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Last Updated: Monday September 18 2006 06:35 GMT

'More weird animals' roaming UK

Crocodile

Pandas, wolves, eagles and a penguin are among the growing number of unusual animals seen wandering around Britain in the last year, says a report.

The Beastwatch UK survey recorded 5,931 sightings of big cats, 332 of wild boars and 3,389 of sharks since 2000, with numbers expected to rise.

The more unusual sightings include three pandas, 10 crocodiles and a chinchilla, which was in a post box.

Zoo thefts, climate change and animal escapes are blamed for the figures.

ANIMAL SIGHTINGS
5,931 big cats
3,389 sharks
332 wild boars
51 wallabies
43 snakes
13 dangerous spiders
13 racoons
10 crocodiles
7 wolves
4 eagles
3 pandas
2 scorpions
1 penguin
Mad behaviour

It's not just the amount of sightings that's odd, but the behaviour of the animals has been weird too.

Last year a deer was spotted swimming a mile and a half across a very busy shipping lane to get to a new home.

And this September a family of squirrels cut the power in 10,380 homes in Exeter after munching on a power cable.

Chris Mullins, founder of Beastwatch UK, said: "It is clear that the UK contains far more exotic wild animals than the British public could ever imagine."



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