Drunk raccoons put into custody, fermented fruit to blame
Thursday, November 15, 2018, 4:19 PM - Concerned residents in Milton, West Virginia called the police to report what seemed like a case of rabid raccoons, and were later informed that their strange behavior was due to their drunken stupor.
While it is typical for raccoons to knock over trash bins and scurry around in odd corners, the residents noticed that the raccoons were staggering in a disoriented manner and falling out of trees.
The Milton Police Department addressed the incident in a recent Facebook post and explained that the raccoons' belligerence was due to consumption of fermented crab apples that had recently fallen to the ground.
With help from the local street department, the police were able to capture two raccoons in separate incidences and were held in custody before they were released back into the woods unharmed.
Raccoons aren't the only animal that have recently caused a boozy ruckus - in early October of this year the police department in Gilbert, Minnesota alerted the community of disoriented birds flying into cars and windows due to fermented berries. The officials blamed the copious amounts of fermenting berries on the early frost this region experienced, which expedited the fermenting process.
The clumsy behaviours of West Virginia's intoxicated raccoons differ from the other escapades of raccoons from a few states over. Over a number of days, millions on social media cheered on a determined raccoon that embarked on scaling a Minnesota skyscraper that reached over 20 stories tall.
In a shorter but arguably more dramatic adventure, this raccoon abandoned mission mid-climb then calmly scampered off, seemingly uninjured.
North of the border, the dietary choices of raccoons haven't caused them to stumble and sway, but have caused high blood sugar. Reports from Ontario researchers this June indicated that local raccoons have overly indulged in the high fat, high salt food disposed of in dumpsters and have become diabetic.
A fat North American Raccoon in Ragunan Zoo, South Jakarta, Indonesia. Credit: Wikimedia Commons
To reduce the chances of attracting raccoons on to your property it is best to secure trash bins with locking lids or bungee cords, clean up fallen fruit or overripe produce, and never leave pet food out overnight. Raccoons are closely associated with rabies and it is safest to avoid all contact and immediately seek medical attention if you are bitten.