People in Stittsville, Ontario got a kick out of the surge of drunk raccoons that were spotted wandering around town earlier this week. One resident came home on Monday to find a passed out raccoon on the grass in her backyard in broad daylight. The drunk Stittsville raccoons were probably overindulging on fermented fruit, a biology professor at Carleton University told CBC.
An earlier case of the drunk scavengers was also reported just a day before and resulted in an animal enforcement officer coming to a resident's doorstep on Sunday. The officer requested access to the backyard of after complaints were called in about the intoxicated raccoons.*
The officer mentioned to her that "at this time of year, raccoons and other wildlife will eat fermented fruit that fall on the ground and they become drunk as a result," she told CBC. "So that's why this guy was kind of sleeping it off under our deck."
There have been similar cases of drunken animals reported in the past, such as birds falling out of trees after overindulging on the fermenting fruit.
Michael Runtz, the Carleton University biology professor, says that birds are far more prone to this kind of behaviour than raccoons are. There seemed to be an exception to that theory this year. The raccoons were not only seen in people's backyards, but out in public as well.*
Emily Rodgers, who took a picture of one in her backyard, told the CBC that the little guy "couldn't really move. He was dragging his legs, he was wobbling, having a hard time standing up. You could tell something was wrong with him for sure," Rodgers said.
There has been an abundance of fruit on the trees this year, said Michael Runtz. "It's possible that some of the fruit is fermenting under the heat, and that these guys are getting a bit tipsy by eating that fermenting fruit."
*This article has been updated.