Rescuers Block Alabama Traffic and Save Raccoon Stuck Atop 40-Foot Metal Pole Near Highway

Raccoon peeking from behind treeRaccoon peeking from behind tree
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Wildlife rescuers, firefighters and police officers all gathered to block off traffic and retrieve the stuck nocturnal critter.

A raccoon stuck on a 40-foot light pole near Birmingham, Alabama, led to near two-hour traffic halt.

Traffic was backed up for about a mile in two directions while rescuers helped a raccoon down from the metal light pole, wildlife officials told The News & Observer.

Michael Treat, director of Alabama Wildlife Rescue, an organization that rehabilitates and fosters small mammals throughout the state, got a call last week about a raccoon stuck on Interstate 565.

Treat told the newspaper that he is not sure how the raccoon managed to get to the top of the light pole. “They have a lot of gripping power,” he said. 

“My guess is it just kind of hugged on the pole and worked its way up," he said.

Police officers, the fire department and an animal control officer joined Treat and six Alabama Wildlife Rescue volunteers.

Because the raccoon was near a busy highway, Treat said he was worried that the critter would fall and cause an accident.

To mitigate this possibility, during the retrieval, authorities shut down the highway, which has three lanes running in each direction, stalling traffic for about 90 minutes during the rescue, authorities said.

Treat went up to the top of the light pole in a fire truck ladder basket. The raccoon was secured inside a net, but it then jumped out of the net and fell to the pavement, Treat said. It then got up and ran toward one side of the highway. 

Volunteers and the police were able to recapture the raccoon with a net and then brought it to a local veterinary clinic. 

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