When your security alarm goes off in the middle of the night, the first thing that comes to mind probably isn’t raccoons.
Picture it: you’re a small business owner. It’s 3 a.m. on a random Wednesday in September and you’re in bed, fast asleep. Suddenly, you’re awoken by a notification on your phone. Pushing through the haze of a dead sleep, you’re horrified to learn that it’s the alarm at your shop.
Your mind immediately jumps to the worst-case scenario. Someone has broken into your beloved business. It’s not a question of if something’s missing but how much. Did they break a window? A lock? How quickly can the police respond? Will they catch the culprit?
With bleary eyes, you look at the phone screen, hoping your security camera caught the face of the depraved criminal who would steal from a small business. You do a double take. Are those…raccoons?
This exact scenario happened to Jeanne Stevenson last week. The owner of Echo-Lit Art and Design on Washington Street West in Charleston, West Virginia, Jeanne could hardly believe her eyes as she watched a gang of six raccoons sneaking past the bushes outside of her shop.
On the footage captured by her security camera, you can clearly see the raccoons scoping out the front door before being scared away by the motion detector lights. Assuming the sudden light meant the arrival of humans, the raccoons scurried around the corner and away from the business.
Watching the video back, Jeanne Stevenson couldn’t help but laugh. “We think the little guys were trying to break in and see our new spooky art designs,” the shop owner joked to WTRF News, adding that the “art-seeking” raccoons were “quite the wake-up call.”
Unusual Raccoons Spark Rabies Scare, Turn Out to Be Day Drunk
Raccoons are nature’s literal party animals. They stay up all night roaming the town with their friends, eat heaps of (actual) trash food, and sometimes, they even get day drunk and horrify their human neighbors.
Raccoons are naturally nocturnal, meaning they’re only active at night. Seeing a raccoon during the day isn’t a good sign. And when that raccoon is stumbling its way down the street? It’s a good idea to stay far away. A staggering gait and erratic wandering are two of the tell-tale signs of rabies.
So when Ottawa resident Emily Rodgers spotted such a scene in her neighborhood, she didn’t hesitate to call animal control. “He couldn’t really move,” she recalled to CBC News. “He was dragging his legs, he was wobbling, having a hard time standing up. You could tell something was wrong with him for sure.”
As officers began to receive an influx of calls about “intoxicated looking” raccoons, their concern grew. Could a rabies outbreak be on the horizon?
In an unexpected, and absolutely hilarious, turn of events, however, biologists determined that the little guys weren’t sick at all. They were simply drunk.
It turns out the raccoons had been munching on fallen fruit that had fermented under the hot sun. All it took was an apple or two before the tiny day drinkers were too tipsy to walk straight. Good thing they weren’t driving.