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


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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.

16 Biting Facts About Fright Night

William Ragsdale stars in Fright Night (1985).
William Ragsdale stars in Fright Night (1985).
Columbia Pictures

Charley Brewster is your typical teen: he’s got a doting mom, a girlfriend whom he loves, a wacky best friend … and an enigmatic vampire living next door.

For more than 30 years, Tom Holland’s critically acclaimed directorial debut has been a staple of Halloween movie marathons everywhere. To celebrate the season, we dug through the coffins of the horror classic in order to discover some things you might not have known about Fright Night.

1. Fright Night was based on "The Boy Who Cried Wolf."

Or, in this case, "The Boy Who Cried Vampire." “I started to kick around the idea about how hilarious it would be if a horror movie fan thought that a vampire was living next door to him,” Holland told TVStoreOnline of the film’s genesis. “I thought that would be an interesting take on the whole Boy Who Cried Wolf thing. It really tickled my funny bone. I thought it was a charming idea, but I really didn't have a story for it.”

2. Peter Vincent made Fright Night click.

It wasn’t until Holland conceived of the character of Peter Vincent, the late-night horror movie host played by Roddy McDowall, that he really found the story. While discussing the idea with a department head at Columbia Pictures, Holland realized what The Boy Who Cried Vampire would do: “Of course, he's gonna go to Vincent Price!” Which is when the screenplay clicked. “The minute I had Peter Vincent, I had the story,” Holland told Dread Central. “Charley Brewster was the engine, but Peter Vincent was the heart.”

3. Peter Vincent is named after two horror icons.

Peter Cushing and Vincent Price.

4. The Peter Vincent role was intended for Vincent Price.

Roddy McDowall in Fright Night (1985)
Roddy McDowall as Peter Vincent in Fright Night (1985).
Columbia Pictures

“Now the truth is that when I first went out with it, I was thinking of Vincent Price, but Vincent Price was not physically well at the time,” Holland said.

5. Roddy McDowall did not want to play the part like Vincent Price.

Once he was cast, Roddy McDowall made the decision that Peter Vincent was nothing like Vincent Price—specifically: he was a terrible actor. “My part is that of an old ham actor,” McDowall told Monster Land magazine in 1985. “I mean a dreadful actor. He had a moderate success in an isolated film here and there, but all very bad product. Basically, he played one character for eight or 10 films, for which he probably got paid next to nothing. Unlike stars of horror films who are very good actors and played lots of different roles, such as Peter Lorre and Vincent Price or Boris Karloff, this poor sonofabitch just played the same character all the time, which was awful.”

6. It took Holland just three weeks to write the Fright Night script.

And he had a helluva good time doing it, too. “I couldn’t stop writing,” Holland said in 2008, during a Fright Night reunion at Fright Fest. “I wrote it in about three weeks. And I was laughing the entire time, literally on the floor, kicking my feet in the air in hysterics. Because there’s something so intrinsically humorous in the basic concept. So it was always, along with the thrills and chills, something there that tickled your funny bone. It wasn’t broad comedy, but it’s a grin all the way through.”

7. Tom Holland directed Fright Night out of "self-defense."

By the time Fright Night came around, Holland was already a Hollywood veteran—just not as a director. He had spent the past two decades as an actor and writer and he told the crowd at Fright Fest that “this was the first film where I had sufficient credibility in Hollywood to be able to direct ... I had a film after Psycho 2 and before Fright Night called Scream For Help, which … I thought was so badly directed that [directing Fright Night] was self-defense. In self-defense, I wanted to protect the material, and that’s why I started directing with Fright Night."

8. Chris Sarandon had a number of reasons for not wanting to make Fright Night.

Chris Sarandon stars in 'Fright Night' (1985)
Chris Sarandon stars in Fright Night (1985).
Columbia Pictures

At the Fright Night reunion, Chris Sarandon recalled his initial reaction to being approached about playing vampire Jerry Dandrige. "I was living in New York and I got the script,” he explained. “My agent said that someone was interested in the possibility of my doing the movie, and I said to myself, ‘There’s no way I can do a horror movie. I can’t do a vampire movie. I can’t do a movie with a first-time director.’ Not a first-time screenwriter, but first-time director. And I sat down and read the script, and I remember very vividly sitting at my desk, looked over at my then wife and said, ‘This is amazing. I don’t know. I have to meet this guy.’ And so, I came out to L.A. And I met with Tom [Holland] and our producer. And we just hit it off, and that was it.”

9. Jerry Dandridge is part fruit bat.

After doing some research into the history of vampires and the legends surrounding them, Sarandon decided that Jerry had some fruit bat in him, which is why he’s often seen snacking on fruit in the film. When asked about the 2011 remake with Colin Farrell, Sarandon commented on how much he appreciated that that specific tradition continued. “In this one, it's an apple, but in the original, Jerry ate all kinds of fruit because it was just sort of something I discovered by searching it—that most bats are not blood-sucking, but they're fruit bats,” Sarandon told io9. “And I thought well maybe somewhere in Jerry's genealogy, there's fruit bat in him, so that's why I did it.”

