most likely got lost in one of the baggage tunnels and was attempting to get out. The airport works with the USDA to set humane traps for raccoons,” PHL officials said in a statement.

And this isn’t the only raccoon caught on video at the airport.

Back in 2022, airport officials say another critter crawled out of a vent in the wall and snagged a package of Twizzlers.

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The vent has since been closed up.

“Because we saw (the raccoon come through the vent), we were able to close off that access point,” said Heather Redfern, spokesperson for Philadelphia International Airport.

The airport says it would be too hard to close off every area where a small animal could get in.

“It’s not that we’re infested with raccoons or the animals,” said Redfern.

Airport officials say if you see a raccoon at the airport don’t approach it. Instead, you should inform an airport employee either in person or via the white courtesy phones inside the airport.

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