Report of Tiger Running Amok in Manhattan Turns Out to Be Raccoon: NYPD

They do both have black markings

What to Know

  • Emergency radio correspondence indicated there was a report of a "tiger" running in Harlem streets shortly before 8:30 a.m. Thursday
  • News 4 crews were at the scene in about 15 minutes reporting no sighting of a tiger nor any police
  • Police said shortly thereafter they did find an animal -- but it was a raccoon, not a tiger

A report of a tiger running amok in the streets of Manhattan briefly caused a social media frenzy early Thursday, as reporters scrambled to find photos of the ferocious feline and warn civilians to stay out of the area. 

Turns out, it was a raccoon. 

The NYPD got a call about the rogue "tiger" near 166th Street and St. Nicholas Avenue in Harlem around 8:30 a.m. News 4 crews were at the scene in about 15 minutes reporting no sighting of a tiger nor any police.

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Shortly thereafter, police confirmed there was indeed an animal sighting, but it was just a raccoon.

Hey, they both have black markings on their bodies. Easily confused. Or not.

Some Twitter users described being awoken by a Citizen App notification that said, "Police are responding to unconfirmed reports of a loose tiger running around the street." It spiraled quickly from there.

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"You're gonna tell me my roommates and I (in Williamsburg, Brooklyn) were all rudely awakened bY a helicopter overhead because some idiot in Washington Heights (Manhattan) MISTOOK A RACOON FOR A MF TIGER?!?!" tweeted @Shwax. 

"Not my typical Thursday morning," tweeted New York Times reporter Christine Hauser. "When trying to confirm a report that there was a tiger on the loose in Upper Manhattan, an inundated @NYPDnews spokesman answers phone with this line: "It's not a tiger, it's a raccoon."

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There is precedent for a tiger running amok on Manhattan streets — in the fictional world of Jonathan Lethem's “Chronic City.”

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