Raccoon Found ‘Paralyzed’ Was Actually Just Very Sick


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Raccoons may enjoy rubbish, but they shouldn’t actually be dumped.

The animal at the core of this tale should have understood the lesson by now.

Credit: FLICKR/MICHAEL GIL

One morning last week, a concerned citizen in the town of Gibsons, British Columbia, spotted something in her yard that she couldn’t ignore. There, lying curled up and seemingly paralyzed, was a raccoon in distress.

Fearing that the animal had been injured, she called the Gibsons Wildlife Rehabilitation Centre — a rescue facility run by Irene Davy and her husband, Clint. Soon, help was on the way.

“We thought he might’ve been hit by a vehicle,” Irene told The Dodo. “Clint went to check on him. He found him lying dazed; the raccoon could open its eyes, but he couldn’t move, stand or walk.”

Believing the raccoon may have suffered a serious spinal injury, Clint transported him to the Sechelt Animal Hospital. But after an examination, vets came to a surprising conclusion: The raccoon wasn’t injured. He was stoned.

Credit: FLICKR/MICHAEL GIL

Indeed, testing had shown the presence of both marijuana and benzodiazepines, a class of pharmaceuticals that includes Xanax-like anxiety pills.

“He was fine. Simply put, he was somewhat drugged up “Added Irene. “We have no way of knowing where he obtained the medications, although I’ve heard that dogs occasionally pick up items when out for walks. It may have been a pot cookie or muffin that was discarded. Exactly what?”

The therapy was luckily rather straightforward even though this was the first time the rescue center had to deal with a drug-impaired wild animal.

Credit: FLICKR/MICHAEL GIL

There have been more instances of unintentional pet consumption of marijuana at home as edible versions of the drug have grown in popularity. But one risk that isn’t generally thought about is animal exposure to pharmaceuticals that have been inappropriately dumped, with potentially fatal results.

“It’s fortunate for the raccoon that he found himself in a backyard. He may have been struck by a car if he had strayed onto the road. He could have come under attack from a predator. Being immobile, he may have been vulnerable to any form of damage “explained Irene.

“People who care about wildlife, who happen to use drugs, should be careful about how they dispose of them. I know it’s kind of funny to say that you’ve had a raccoon high on marijuana, but in the scheme of things, it’s not funny to think that wildlife could be harmed.”


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