Over a dozen raccoons have been euthanized in Youngstown, Ohio, after a virus caused them to behave strangely.
Local authorities believe the animals were suffering from distemper, a virus that commonly affects dogs. Distemper can cause raccoons to cough, have seizures and lose their fear of humans.
The raccoons near Youngstown were spotted during the day, and were displaying what eyewitnesses described as “zombie-like” behavior.
Robert Coggeshall told local authorities that he first spotted the raccoon while he was playing with his dogs, and it seemed strange because raccoons are usually nocturnal. But that’s when things got really weird.
“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. 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.”
Coggeshall said that attempts to scare the raccoon appeared to have no impact on the animal. It even followed him to the door when he took his dogs inside to get away from it. Once his dogs were safe, however, he got out a camera. Coggeshall’s photos, like the one above, have been featured on several news broadcasts and in a number of print publications as well.