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Residents of Youngstown, Ohio have lately been facing something even scarier than the raccoons’ tiny, human-like hands: their zombie-like behavior. It seems that the local police have been gathering reports on incidents involving very aggressive and zombie-like raccoons since March. These raccoons are reportedly extremely scary, bare their teeth, walk on their hind legs and what’s even more worrying, they are no longer afraid of humans. According to a resident called Robert Coggeshall, he met such a raccoon while he was walking his dogs.
The animal would stand up on his hindlegs, which raccoons don’t usually do, bare its teeth and immediately fall back in what looked like a coma. Something else is strange about their behavior: it happens during daylight. Raccoons are nocturnal animals. According to the Ohio Department of Natural Resources, this zombie-like behavior that has been affecting the animals is most likely a side effect of canine distemper. The fact about distemper is that it doesn’t only affect dogs, but many other animals too.
Raccoons in Ohio are displaying a bizarre behavior
Most of the animals that can get affected by distemper have evolutionary links to dogs. They include ferrets, skunks, raccoons and sometimes, even bears. Distemper usually affects the nervous system, the gastrointestinal and the respiratory system. Some of its symptoms include muscle twitches, head tilt, a bizarre behavior and even partial or complete paralysis.
If this is indeed the correct diagnosis, these scary raccoons don’t want to eat people and their pets’ brains but have uncontrolled muscle spasms. Moreover, their nervous system goes haywire and they cannot control themselves anymore. Fortunately, this virus doesn’t affect humans, but pet dogs can become infected. So, the best idea would be to vaccinate your pets if you live in the area affected by the zombie raccoons.
Image source: wikimedia