This is one of those stories you’d see in a news montage at the beginning of an apocalyptic movie like World War Z. According to USA Today, there has been a flurry of reports of “zombie-like” raccoons disturbing residents in northeast Ohio recently, which are now officially being investigated by Youngstown police.
WKBN-TV claims authorities received more than a dozen calls in the past three weeks regarding these creepy critters, which have apparently been acting oddly during the daytime. Robert Coggeshall, a local photographer, said he was playing with his dogs outside of his house last week when one of these raccoons scurried up to them. The raccoon, an animal sometimes referred to as a "trash panda," reportedly stood on its hind legs and gritted its teeth—before falling over backward. And before you dismiss this a strange but isolated incident, there were 14 others police responded to, which were all eventually euthanized.
According to USA Today, the state Department of Natural Resources claimed these animals had been suffering from something called distemper, and not rabies, as one might expect. Distemper is a disease brought on virally, and results in coughing, seizures, and tremors. Unfortunately for us, the illness causes raccoons to be fearless of people—making them even scarier when unexpectedly encountered. Stay safe, Ohio.