A "heartbroken" raccoon tried to wake up its dead friend on a Toronto street, according to a man who filmed a video of the incident that brought traffic to a standstill last month.

Alec Khachatrian told CBC News that he was riding his bike along Oakwood Avenue in the St. Clair Avenue West and Dufferin Street area on Jan. 30 when he heard an animal screeching and saw that traffic had come to a stop.

The Oakwood Village resident got off his bike and saw that one raccoon had been hit by a vehicle and was lying dead in the street, while a second raccoon was running around "in distress."

"I saw a man trying to chase a raccoon away," said Khachatrian, "but as soon as he was gone the raccoon went back to the dead one."

Khachatrian started filming the scene and as shown in the video above, the raccoon rushes to its dead "friend" and begins to shake it vigorously, as if to "wake it up."

"It wasn't as if it was trying to eat the other one," said Khachatrian. "That's my own interpretation, but it didn't seem aggressive — it was really really in distress."

Cars honking

Some people who commented on the YouTube video disagreed, though. A few wrote that it looked as though the second raccoon was trying to eat the dead raccoon.

While that was happening, Khachatrian said people started to gather at the scene to try to get the surviving raccoon out of the street. Cars were honking, because it was blocking traffic.

The video ends with the raccoon crossing to the other side of the street, but Khachatrian says it did go back to the dead one again after that. In fact, the raccoon kept going back for three to four minutes.

"It tried to come back several times, but people had a stick and starting kind of poking it with it, so it had to leave."

Khachatrian says he posted the video to YouTube because he'd never seen a raccoon act like this before, even though he sees them running around his neighbourhood every day.