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


photonaj/iStock via Getty Images

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.

This Innovative Cutting Board Takes the Mess Out of Meal Prep

There's no way any of these ingredients will end up on the floor.
There's no way any of these ingredients will end up on the floor.
TidyBoard, Kickstarter

Transferring food from the cutting board to the bowl—or scraps to the compost bin—can get a little messy, especially if you’re dealing with something that has a tendency to roll off the board, spill juice everywhere, or both (looking at you, cherry tomatoes).

The TidyBoard, available on Kickstarter, is a cutting board with attached containers that you can sweep your ingredients right into, taking the mess out of meal prep and saving you some counter space in the process. The board itself is 15 inches by 20 inches, and the container that fits in its empty slot is 14 inches long, 5.75 inches wide, and more than 4 inches deep. Two smaller containers fit inside the large one, making it easy to separate your ingredients.

Though the 4-pound board hangs off the edge of your counter, good old-fashioned physics will keep it from tipping off—as long as whatever you’re piling into the containers doesn’t exceed 9 pounds. It also comes with a second set of containers that work as strainers, so you can position the TidyBoard over the edge of your sink and drain excess water or juice from your ingredients as you go.

You can store food in the smaller containers, which have matching lids; and since they’re all made of BPA-free silicone, feel free to pop them in the microwave. (Remove the small stopper on top of the lid first for a built-in steaming hole.)

tidyboard storage containers
They also come in gray, if teal isn't your thing.
TidyBoard

Not only does the bamboo-made TidyBoard repel bacteria, it also won’t dull your knives or let strong odors seep into it. In short, it’s an opportunity to make cutting, cleaning, storing, and eating all easier, neater, and more efficient. Prices start at $79, and it’s expected to ship by October 2020—you can find out more details and order yours on Kickstarter.

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

17 Surprising Facts About Frida Kahlo

Guillermo Kahlo, Wikimedia Commons // Public Domain
Guillermo Kahlo, Wikimedia Commons // Public Domain

The life and work of Frida Kahlo—one of Mexico's greatest painters—were both defined by pain and perseverance. Getting to know how Kahlo lived provides greater insight into her masterful paintings, which are rich with detail and personal iconography.

1. Frida Kahlo was born in the same house she died.

Frida Kahlo was born on July 6, 1907, in a building nicknamed “La Casa Azul” for its vivid blue exterior. There, she was raised by her mother, Matilde, and encouraged by her photographer father, Guillermo. Years later, she and her husband, Mexican muralist Diego Rivera, made it their home as well. And on July 13, 1954, Kahlo died there at age 47.

2. Frida Kahlo's beloved home is now a museum.

Casa Azul is also known as The Frida Kahlo Museum. As a tribute to Kahlo, Rivera donated the house in 1958 as well as all of the artwork, created by both him and Kahlo, that it contained. Much of the interior has been preserved just the way Kahlo had it in the 1950s, making the space a popular tourist attraction that allows visitors a look at her work, life, and personal artifacts, including the urn that holds her ashes.

3. A third of Frida Kahlo's paintings were self-portraits.

Kahlo folded in symbols from her Mexican culture and allusions to her personal life in order to create a series of 55 surreal and uniquely revealing self-portraits. Of these, she famously declared, "I paint myself because I am so often alone, because I am the subject I know best."

4. A surreal accident had a big impact on Frida Kahlo's life.

On September 17, 1925, an 18-year-old Kahlo boarded a bus with her boyfriend Alex Gómez Arias, only to be forever marred when it crossed a train's path. Recalling the tragedy, Arias described the bus as "burst(ing) into a thousand pieces," with a handrail ripping through Kahlo's torso.

He later recounted, "Something strange had happened. Frida was totally nude. The collision had unfastened her clothes. Someone in the bus, probably a house painter, had been carrying a packet of powdered gold. This package broke, and the gold fell all over the bleeding body of Frida. When people saw her, they cried, ‘La bailarina, la bailarina!’ With the gold on her red, bloody body, they thought she was a dancer."

5. Frida Kahlo’s path to painting began with that collision.

The accident broke Kahlo's spinal column, collarbone, ribs, and pelvis, fractured her right leg in 11 places, and dislocated her shoulder. Those severe injuries left her racked with pain for the rest of her life, and frequently bedbound. But during these times, Kahlo picked up her father's paintbrush. Her mother helped arrange a special easel that would allow her to work from bed. Of her life's hardships, Kahlo once proclaimed, “At the end of the day, we can endure much more than we think we can.”

6. Frida Kahlo once dreamed of being a doctor.

As a child, Kahlo contracted polio, which withered her right leg and sparked an interest in the healing power of medicine. Unfortunately, the injuries from the train accident forced the teenager to abandon her plans to study medicine.

7. Frida Kahlo’s poor health shaped her art.

In the course of her life, Kahlo would undergo 30 surgeries, including the eventual amputation of her foot due to a case of gangrene. She explored her frustrations with her body's frailty in paintings like The Broken Column, which centers on her shattered spine, and Without Hope, which dramatically depicted a period where her doctor prescribed force-feeding. On the back of the latter, she wrote, "Not the least hope remains to me ... Everything moves in time with what the belly contains."

