Nation & World

The ‘staggering’ raccoons were acting rabid, but they were just drunk, W.Va. cops say

Dallas the raccoon can’t hide his drunkenness very well. Neither can at least one other “masked bandit.”

At least two raccoons found themselves a little disoriented and were staggering around in a West Virginia town, according to a Facebook post from the Milton Police Department.

And when you’re a raccoon, those alcohol side effects don’t just make you look drunk. They make it look like you have rabies.

That’s why people started calling police to report the “suspected rabid raccoons” over two days this week.

On Monday, the city street department helped police capture one of the possibly rabid critters, the post says. Then, on Tuesday, “several neighborhood residents” helped an officer take another “masked bandit into custody.”

That’s when Milton police learned that these two four-legged critters — one of them police named Dallas — weren’t rabid.

Rather, they appeared to be drunk, police said. Drunk on fermented crab apples, that is, according to WSAZ.

Dallas and the other raccoon were “released near the woods unharmed” after making intoxicated public appearances, police said.

This isn’t the first time animals have gotten drunk on fermenting fruits.

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In October, Minnesota birds were getting “tipsy,” McClatchy previously reported. They were “acting confused” and flying into cars after eating fermented berries.

When fermentation occurs, “starch in the frozen berries is converted to sugar, and when they thaw again, yeast can enter the fruit and accelerate fermentation, yielding alcohol,” the Twin Cities Pioneer Press reported.