10. William Ragsdale learned he had booked the part of Charley Brewster on Halloween.

William Ragsdale had only ever appeared in one film before Fright Night (in a bit part). He had recently been considered for the role of Rocky Dennis in Mask, which “didn’t work out,” Ragsdale recalled. “But a few months later, [casting director] Jackie Burch tells me, ‘There’s this movie I’m casting. You might be really right for it.’ So, I had this 1976 Toyota Celica and I drove that through the San Joaquin valley desert for four or five trips down for auditioning. And in the last one, Stephen [Geoffreys] was there, Amanda [Bearse] was there and that’s when it happened. I had read the script and at the time I had been doing Shakespeare and Greek drama, so I read this thing and thought, ‘Well, God, this looks like a lot of fun. There’s no … iambic pentameter, there’s no rhymes. You know? Where’s the catharsis? Where’s the tragedy?’ … I ended up getting a call on Halloween that they had decided to use me, and I was delighted.”

11. Not being Anthony Michael Hall worked in Stephen Geoffreys's favor.

In a weird way, it was by not being Anthony Michael Hall that Stephen Geoffreys was cast as Evil Ed. “I actually met Jackie Burch, the casting director, by mistake in New York months before this movie was cast and she remembered me,” Geoffreys shared at Fright Fest. “My agent sent me for an audition for Weird Science. And Anthony Michael Hall was with the same agent that I was with, and she sent me by mistake. And Jackie looked at me when I walked into the office and said, ‘You’re not Anthony Michael Hall!’ and I’m like ‘No!’ But anyway, I sat down and I talked to Jackie for a half hour and she remembered me from that interview and called my agent, and my agent sent me the script while I was with Amanda [Bearse] in Palm Springs doing Fraternity Vacation, and I read it. It was awesome. The writing was incredible.”

12. Evil Ed wanted to be Charley Brewster.

Stephen Geoffreys stars in 'Fright Night' (1985).
Stephen Geoffreys stars in Fright Night (1985).
Columbia Pictures

Geoffreys loved the script for Fright Night. “I just got this really awesome feeling about it,” he said. “I read it and thought I’ve got to do this. I called my agent and said ‘I would love to audition for the part of Charley Brewster!’ [And he said] ‘No, Steve, you’re wanted for the part of Evil Ed.’ And I went, ‘Are you kidding me? Why? I couldn’t… What do they see in me that they think I should be this?' Well anyway, it worked out. It was awesome and I had a great time.”

13. Fright Night's original ending was much different.

The film’s original ending saw Peter Vincent transform into a vampire—while hosting “Fright Night” in front of a live television audience.

14. A ghost from Ghostbusters made a cameo in Fright Night.

Visual effects producer Richard Edlund had recently finished up work on Ghostbusters when he and his team began work on Fright Night. And the movie gave them a great reason to recycle one of the library ghosts they had created for Ghostbusters—which was deemed too scary for Ivan Reitman's PG-rated classic—and use it as a vampire bat for Fright Night.

15. Fright Night's cast and crew took it upon themselves to record some DVD commentaries.

Because the earliest DVD versions of Fright Night contained no commentary tracks, in 2008 the cast and crew partnered with Icons of Fright to record a handful of downloadable “pirate” commentary tracks about the making of the film. The tracks ended up on a limited-edition 30th anniversary Blu-ray of the film, which sold out in hours.

16. Vincent Price loved Fright Night.


Columbia Pictures

Holland had the chance to meet Vincent Price one night at a dinner party at McDowall’s. And the actor was well aware that McDowall’s character was based on him. “I was a little bit embarrassed by it,” Holland admitted. “He said it was wonderful and he thought Roddy did a wonderful job. Thank God he didn’t ask why he wasn’t cast in it.”

13 Secrets of Halloween Costume Designers

vadimguzhva/iStock via Getty Images
vadimguzhva/iStock via Getty Images

For consumers, Halloween may be all about scares, but for businesses, it’s all about profits. According to the National Retail Federation, consumers will spend $8.8 billion this year on spooky goods, including $3.2 billion on costumes. “It’s an opportunity to be something you’re not the other 364 days of the year,” Jonathan Weeks, founder of Costumeish.com, tells Mental Floss. “It feels like anything goes.”

To get a better sense of what goes into those lurid, funny, and occasionally outrageous disguises, we spoke to a number of designers who are constantly trying to react to an evolving seasonal market. Here’s what we learned about what sells, what doesn’t, and why adding a “sexy” adjective to a Halloween costume doesn’t always work.

1. Some Halloween costumes are just too outrageous for retail

For kids, Halloween is a time to look adorable in exchange for candy. For adults, it’s a time to push the envelope. Sometimes that means provocative, revealing costumes; other times, it means going for shock value. “You get looks at a party dressed as an Ebola worker,” Weeks says. “We have pregnant nun costumes, baby cigarette costumes.” The catch: You won’t be finding these at Walmart. “They’re meant for online, not Spencer’s or Party City.”

2. … but there are some lines Halloween costume designers won’t cross.

