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'Drunk' raccoons spotted stumbling around in Canadian neighborhood

FOX News logo FOX News 9/11/2019 Nicole Darrah
a man standing in front of a building: The Volusia County sheriff's office had to open the machine up, allowing the critter to escape. © The Volusia County sheriff's office had to open the machine up, allowing the critter to escape.

Seemingly "drunk" raccoons have been stumbling throughout a Canadian neighborhood in recent days — and the reason may surprise you.

Residents of Stittsville, a suburb of Ottawa, Ontario, have spotted the raccoons — which are nocturnal creatures — not acting like their usual selves.

"He couldn't really move," one resident, Emily Rodgers, told CBC News of a raccoon she saw on Sept. 2. "He was dragging his legs, he was wobbling, having a hard time standing up. You could tell something was wrong with him for sure."

The day before, another resident, Julie Fong, said a local officer requested permission to enter her backyard, as there had been concern about a raccoon in the area that seemed drunk.

"So that's why this guy was kind of sleeping it off under our deck. There was a drunk raccoon under our deck," Fong said, adding her husband saw the creature earlier that day. "He said it was sort of stumbling along, just looking completely off, [like] somebody who may have had a few extra libations would be walking," she said.

But the raccoons probably aren't drunk off alcohol, according to experts, who say fermented fruit is most likely at fault.

Police officers in West Virginia last November kept getting called about "suspected rabid raccoons" that turned out "to be drunk on crab apples" — and it's not as unusual as it may seem.

It's possible for animals to get “drunk” off fermented berries and other food items. For instance, residents in a Minnesota city last fall called authorities with several reports of birds crashing into windows and ramming into cars. It turned out that the birds were inebriated; reportedly intoxicated by berries that had fermented sooner than usual due to an early frost.


Don Moore, associate director of the Smithsonian National Zoo, told National Geographic in 2015 he's witnessed the effects of animals eating fermented fruit. He said animals often get "sleepy" and "stumble-y" from it, and noted it's common in areas that grow apples.

Experts encourage anyone who spots a "drunk" raccoon, or other animals, to contact animal control.

Fox News' Madeline Farber contributed to this report.


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