11 Times Drunk Animals Have Wreaked Havoc

Christopher Moswitzer/iStock via Getty Images
Christopher Moswitzer/iStock via Getty Images

It's not completely uncommon to stumble across a news piece about an animal getting drunk and causing a little havoc in a small town or a campsite. But these critters probably aren't trying to imbibe on purpose—more than likely, they earned their buzz by getting into some beer cans that were left outdoors or accidentally nibbling on fermented berries or apples. Intentional or not, the stories are usually entertaining, resulting in a few startled townspeople getting their 15 minutes of fame in the local paper and a raccoon or a moose that has to nurse a hangover the day after. Here are just a few of our favorite stories about drunken animals or insects from over the years.

1. Raccoons

Two raccoons sitting in front of an apple.
christiannafzger/iStock via Getty Images

In early September 2019, residents in Ottawa, Canada, spotted a few raccoons staggering around in the daylight and grew panicky enough to call the cops. "[One raccoon] couldn't really move. He was dragging his legs, he was wobbling, having a hard time standing up," one resident told CBC News. "You could tell something was wrong with him for sure."

As it turns out, these normally nocturnal animals weren't dangerous or rabid; they had simply gotten drunk from eating too many fermented crab apples. Over the next few days, the sight of drunken raccoons stumbling around and passing out on people's property became all too common.

“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,” Michael Runtz, a biology professor at Ottawa's Carleton University, told CBC News. He suggested to leave the critters alone and let them sleep off their hangover.

2. Bears

In 2004, at Baker Lake Resort in Washington State, NBC News reported that a black bear drank 36 cans of local Rainier beer and one can of Busch (which the surprisingly snobbish bear was not a fan of) after breaking into a camper's cooler. Fish and Wildlife agents found the bear passed out, and when it awoke, it climbed up a tree only to fall asleep again. The next day, the agents humanely trapped the bear using doughnuts, honey, and, yes, more Rainier, and relocated it away from the campsite.

3., 4., and 5. Birds


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In October 2018, Gilbert, Minnesota, residents reported that robins and other birds seemed to be inebriated, because they kept flying into windows, acting confused, crashing into car windshields, and just generally flopping around. The story about these seemingly drunk birds soon went viral, even though experts stated that it was a little early in the season for the berries that the birds were eating to become fermented. The town’s police chief, Ty Techar, told The New York Times that while he couldn’t find definitive proof they were actually drunk, he saw enough for his law enforcement instincts to kick in. “I didn’t have a chance to give them a Breathalyzer test,” he said. “But you can tell.”

In November 2014, Bohemian waxwing birds in Canada’s Yukon Territory kept stuffing themselves with fermented mountain ash berries, resulting in some erratic flights around town. Meghan Larivee, who worked for Environment Yukon’s animal health unit, transformed a plastic hamster cage into an avian drunk tank so the boozy birds could sleep it off. “We just make sure that they’re comfortable and quiet, and then hopefully they get to be released,” Larivee told PRI. But before they were released, they had to pass the bird equivalent of a roadside sobriety test.

In July 2018, Metro reported that more than 30 seagulls on the beaches near Somerset, England, got drunk on either leftover booze humans abandoned or from ingesting a grain from nearby breweries. Either way, for two weeks RSPCA (Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals) centers in Somerset, Devon, and Dorset collected the alcohol-reeking birds, one of which drunkenly vomited on a firefighter who was carrying it to get treatment.

6. Pigs

In 2013, the Independent reported a feral pig stole and drank three six-packs of beer from a riverside campsite in Port Hedland, Australia. While intoxicated, the pig ransacked trash bins and then supposedly picked a fight with cow. The pig then took a swim in a river and slept off its drunkenness under a tree.

7. Moose

A portrait of a Colorado Bull Moose in the wilderness.
Matt Dirksen/iStock via Getty Images

In Anchorage, Alaska, a moose named Buzzwinkle became famous for causing chaos during the 2007 holiday season, the Anchorage Daily News reported. It started when he got his antlers tangled in a set of LED Christmas lights that adorned a public holiday tree display. When he got himself free, he trotted through traffic near Town Square Park, still dragging some of the lights behind him. Then, he stopped off at the courtyard at Bernie’s Bungalow Lounge where he indulged on some fermented crabapples (notice a trend here?) and earned himself a buzz. By this point, he appeared disoriented, just staring into the void and snorting out steam. Since he wasn’t acting unruly, the folks at Bernie’s let him stay in the fenced-in courtyard until he sobered up.

8. Wasps

In August 2018, thousands of wasps got drunk on the nectar of fermented fruit and cider from beer gardens in the UK. Wasps can be dangerous on their own, but a drunken wasp? Watch out. The wasps were in search of sugar—by the summer, work and food are scarce for wasps—and just one sip of cider or beer can get them sloshed. “Wasps can’t handle their booze, so they get tanked-up and fighty—like lager louts,” pest control expert Shane Jones said.