Although Halloween is the one day of the year people can deploy a dark sense of humor without inviting personal or professional disaster, some costume makers draw their own line when it comes to how far to exceed the boundaries of good taste. “We’ve never done a child pimp costume, but someone else has,” says Robert Berman, co-founder of Rasta Imposta. Weeks says some questionable ideas that have been brought to the discussion table have stayed there. “There’s no toddler KKK costume or baby Nazi costume,” he says. “There is a line.”

3. Designers can produce a Halloween costume in a matter of days.

A lot of costume interest comes from what’s been making headlines in the fall: Costumers have to be ready to meet that demand. “We’re pretty good at being able to react quickly,” says Pilar Quintana, vice-president of merchandising for Yandy.com. “Something happening in April may not be strong enough to stick around for Halloween.”

Because the mail-order site has in-house models and isn’t beholden to approval from big box vendors, Quintana can design and photograph a costume so it’s available within 72 hours. If it's more elaborate, it can take a little longer: Both Yandy and Weeks had costumes inspired by the Cecil the Lion story that broke in July 2015 (in which a trophy hunter from Minnesota killed an African lion) on their sites in a matter of weeks.

4. Beyonce can help move stale inventory.

Extravagant custom tailoring jobs aside, Halloween costumes are a business of instant demand and instant gratification—inventory needs to be plentiful in order to fill the deluge of orders that come in a short frame of time. If a business miscalculates the popularity of a given theme, they might be stuck with overstock until they can find a better idea to hang on it. “[In 2016] we had 400 or 500 Zorro costumes that we couldn’t sell for $10,” Weeks says. “It had a big black hat that came with it, and I thought, ‘That looks familiar.’ It turned out it looked a lot like the one Beyonce wore in her ‘Lemonade’ video.” Remarketed as a "Formation" hat for Beyonce cosplayers, Weeks moved his stock.

5. Women don’t usually wear masks as part of their Halloween costumes.

Curiously, there’s a large gender gap when it comes to the sculpted latex monster masks offered by Halloween vendors: They’re sold almost exclusively to men. “There just aren’t a lot of masks with female characters,” Weeks says. “I don’t know why that is. Maybe it’s because men in general like gory, scary costumes.” One exception: Hillary Clinton masks, which were all the rage in 2016.

6. Food costumes are always a hit for Halloween.

At Rasta Imposta, Berman says political and pop culture trends can shift their plans, but one theme is a constant: People love to dress up as food. “We’ve had big success with food items. Bananas, pickles. We did an avocado.”

7. Adding ”sexy” to a Halloween costume doesn’t always work.

It’s a recurring joke that some costume makers only need to add a “sexy” adjective to a design concept in order to make it marketable. While there’s some truth to that—Quintana references Yandy’s “sexy poop emoji” costume—it’s no guarantee of success. “We had a concept for ‘sexy cheese’ that was a no-go,” she says. “'Sexy corn’ didn’t really work at all. ‘Sexy anti-fascist’ didn’t make the cut this year.”

8. People ask for some weird stuff when it comes to Halloween costumes.

In addition to monitoring social media for memes and trends, designers can get an idea of what consumers are looking for by shadowing their online searches. Costumeish.com monitors what people are typing into their search bar to see if they’re missing out on a potential hit. “People search for odd things sometimes,” Weeks says. “People want to be a cactus, a palm tree, they’re looking for a priest and a boy costume. People can be weird.”

9. Halloween costume designers have workarounds for big properties.

Go out to a Halloween party over the past few years and you’re almost guaranteed to run into the Queen of the North. But not every costume maker has the official license for Game of Thrones. What are other companies to do? Come up with a design that sparks recognition without sparking a lawsuit. “Our biggest seller right now is Sexy Northern Queen,” Quintana says. “It’s inspired by a TV show.” But she won’t say which one.

10. People love sharks.

From the clunky Ben Cooper plastic costume from 1975’s Jaws to today, people can’t seem to get enough of shark-themed outfits. “We do a lot of sharks,” Berman says. “Maybe it’s because of Shark Week in the summertime, but sharks always tend to trend. People just like the idea of sharks.”

11. Dead celebrities mean sales.

It may be morbid, but it’s a reality: The high-profile passing of celebrities, especially close to Halloween, can trigger a surge in sales. “Before Robin Williams died, I couldn’t sell a Mork costume for a dollar,” Weeks says. “After he died, I couldn’t not sell it for less than $100.”

12. The Halloween costume business profits from people shopping at the last minute.

Ever wonder why food and other novelty costumes tend to outsell traditional garb like pirates and witches? Because costume shopping for adults is usually done frantically and they don’t have time to compare 25 different Redbeards. “People tend to do it at the very last minute, so we want something that pops out at them,” Berman says. “Like, ‘Oh, I want to be a crab.’”

Weeks agrees that procrastination is profitable. “We make a lot of money on shipping,” he says. “Some people get party invites on the 25th and so they’re paying for next-day air.”

13. It’s not actually a seasonal business.

Everyone we spoke to agreed that the most surprising thing about the Halloween business is that it’s not really seasonal on their end. Costumes are designed year-round, and planning can take between 12 and 18 months. “It’s 365 days a year,” Quintana says. “We’ll start thinking about next Halloween in December.”

This piece was first published in 2017 and republished in 2019.

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