'Rabid' Raccoons are Just Drunk, West Virginia Police Say

drunk raccoon
“We have had calls on suspected rabid raccoons twice over the last two days,” the police department said in a short Facebook post. “Turns out they appear to be drunk on crab apples.” Milton Police Department

The police department in a West Virginia town told its residents that the "rabid" raccoons they had reported seeing in their area in recent days were not rabid but drunk on fermented crab apples.

The Milton Police Department wrote on its social media profile that two officers had been forced to take a "masked bandit" into custody earlier this week with the assistance of several neighborhood residents.

It posted an image of a raccoon, which has been named Dallas, KCRA reported.

"We have had calls [of] suspected rabid raccoons twice over the last two days," the department said in a short Facebook post. "Turns out they appear to be drunk on crab apples."

It noted that another officer had caught a raccoon on Sunday with the help of the city street department. It asked the public not to touch the animals—just to report them.

"Today's culprit was on Mason Street, and it was a community effort," police said Monday. "Both raccoons were released near the woods unharmed. If you see a staggering and disoriented raccoon, please do not approach it. It could be sick so call us and we'll take care of it."

It wouldn't be the first time an animal has made the headlines for public intoxication. In 2015, footage of a squirrel seemingly drunk on fermented crab apples hit YouTube—and attracted millions of views. National Geographic has previously captured footage of drunken monkeys.

National Geographic said in its own 2015 article that research found that animals definitely did get drunk, and listed such examples as butterflies, moths and moose. Don Moore, associate director of the Smithsonian National Zoo in Washington, D.C., told National Geographic that deer that had eaten fermented apples in orchards were known to get "pretty sleepy, even stumbly."

Those who commented on the Milton Police Department's post seemed to appreciate the update. One person joked, "Public intoxication, pretty serious. Thanks for putting him back in the woods." Another Facebook user said, "I have one on my porch right now you can have."

In June, another raccoon grabbed the internet's attention when it scaled a Minnesota skyscraper. Footage of the furry daredevil captivated social media. It even got a parody Twitter account.

I made a big mistake. #mprraccoon

— The MPR Raccoon (@TheStPaulRacco1) June 12, 2018

Two months earlier, a woman from Wayne Township, Indianapolis, dialed 911 for help with her pet raccoon. It emerged that the animal had been exposed to marijuana and was showing symptoms of being high. The local fire department tweeted: "The raccoon had smoked too much weed. Yes! It happened! As much as we love animals, there wasn't much they could do."