9. Elk

In 2013, the local news in Sweden reported that five drunken, belligerent elk were preventing a resident from entering his home. The culprit was again fermented apples, which had fallen from a tree on the homeowner's property. When police arrived, the elk finally decided to leave on their own terms. And in order to avoid future incidents, the police advised the man to remove the fruit from his property. This was the second time elk had tormented the unfortunate homeowner: A couple of years prior, a drunken elk chased his wife from the yard into the house.

10. Squirrels

Red Squirrels at the Haweswater Hotel.
Paul Taylor/iStock via Getty Images

In 2015, in Worcestershire, England, a squirrel broke into the private Honeybourne Railway Club. The secretary of the club, Sam Boulter, told BBC he found glasses tipped over, bottles smashed, and money scattered around the bar. Who could do such a thing? Then he saw a woozy squirrel emerge from behind a bag of potato chips.

“I’ve never seen a drunk squirrel before. He was sozzled and looked a bit worse for wear, shall we say,” Boulter said. He surmised the squirrel ran across the bar and accidentally turned on the tap. It’s unclear if the squirrel was indeed drunk, but it probably drank the beer thinking it was water. Though the squirrel caused about $370 in damages, it wasn’t forced to pay its tab—Boulter caught it and released it out of the window.

11. Monkeys

St. Kitts in the Caribbean is home to drunk vervet monkeys that finish cocktails vacationers leave behind; some even steal the drinks right from these tourists' hands. The monkeys used to get their sugar fix from sugarcane, but the industry has collapsed, thus forcing them to roam into tourist areas. In fact, BBC reported the monkeys—even the sober ones—are giving farmers, residents, and tourists headaches.

All That’s Interesting reported a research project studied the effects of booze on these monkeys. They gave alcohol to 1000 green vervet monkeys and discovered their drinking habits can be divided into four categories: binge drinker, steady drinker, social drinker, and teetotaler. Most of the monkeys landed in the social category, but 5 percent got classified as “seriously abusive binge drinkers,” which means they get drunk and start fights and drink until they pass out.

The Definitive Guide to All the Cats in Cats

James Corden, Laurie Davidson, and Francesca Hayward star in Tom Hooper's Cats (2019).
James Corden, Laurie Davidson, and Francesca Hayward star in Tom Hooper's Cats (2019).
Universal Pictures

Regardless of whether you were impressed, confused, or downright frightened by the trailer for Tom Hooper’s upcoming film adaptation of Andrew Lloyd Webber’s classic musical Cats, it’s safe to say that the star-studded cast and “digital fur technology” generated strong reactions all around. And, if you didn’t grow up listening to the soundtrack or watching performers in the 1998 film version purr and prance in furry, feline bodysuits, your shock is completely understandable.

Cats is light on plot, heavy on characters, and sprinkled with words that T.S. Eliot made up for his 1939 poetry collection Old Possum’s Book of Practical Cats, the basis for the musical. To familiarize yourself with all the eccentrically named cats—and find out who’s portraying them in the film—here’s a comprehensive list of every "romantical, pedantical, critical, parasitical, allegorical, metaphorical, statistical, and mystical" cat you’ll meet.

Admetus

admetus cats film 1998
Really Useful Films

Played by: Eric Underwood

Admetus is a ginger and white chorus cat with no spoken lines, but plenty of strong dancing sequences—perfect for former Royal Ballet soloist Eric Underwood. Though some musical productions have renamed Admetus as Plato (both names are mentioned in “The Naming of Cats”), the film will feature them as two separate characters.

Alonzo

Played by: Bluey Robinson

Alonzo is another chorus cat, identifiable by the black patches of fur on his face and the black-and-white stripes on his head. Apart from his ensemble appearances, he has intermittent solo lines and also assists Munkustrap during the fight against Macavity. Since singer/songwriter Bluey Robinson will portray him in the film, it’s possible that Alonzo will dance less than he has in stage productions.

Asparagus, the Theatre Cat

Played by: Sir Ian McKellen

Nicknamed “Gus,” this elderly, trembling tabby has an impressive acting history, which he recounts at length during his song (along with a few disparaging comments about how the theater isn’t what it once was, and kittens these days aren’t properly trained). Who better to play one of the Jellicles’ most well-respected thespians than one of the humans' most well-respected thespians, Sir Ian McKellen?

Bombalurina

Played by: Taylor Swift

Though Bombalurina is only mentioned by name once (in “The Naming of Cats”), she’s pretty hard to miss: the slinky, red-coated cat helps introduce Jennyanydots, the Rum Tum Tugger, Grizabella, Bustopher Jones, and Macavity. She most often sings with Demeter, her duet partner for “Macavity the Mystery Cat.”

