A racoon, who has been on the run for three weeks, has today found her way back to the zoo in East Sussex.

Bandit the racoon went missing from Drusillas Park three weeks ago, after jumping an electric fence. Clearly life on the other side of the fence was not all it was cracked up to be and Bandit returned of her own accord, in an incredible turn of events.

The furry fugitive was discovered back with the family group by zoo keeper Katherine Gibson during the routine evening check. A quick scan of her microchip confirmed that Bandit had returned; she appears in good health and seems pleased to be reunited with her fellow outlaws.

Claire Peters, of Drusillas Park, said: “We were incredibly surprised to see Bandit return. Obviously we longed for her safe return but no one expected her to turn up. It is thought the sisters escaped after being spooked by a noise or unexpected movement, leading them to flee up the perimeter fence and through the electric deterrent. Thankfully neither appears to be injured.”

Bandit absconded from her enclosure on Friday April 26, together with her sister. Turpin was found a week later in the Go Wild! adventure play area by two school girls visiting the Park. However, despite daily checks by the keepers Bandit remained at large. Zoo keepers do not believe that Bandit strayed far, as she knew that her family was nearby.

Claire Peters said: “Racoons eat a variety of foods including fruits, berries, nuts, grass, insects and small mammals and are opportunistic scavengers. We are pleased that Bandit was able to survive on her own, and has not lost much weight. One fear we had was that the racoons would be run down by motorists.

“Bandit seems happy to be home, and the group are most certainly pleased to have her back.”

Head Keeper, Mark Kenward commented: “When Katherine first radioed me I couldn’t believe it. I dropped everything I was doing to rush to see for myself. It’s been a very distressing time with huge concerns for her welfare; we have been looking for her both day and night to no avail.”

“We’ve always been very proud of the standards we have at the Park and are so pleased she came back on her own as it proves she is happy here. We have made adjustments to the enclosure to prevent a similar situation occurring in the future. Clearly the grass wasn’t greener on the other side!”

The zoo has made adjustments to the fence in the hope that something like this does not happen again.