Updated Aug. 21
When Alex Balloon walked into the Free Library’s Tacony branch on Monday afternoon, he found at least seven families huddled around a second-floor window, peering outside. The seemed in awe of what they saw — or at least extremely fascinated. Balloon walked over to investigate. Once he got close enough, he saw it too:
Wedged between the glass and the security gate was a little raccoon.
“I saw [it] climbing up the interior security gate,” said Balloon, director of the Tacony Community Development Corporation. “It was really cute.”
Library officials think the raccoon must have climbed into the spot over the weekend. It wasn’t there when they closed up shop on Friday evening. Perhaps it was inspired by the raccoon who climbed 23 floors to rest on a Minnesota skyscraper earlier this summer.
“When we came in this morning, there it was, sleeping in the window,” branch manager Suzin Weber told Billy Penn. “It must have crawled in thinking it’s a nice place to sleep.”
Weber estimates the animal to be about six pounds. Assuming that’s accurate, the raccoon is just a baby; adults weigh between 14 and 23 pounds.
Turns out, the little guy picked the perfect spot to nap. That second floor window is on the sunny side of the building — “It’s nice and toasty and comfy there,” Weber said — plus, it’s the window nearest to the children’s section.
Indeed, after the excitement wore off and the families left the raccoon alone, the critter went right back to sleep.
Around 3 p.m. on Friday, it was still napping there, unbothered.
So far, Weber hasn’t called animal control on the sleeping raccoon. After all, it hasn’t caused any trouble, and she’s hoping it will decide to leave all on its own. If that doesn’t work, she’s toyed with the idea of leaving out a can of tuna to lure it away from the window.
ACCT Philly confirmed to Billy Penn that it hasn’t received any calls about a raccoon at the Tacony branch, per spokesperson Morgan Polley. For the time being, she said ACCT will opt to let the raccoon leave whenever it’s ready.
“With any wildlife, especially if it’s a baby, we always try to leave it alone,” Polley said. “Its mother will probably come back for it.”
For the time being, the little guy gets to stay — and Tacony families get to keep gawking at the cuteness.
“When it was active about two hours ago, it was very popular,” Weber said. “It’s like we had a pop-up zoo program over there.”
Coincidentally, the raccoon’s library visit comes on the heels of an actual pop-up zoo at the Tacony branch. Last Wednesday, Weber hosted a Philadelphia Zoo program that welcomed four live animals: a pigeon, a chinchilla, a lizard and a frog.
But no raccoons — until this week.
“I’m hoping it will remember it can get out the same way it came in,” Weber said. “We’ll have to wait and see.”
Update: As of 8:30 p.m., the raccoon was still hanging around.