8. Frida Kahlo didn’t view herself as a surrealist.

She rejected the label, saying, "They thought I was a Surrealist, but I wasn’t. I never painted dreams. I painted my own reality."

9. Frida Kahlo’s tumultuous marriage sparked more pain and paintings.

Frida Kahlo with Diego Rivera and a pet dog, Mexico City, 1940s
Frida Kahlo with Diego Rivera and a pet dog, Mexico City, 1940s
Hulton Archive/Getty Images

When Kahlo met Rivera, she was a student and he was already a father of four and on his way to his second divorce. Despite a 20-year age difference, the pair quickly fell for each other, spurring Rivera to leave his second wife and wed Kahlo in 1929.

From there, they were each other's greatest fans and supporters when it came to their art. But their 10-year marriage was wrought with fits of temper and infidelities on both sides. They divorced in 1939, only to remarry a year later. Paintings like Self-Portrait with Thorn Necklace and Hummingbird, The Two Fridas, and The Love Embrace of the Universe boldly illustrated their relationship from Kahlo's perspective.

10. Frida Kahlo grieved privately and publicly for the children she never had.

Modern doctors believe that the bus accident had irreparably damaged Kahlo's uterus, which made pregnancies impossible to carry to term. In 1932, she painted Henry Ford Hospital, a provocative self-portrait that marks one of several devastating miscarriages she suffered.

The piece would be displayed to the world in a 1938 gallery show. But Kahlo kept private personal letters to her friend, Doctor Leo Eloesser, in which she wrote, "I had so looked forward to having a little Dieguito that I cried a lot, but it's over, there is nothing else that can be done except to bear it.'" This letter, along with others from their decades-long exchange, were released in 2007, having been hidden for almost 50 years by a patron worried about their contents.

11. Frida Kahlo once arrived to an art show in an ambulance.

In 1953, toward the end of her short life, the painter was overjoyed about her first solo exhibition in Mexico. But a hospital stay threatened her attendance. Against doctors' orders, Kahlo made an incredible entrance, pulling up in an ambulance as if in a limousine.

12. Frida Kahlo is rumored to have had several famous lovers.

When she wasn't recovering from surgery or confined to a recuperation bed, Kahlo was full of life, relishing the chance to dance, socialize, and flirt. While American sculptor Isamu Noguchi was in Mexico City for the creation of his History as Seen from Mexico in 1936, he and Kahlo began a passionate affair that evolved into a life-long friendship.

Three years later, while visiting Paris, the bisexual painter struck up a romance with the city's "Black Pearl" entertainer Josephine Baker. And many have speculated that the artist and activist also bedded Marxist revolutionary Leon Trotsky, while he and his wife Natalia stayed in Kahlo's family home after they were granted asylum in Mexico in 1936.

13. Frida Kahlo was fiercely proud of her heritage.

Though she'd lived in New York, San Francisco, and Paris, Kahlo was always drawn back to her hometown, Mexico City. She favored traditional Mexican garb, the long colorful skirts she was known for, and the Huipile blouses of Mexico’s matriarchal Tehuantepec society. Perhaps most telling, she told the press she was born in 1910, cutting three years off her age so she could claim the same birth year as the Mexican Revolution.

14. Frida Kahlo had several exotic pets.

Casa Azul boasts a lovely garden where Kahlo had her own animal kingdom. Along with a few Mexican hairless Xoloitzcuintli (a dog breed that dates back to the ancient Aztecs), Kahlo owned a pair of spider monkeys named Fulang Chang and Caimito de Guayabal, which can be spotted in Self Portrait with Monkeys. She also cared for an Amazon parrot called Bonito, who would perform tricks if promised a pat of butter as a reward, a fawn named Granizo, and an eagle nicknamed Gertrudis Caca Blanca (a.k.a. Gertrude White Shit).

15. Frida Kahlo has emerged as a feminist icon.

Though in her time some dismissed this passionate painter as little more than "the wife of Master Mural Painter (Diego Rivera)," Kahlo's imaginative art drew acclaim from the likes of Pablo Picasso and film star Edward G. Robinson. After her death, the rise of feminism in the 1970s sparked a renewed interest in her work. Kahlo's reputation eclipsed Rivera's, and she grew to become one of the world's most famous painters.

Feminist theorists embrace Kahlo's deeply personal portraits for their insight into the female experience. Likewise, her refusal to be defined by others' definitions and the self-love shown in her proud capturing of her natural unibrow and mustache speak to modern feminist concerns over gender roles and body-positivity.

16. Frida Kahlo’s personal style has become a vibrant part of her legacy.

Frida's art and its influence were not simply spawned from the paint she put to canvas. Her distinctive personal style has proved influential in the world of fashion, inspiring designers like Raffaella Curiel, Maya Hansen, Jean Paul Gaultier, and Dolce & Gabbana. (In 2019, Vans even launched a collection of shoes featuring her work.)

17. Frida Kahlo's work is record-breaking.

On May 11, 2016, at the first auction to put a major Frida work up for sale in six years, her 1939 painting Dos desnudos en el bosque (La tierra misma) sold for over $8 million—the highest auction price then paid for any work by a Latin American artist.

This story was updated in 2020.