Just because you give certain wildlife cute little nicknames like "trash panda", doesn't make them any less terrifying at 5:00 am, especially when it's still pretty dark out.

As a United States Marine Corps veteran, I normally consider myself to be pretty brave, however, a couple of mornings ago, I did have a raccoon scary the heck out of me.

On the average workday, I get to the station around 5:00 am, which means it's usually still pitch black outside. While on my way into the building, I heard rumblings from the dumpster as I passed by it.

Now, it's worth noting that I walk by this dumpster literally every morning for the last ten years, so the sound coming from inside as I walked past made me jump a good foot straight up.

As my hands were full (briefcase, laptop, smartphone, energy drink, keys, and some form of unhealthy breakfast), I decided to hotfoot it inside and wait until the sun was fully out to investigate.

After about an hour, I went outside and peered in the dumpster to see this little guy (gal?) peacefully sleeping inside.

Raccoon in Townsquare Casper dumpster
DJ Nyke - Townsquare Media
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My hypothesis is that the raccoon crawled up the railing to get inside the dumpster to find food, but was then unable to get out, as the garbage wasn't stacked high enough and there was nothing else inside the little creature could use to climb out.

While I was trying to figure out a scientific way to get the animal out (without it biting me and possibly giving me rabies), my coworkers found a couple of old metal posts and put them in the dumpster.

He/she/it then carefully exited the premises with no further incident.

I highly doubt it realized how close to a heart attack it gave me that morning, but no harm, no foul. I'm glad it got to safety.

That wasn't the first time an animal had got stuck inside one of the station's dumpster, but that was the definitely the first time it startled me.

No matter how brave you think you are, there's nothing quite like Wyoming wildlife to quickly put you back in your place.

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