‘Tiger' running amok in Manhattan was actually raccoon, police say

NEW YORK — Reports of a tiger running around loose in Manhattan on Thursday had police sending out alerts to residents and local media scrambling for photos of the wayward creature.

People were left scratching their heads in wonder a short time later when police found the animal -- which was not a tiger. It was not even a lion, or a bear.

It was a raccoon.


NBC New York reported that New York police officers got a call around 8:30 a.m. about a tiger being spotted near 166th Street and St. Nicholas Avenue in Harlem. Residents near the area were awoken by a Citizen App notification.

“Police are responding to unconfirmed reports of a loose tiger running around on the street,” the alert read.

The raccoon was taken into custody a short time later and turned over to Animal Care Centers of New York City, where it was euthanized.

"The raccoon was brought into our facility and was euthanized as required by law for all vector species animals brought into the shelter," ACC officials said in a statement obtained by ABC News. "Raccoons, bats and skunks are classified as a rabies vector species, which means it's an animal that can carry and transmit rabies."

ABC News also reported that multiple calls were made to police from people claiming to have seen the tiger.

The hubbub over the less-dangerous-than-suspected animal was enough to get some residents riled.

"You're gonna tell me my roommates and I (in Williamsburg, Brooklyn) were all rudely awakened by a helicopter overhead because some idiot in Washington Heights (Manhattan) MISTOOK A RACCOON FOR A (expletive) TIGER?!?!" a user who calls himself Shwax tweeted.

Reporters on Twitter seemed more amused than upset.

"Not my typical Thursday morning," tweeted Christine Hauser, of The New York Times. "When trying to confirm a report that there was a tiger on the loose in Upper Manhattan, an inundated @NYPDnews spokesman answers the phone with this line: 'It's not a tiger, it's a racoon.'"

Sarah Kaplan, of The Washington Post, also joked about the situation.

"Who among us has not made the same mistake?" Kaplan tweeted.

Another Twitter user summed up the humor of the incident succinctly.

"What I am getting from this is that there's still a tiger on the loose in Manhattan and a raccoon who needs a good lawyer," Sara Kaplow joked.

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