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

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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

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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

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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.

Amazon's Under-the-Radar Coupon Page Features Deals on Home Goods, Electronics, and Groceries

Stock Catalog, Flickr // CC BY 2.0
Stock Catalog, Flickr // CC BY 2.0

This article contains affiliate links to products selected by our editors. Mental Floss may receive a commission for purchases made through these links.

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12 Very Haunted Roads

Don't get caught on these roads at night.
Don't get caught on these roads at night.
Pixabay, Pexels // CC0

What could be scarier than driving down a dark road at night? Driving down one of these dark roads at night. If any of the below routes—compiled by Commercial Truck Trader—pop up on your GPS this spooky season, consider finding an alternate way to your destination.

1. Jeremy Swamp Road // Southbury, Connecticut

Jeremy Swamp Road and several other streets in southwestern Connecticut are said to be frequented by Melon Heads, creatures that, according to the New England Historical Society, live in wooded areas and “look like small humanoids with oversized heads” that “survive by eating small animals, stray cats and human flesh, usually the flesh of teenagers.” Some say the Melon Heads are the result of inbreeding, with others theorizing that they escaped from local hospitals or asylums.

2. Owaissa Street // Appleton, Wisconsin

Legend has it that every full moon, a tombstone in Owaissa Street’s Riverside Cemetery bleeds. The tombstone belongs to Kate Blood, who, according to some stories, was either a witch who killed her husband and children with an ax, or was a woman murdered by her husband. (Local historians, however, say Blood died of tuberculosis.) Visitors also report seeing a creepy hooded figure roaming the cemetery.

3. Prospector’s Road // Garden Valley, California

Driving along this hilly, three-mile stretch of road is not for the faint of heart: It’s supposedly haunted by the spirit of a tall, bearded prospector who was murdered after he drunkenly bragged about his claim. According to Weird California, those who run into the entity—who is supposedly responsible for many an accident along the road—will hear him whisper: “Get off my claim.”

4. Sandhill Road // Las Vegas, Nevada

The flood tunnels beneath Sandhill Road between Olive Avenue and Charleston Boulevard in Las Vegas are said to be haunted by a dead couple. People have also reported hearing creepy, ghostly moans coming from the darkness and being chased by the specter of an old woman.

5. Bloody Bride Bridge // Steven’s Point, Wisconsin

Drivers on Highway 66 in Steven’s Point, Wisconsin, might get a glimpse of the ghost of a bride who was supposedly killed on her wedding day in a car accident on the bridge. Legend has it that if those drivers park on the bridge at midnight and look in their rearview mirrors, they’ll see the bride, in her bloody wedding dress, sitting in the backseat.

6. Boy Scout Lane // Steven’s Point, Wisconsin

Also located in Steven’s Point, the isolated Boy Scout Lane is supposedly where a group of Boy Scouts died, although no one quite seems to know why or how—some say they were killed while camping when their fire raged out of control; others say it was a bus accident; and some say they simply disappeared. Whatever the reason, visitors to the area now say they can hear footsteps and calls for help coming from the woods.

7. Route 66 // Villa Ridge, Missouri

Located on Route 66, the abandoned Tri-County Truck-Stop is a hotbed of ghostly activity. Before the restaurant shut down, employees reported hearing strange noises, seeing apparitions, and watching as coffee pots were thrown across the room by invisible forces.

8. Stagecoach Road // Marshall, Texas

On this red dirt road—which once served as a route for stagecoaches traveling to the town from Shreveport, Louisiana—paranormal investigators have snapped photos of ghosts and had the batteries of the equipment they were using to investigate drain inexplicably. Others who have driven down the road and turned off their cars said they felt a presence stepping on the bumper; when they went home, they discovered tiny handprints in the red dust on the back of the car. The road is supposedly haunted by the spirit of a Voodoo priestess.

9. Route 666 // Douglas, Arizona

The road formerly known as Route 666 may now be part of Route 491 [PDF], but some still call it The Devil’s Highway. Drivers traveling on this section of highway have recounted being pursued by a pack of terrifying dogs or a phantom semi-truck, among other strange and scary encounters.

10. Goatman's Bridge // Denton, Texas

Old Alton Bridge is an iron-truss structure built in 1884 that got its unsettling moniker from local legends. Fifty years after the bridge was built, a successful Black goat farmer named Oscar Washburn—who went by the nickname “Goatman”—put a sign on the bridge that read “This Way to the Goatman.” The sign incensed the Ku Klux Klan, who hanged Washburn on the bridge. But according to Legends of America, “when they looked over to make sure he was dead, they could see only the rope. Washburn was gone and was never seen again.” Some report seeing a man herding goats across the bridge, which was decommissioned around 2001, while others say they’ve seen a half-man, half-goat creature there.

11. Route 375 // Rachel, Nevada

Entertaining the idea of a close encounter? Drivers on this road—which runs near the Nevada Test and Training Range, home of Area 51—have reported hundreds of strange, potentially alien sightings from Alamo to Tonopah, leading to the route’s nickname: “The Extraterrestrial Highway.”

12. Ortega Ridge Road // Montecito, California

This road is haunted by Las Ters Hermanas, or The Three Sisters—three nuns who, it’s said, were murdered more than a century ago. They can be seen standing on the side of the road, arms crossed, their eyes bright blue and their faces glowing.