Raccoons are known to love to go through the trash, but you rarely expect them to come away with booze. In a small town in Virginia, locals suspected two stumbling raccoons had rabies, little did they know they were drunk on fermented apples.
The Milton Police Department received reports of the drunken raccoon last week twice in the last week, while residents worried they may have rabies.
“Ptl Scarberry made his first apprehension today, taking this masked bandit into custody with the assistance of Sgt Collins and several neighborhood residents,” the Milton Police Department wrote in a Facebook post on Monday. “Ptl Withers caught one yesterday on Brickyard Ave with the help of the city street department. Today’s culprit was on Highland Ave and Mason Street and it was a community effort.”
West Virginia police thought these raccoons had rabies. But they were actually just drunk https://t.co/egyEGuKpID— TIME (@TIME) November 15, 2018
Apparently, the raccoons have been returned to the woods where they’re no doubt nursing a hangover. Officials have recommended that locals not approach these drunken raccoons and call the city’s non-emergency line to pick up these animals drunk on hard cider.
Yesterday, a representative for the Milton Police Department said it has captured three raccoons that be under the influence. One was barely able to move due to his condition.
The raccoons had apparently gotten drunk on fermented crab apples but appeared to be healthy. “It was up and mobile very quickly,” the representative said. “Sobered up, for lack of a better word.”
West Virginians called authorities to report "suspected rabid raccoons." But they weren't dangerous; they were just drunk. https://t.co/6mnJoIz9Me— The Washington Post (@washingtonpost) November 15, 2018
Raccoons are not the only ones with a state for liquor. In South Africa, local say elephants like to get drunk from the marula tree, enjoying the taste of the slightly fermented juice. In the 1830s, a French naturalist, Adulphe Delegorgue, mentioned stories from his Zulu guides of aggressive behavior in male elephants after they consumed the marula fruits. The elephant shares with man a fondness for a warming of the brain induced by fruit which has been fermented by the sun, Delegorgue said.
Wallabies also enjoy getting high on poppy plants in Australia or dogs reportedly get buzzed from the toxic substance secreted by cane toads. Also, vervet monkeys on the Carribean island of St. Kittsare known to sneak the colored cocktails of distracted tourists. Decades of research shows that animals can easily become addicted to substances easily available to them.
Interestingly, younger animals, like humans, like to imbibe more than older animals. Researchers, led by Jorge Juarez of Universidad Nacional Autonoma de Mexico, showed older monkeys refuse alcohol due to the stresses of monkey politics. Adults perhaps drink less because they are more aware of the social dynamics of the group. In other words monkeys tend to leave their days of heavy drinking and hangovers behind and start acting more mature.