toronto raccoon rescue

Adorable video shows Toronto man rescue a raccoon trapped in a dumpster

Raccoons may be Toronto's unofficial mascot, but not everyone in the city loves these masked food-stealers and voracious garbage eaters.

Alex Kandaharian considered himself a raccoon hater but has since changed his tune after a heartwarming display of altruism toward a raccoon in distress.

A video of the encounter in the Yonge and Steeles area has gone viral on TikTok.

"I found this little buddy stuck in a garbage bin at my work. And I hate raccoons...so...I'm going to help you out, little buddy."

After failing to help the trapped raccoon with a garbage pick stick, Kandaharian brings a ladder into the mix, which the animal easily scales before making a quick escape.

"You can do it," Kandaharian encourages the cautious critter as it ascends a ladder to freedom from a dumpster, politely asking it not to bite him in the process.

Kandaharian tells blogTO that he works picking up litter at the Goulding Park Community Centre in North York, the site of the viral animal rescue video.

"As I was dumping my litter bag into the dumpster, I heard the sound of something moving around, and I noticed the Toronto dumpster bandit in distress trying to climb out. Because the trash wasn't high enough, the raccoon could not climb out. I didn't even hesitate in trying to help it out."

Kandaharian admits in the TikTok clip that he was not (at least at the time) a big fan of raccoons, which he chalks up to "an evening when I had too much to drink and was walking home. "

"I had 4-5 raccoons following me for a good portion of my walk and it really freaked me out. So I began to run in fear I would get attacked by a family of raccoons."

"As much as I hate raccoons, this poor thing was a few hours away from getting picked up by a dumpster truck and being crushed into a thin piece of paper."

"I was always raised to help others no matter what the situation. Whether it's humans or animals, I don't think twice in those moments. My initial thought process is how can I help?"

He knew tools were his only option in saving the little trash panda, admitting, "I didn't stick my hand out or else I'd be checking myself into the hospital for rabies shots."

After the pick stick was treated like a chew toy by the confused animal, Kandaharian had the idea to get a ladder from inside the community centre.

"Immediately after setting it up, the raccoon was smart enough to use it and climb out. Not smart enough to jump onto a safer area which explains the raccoon falling face-first."

Kandaharian says that the best part of the exchange occurred after his camera stopped rolling. "After it ran off for about 20-30 feet, it stopped, looked back at me and gave me a look that read 'thank you for saving me, aren't you gonna come with me?'"

He went into his day not liking the animals, but admits that "After this rescue, my opinion changed about raccoons."

"They're just like everyone else in Toronto, trying to fend for themselves. This city is very expensive and hard to survive in, not just for humans but also for raccoons. So I respect them a bit more now and appreciate their grind and hustle in trying to get their next meal."

He's since been keeping a close eye on the social media reaction, remarking that "TikTok has named this raccoon the Toronto bandit or the Toronto dumpster bandit."

"When you guys posted the raccoon drinking [iced coffee] and living its best life the other day, I couldn't help but laugh and think that was the bandit I saved."

Lead photo by

Alex Kandaharian


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Adorable video shows Toronto man rescue a raccoon trapped in a dumpster