Dead raccoon gains Internet fame after residents create elaborate roadside shrine

TORONTO, Canada -- A dead raccoon named Conrad has become the center of a bizarre social media phenomenon. As it waited for hours to be picked up by the city, a shrine was built around the creature on the side of the road, propelling it to Internet fame.

It all started early Thursday morning, when people began notifying 311 Toronto, the City of Toronto's contact center, about the roadkill. The center quickly responded that they were on the job.

As the day progressed, though, the raccoon remained on the street. After someone placed a piece of paper reading "#DeadRaccoonTO," the critter began getting attention on both the side of the road and online.

Things took a turn for the hilarious when Councillor Norm Kelly joined the party.

The dead raccoon phenomenon continued to bring people in Toronto and around the world together. The memorial continued to grow. Condolences were made, and songs were written on behalf of the fallen raccoon.

Someone in a nearby building posted a video of pedestrians approaching the raccoon. One was a city worker, the video uploader said, who took stock of the raccoon and then drove off.

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By nightfall, someone had added candles to the shrine.

At the end of the day, the roadkill was collected by city officials, freelance reporter Kris Pangilinan tweeted.

Pangilinan told ABC it had been there 18 hours.

"It's amazing how Torontoians can embrace roadkill and turn a city problem into some fun," he said. "We were sad to see it go, but it couldn't stay there forever."

Councillor Kelly told ABC that the city has a high volume of raccoons and that the city has a love-hate relationship with the animal.

"The events which unfolded under the hashtag #DeadRaccoonTO are a testament to Toronto's unique, humorous and loving character," he said. "A number of themes were prevalent on Twitter as the hashtag took off. The most notable would be dark humour, the tragic nature of death and the many aspects of Toronto living."

ABC has reached out to 311 Toronto for comment but has not heard back.
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