Bustopher Jones

Played by: James Corden

Known as “the Brummell of cats,” this black-and-white, epicurean dandy frequents gentlemen’s clubs, wears white spats, and weighs a whopping 25 pounds. Jones’s genial manner endears him to just about everyone—not unlike James Corden.

Cassandra

cassandra in 1998's cats film
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Played by: Mette Towley

With her sleek brown coat and her regal, mysterious manner, Cassandra seems like she might’ve been worshipped by ancient Egyptians in a past life. You might recognize Mette Towley, a member of Pharrell’s dance group, The Baes, from her appearances in 2019’s Hustlers and Rihanna’s “Lemon” music video—and you can be sure that she’ll uphold Cassandra’s legacy as one of the most eye-catching chorus cats.

Coricopat and Tantomile

Played by: Jaih Betote and Zizi Strallen

These striped twin tabby cats always move in unison and boast psychic abilities. Though the roles are sometimes cut from theatrical productions, we’ll get to see them in the film, played by hip hop dancer Jaih Betote and Zizi Strallen, best known for her work as Mary Poppins in the recent West End revival.

Demeter

demeter in 1998's cats film
Really Useful Films

Played by: Daniela Norman

This multicolored, slightly skittish cat usually duets with Bombalurina, and together they perform “Macavity the Mystery Cat” in full. It’s often implied that Demeter has a complicated romantic past with Macavity, who tries to abduct her during his attack. British ballet dancer Daniela Norman will star opposite Taylor Swift’s Bombalurina in the film, and you can also see her in Netflix’s upcoming ballet drama series Tiny Pretty Things.

Grizabella, the Glamour Cat

Played by: Jennifer Hudson

This aging starlet is now decrepit, depressed, and shamefully rejected by the rest of the Jellicles—think Sunset Boulevard’s Norma Desmond with more self-awareness and very raggedy fur. Even if the Cats original cast recording wasn’t the soundtrack for your childhood road trips, you might have heard Grizabella’s song “Memory;” it’s been covered by Barbra Streisand, Celine Dion, Barry Manilow, Glee’s Chris Colfer, and more. American Idol alum (and general ballad-belting powerhouse) Jennifer Hudson will bring her Academy Award-winning talents to the role of Grizabella in the film.

Growltiger and Griddlebone

Played by: Ray Winstone and Melissa Madden Gray

Growltiger, a rough-riding sea captain cat, and Griddlebone, his fluffy white lover, appear during “Growltiger’s Last Stand,” during which Gus reminisces about having played the part of Growltiger in a stage production long ago. The characters have been left out of some productions, including the 1998 film, but Hooper’s version will feature them, where they'll be played by British actor Ray Winstone and Australian performer Melissa Madden Gray (whose stage name, fittingly, is Meow Meow).

Jellylorum

Played by: Freya Rowley

Named after T.S. Eliot’s own cat, Jellylorum is a maternal calico who cares for Gus and also helps introduce Jennyanydots and Bustopher Jones. Though sometimes portrayed as older and more mature than some of the other cats, Freya Rowley (who performed as Tantomile on the UK tour of Cats) will likely bring a younger energy to the character.

Jennyanydots, the Old Gumbie Cat

Played by: Rebel Wilson

Jennyanydots is a goofy old tabby cat who lazes around all day and spends her nights teaching the basement vermin various household skills, etiquette, and performing arts. Under her tutelage, the mice learn to crochet, the cockroaches become helpful boy scouts, and the beetles form a tap-dancing troupe. Rebel Wilson is a perfect match for such a multifaceted, eccentric, and amusing gumbie cat (whatever gumbie is).

Macavity, the Mystery Cat

Played by: Idris Elba

The show’s main antagonist is a tall, thin criminal cat with sunken eyes and dusty ginger fur. While the Jellicles are plainly terrified of this “monster of depravity,” they also seem eerily impressed by his ability to elude capture and conviction. Historically, Macavity hasn’t done any speaking, singing, or dancing—he only shows up briefly to kidnap Old Deuteronomy during a rousing cat fight—but here’s hoping that Hooper has broadened the role for the film so we get to hear at least a good growl or two from Idris Elba.

Mr. Mistoffelees

Played by: Laurie Davidson

Laurie Davidson, who played Shakespeare in TNT’s Will, will take on the role of Mr. Mistoffelees, an affable tuxedo cat who peppers his magic tricks with plenty of high leaps and pizzazz. He’s generally beloved by the rest of the cats, and he also saves the day by conjuring Old Deuteronomy from wherever Macavity had hidden him.

