Youngstown, Ohio has been experiencing a unique problem with raccoons lately. They've been getting several calls from locals who have run into raccoons exhibiting "zombie-like" behavior.
According to local CBS affiliate WKBN-TV, over a dozen reports of raccoons acting strangely have been reported in the past couple of weeks. One of the reports involves resident Robert Coggeshall, who was outside playing with his dogs when he came across a raccoon, he told WKBN of his encounter.
I looked over there and got distracted because I saw a raccoon coming our way. He would stand up on his hind legs, which I’ve never seen a raccoon do before, and he would show his teeth and then he would fall over backward and go into almost a comatose condition.
This is considered strange, as raccoons don't usually stand on on their hind legs. What makes it even more odd is that raccoons are nocturnal creatures, and according to the report, all the sightings and calls have been during the day. They also don't typically exhibit comatose behavior.
Coggeshall went on to say that he tried to scare the raccoon away to no avail. “He’d come out of it, walk around and then he’d do the same thing again. Get on his hind feet and show his teeth," he said.
Overall, local authorities have responded to 15 raccoon reports so far and have euthanized all the animals.
According to WKBN-TV the Ohio Department of Natural Resources the raccoons are very likely afflicted with a condition called distemper. Distemper causes symptoms similar to rabies in that disorientation and aggressiveness increases.
The Ohio DNR also warns that raccoons can transmit distemper to humans and domestic animals. They added that raccoons seen in the daylight hours acting aggressively and erratically should be avoided. Youngstown Police are of course encouraging people to report any "zombie-like" raccoon behavior.
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