Night of the living dead… raccoons? According to reports in northeast Ohio, Cook County, police have been investigating complaints of “zombie-like” behavior from raccoons that have been acting strangely and scaring locals.
Given that raccoons are known as nocturnal creatures, multiple reports say locals have been primarily alarmed by seeing the little creatures walk about on their hind legs in the broad daylight.
"As if we don't have enough to worry about, now it's zombie raccoons," said NBC Chicago's Patrick Fazio, while reporting that the medium-sized mammals are said to be suffering from a very angry-sounding virus known as “distemper.”
The Cook County Animal and Rabies Control told the station that the latest necropsy report for 2018 showed 43 percent of raccoons evaluated had distemper, said to be an unusual spike for the county.
Witness Robert Coggeshall told WKBN that he alerted Youngstown police after a “feisty and sick” raccoon interrupted playtime with his dogs. “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,” Coggeshall told the site.
Per the report, police were called to 14 similar situations in the past three weeks, and the Ohio Department of Natural Resources have conferred that is likely due to distemper, rather than rabies.
As zombie threats go, the odorous raccoon is certainly a novel idea, but we’re not surprised locals have been given the heebie jeebies. Undead animals have long been a source of scares in horror movies, from Church the Cat in Pet Semetary (1989) to the zombie Dobermans in the Resident Evil movies.
Now the all-important question is, who the hell is going to make this zombie raccoon movie that we never knew we needed?
Let us know your thoughts and concerns about undead animals in a town near you in the comments below.