Mungojerrie and Rumpleteazer

Played by: Danny Collins and Naoimh Morgan

These two roguish calicos describe themselves as “knockabout clowns, quick-change comedians, tightrope walkers, and acrobats.” They’re also partners in petty crime, notorious for smashing vases, stealing pearls, and generally wreaking havoc upon their posh family in Victoria Grove. British dancer Danny Collins will join Naoimh Morgan—who actually played Rumpleteazer in the Cats international tour—to bring the spirited rascals to life in the film.

Munkustrap

Played by: Robert Fairchild

Without Munkustrap, viewers would have little hope of understanding what’s actually happening in this vaguely plotted musical. Though there’s no song to introduce him, the striking, silver cat is still arguably the most important character: He describes the function of the Jellicle Ball, narrates the action as it unfolds, and leads the charge against Macavity’s attack. It takes a certified musical theater machine to play such an integral part, and Hooper has surely found that in Robert Fairchild, former New York City Ballet principal dancer and Tony Award nominee for An American in Paris.

Old Deuteronomy

Played by: Dame Judi Dench

In the gender-swapped role of our dreams, Dame Judi Dench will play Old Deuteronomy, the revered (usually male) town elder who chooses one lucky kitty at the annual Jellicle Ball to ascend to cat heaven, the Heaviside Layer, and be born again. It isn’t Dench’s first time in the junkyard: She was preparing to appear as both Jennyanydots and Grizabella in the original 1981 West End production of Cats when she snapped her Achilles tendon and had to pull out.

Plato and Socrates

Played by: Larry and Laurent Bourgeois (Les Twins)

Though Plato is a chorus cat mentioned in “The Naming of Cats” and included in some stage productions, Socrates was created specifically for Hooper’s film to make room for both halves of Les Twins, also known as Larry and Laurent Bourgeois. The French hip hop duo gained mainstream recognition after Beyoncé featured them in her 2018 Coachella set and subsequent Netflix concert film Homecoming.

Rum Tum Tugger

Played by: Jason Derulo

The Rum Tum Tugger is a perpetually fickle feline with a lot of rock-n’-roll flair and a pair of hips that he seems to have stolen from Mick Jagger himself. In addition to his own song, Tugger also sings “Mr. Mistoffelees” and features in a few other numbers. With Jason Derulo taking on the role for the film, there’s a good chance we’ll see a modernized, moonwalking version of this swoon-worthy cat.

Skimbleshanks, the Railway Cat

Played by: Steven McRae

Skimbleshanks is a charming Scottish cat who looks like a friendly tiger and ensures that all is in order on the night trains, which includes everything from patrolling for mice to reminding the guard to ask passengers how they like their tea. With his flaming red hair and graceful precision, Royal Ballet principal dancer Steven McRae definitely has a couple things in common with his character.

Syllabub/Sillabub/Jemima

Played by: Jonadette Carpio

This kitten’s name varies from production to production, but she’s usually characterized by her playful, innocent manner and her willingness to accept Grizabella when the other Jellicles try to shun her. Jonadette Carpio, Philippines native and member of the all-female Krump crew Buckness Personified, will bring her street dance background to the role in the film.

Victoria

Played by: Francesca Hayward

Though lithe, light-footed Victoria doesn’t sing any lines of her own in the original musical, her gleaming white coat and balletic dance solos still make her a standout—so it’s only fitting that Royal Ballet principal dancer Francesca Hayward will bring her to life in the film, where the role has been expanded into a main character. Andrew Lloyd Webber and Taylor Swift even collaborated on a new song called “Beautiful Ghosts” that Hayward will sing in the movie.

Miscellaneous Chorus Cats

Because theater companies vary in size and scope, certain chorus cats are sometimes omitted from productions—or members of the ensemble just aren’t assigned specific characters. At this point, Bill Bailey, Carbucketty, Electra, Etcetera, Peter, Pouncival, Quaxo, Rumpus Cat, Tumblebrutus, and Victor are all chorus cat names that haven’t been given to anybody in the film, but that doesn’t mean we won’t see extra cats in the shadows. According to Dance Spirit, Corey John Snide and Kolton Krause, who played Coricopat and Tumblebrutus on Broadway, respectively, have both been cast as ensemble members in Hooper’s film.

26 Fascinating Facts About Fossils

Mental Floss via YouTube
Mental Floss via YouTube

If you’ve never visited the Big Bone Room, you’re in luck. Check out our visit to New York City's American Museum of Natural History for a rundown on fossils, which provide invaluable insight into our understanding of history and its once-living occupants.

In this edition of "The List Show," editor-in-chief Erin McCarthy explains the ins and outs of excavation, fossil follies (extinct giants were a big miss), and the terrorizing prospect of a 3-foot-tall parrot.

For more episodes like this one, be sure to subscribe here!

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