Town plagued by teeth-baring 'zombie' raccoons that walk like humans

Town plagued by teeth-baring 'zombie' raccoons that walk like humans

Lately in Youngstown, Ohio, raccoons' tiny, nimble, human-like hands are only the second scariest thing about them.

Distemper can cause animals to become disorientated and their behavior to change, signs that are often mistaken for rabies, according to Racoon World.

Photographer Robert Coggeshall says he was playing with his dogs outside his home last week when one such raccoon approached them.

He said the animal followed him and his dog to his door, so he chose to photograph the raccoon stepping on its hind legs.

Police are investigating reports of "zombie-like" raccoons in northeast Ohio.

The wildlife photographer was quick to grab his camera and snap photos of the 'extremely odd behavior.

'He would show his teeth, and fall over backwards, which I've never seen a raccoon do before, and go into nearly, like a comatose condition'.

Note: Video below is a raccoon from Kalamazoo, Michigan, not Youngstown.

Robert took snaps of the animal and called police, who attempted to try and scare it off, but to no avail. Get on his hind feet and show his teeth, ' Coggeshall said.

According to the Ohio Department of Natural Resources, the pests don't appear to have rabies but actually a disease called distemper. The animals weren't easy to scare off, either, and seemed to have lost their natural fear of humans. The raccoons, as reported by Youngstown's WKBN 27, are allegedly standing on their hind legs, baring their teeth and then falling backwards in a comatose state.

Those animals - including the one in Coggeshall's yard - were ultimately put down. A rep says distemper "can be devastating to the population" but less susceptible raccoons will help the population balloon again.

The disease, he said, stays local and eventually dies off.

Westerfield said trapping is how to keep the sick population down.

Sadly for animal lovers, this raccoon - and 14 others - were all euthanized for this reported behavior.

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