Sure, they’re cute. And they may even remind one of a masked hero in a kid’s story. But raccoons have been invading German homes looking for alcohol. Specifically beer. And they’re leaving a trail of death and destruction in their wake…
A possibly inebriated raccoon: The masked marauders are terrorizing German
homes looking for beer. And causing mega property damage.
It’s estimated there are hundreds of thousands of raccoons in Germany. And they’ve only been there since the 1930s. They were actually imported from the U.S. in 1934 in an attempt to ‘increase wildlife diversity’. At that time 2 pairs were released into the wild. But the critters got their big chance during the Second World War. An allied bomb hit a fur ranch allowing a couple of dozen to escape.
Now, in an odd evolutionary development, raccoons are changing their lifestyles. They’ve started breaking into homes, looking for beer and tearing the place up. Household pets – even tropical fish – have been killed. Property damage of up to (US)$10,000 has been reported. If you didn’t know before, raccoons can be pretty nasty (see photo, top of page).
A history of alcoholism
Raccoons have been observed previously seeking out – and bingeing on – alcohol. According to DW.com, a sozzled raccoon raccoon was seen, “stumbling around the Christmas markets in the city of Erfurt. The animal overserved himself by drinking whatever mulled wine that was left in mostly empty cups, briefly entertained himself with a woman’s shoes, and then passed out on a doorstep.”
The local police reported that the raccoon was, “obviously intoxicated” adding that, “a breathalyzer test on the animal was not carried out.”
Raccoons have also been observed in Berlin city parks tipping over discarded beer bottles, hoping for a sip of leftover suds.
On a war footing
German officials are on a war footing. The National Hunting Association (DJV) reports it has culled the raccoon population down to a manageable size. It’s estimated that some 200,000 of the troublesome mammals have been dispatched. But other voices call for compassion. Animal lovers insist Germans should just ‘learn to live with’ the raccoons.
The state of the raccoon nation
In spite of culling, the wild population of German raccoons is still estimated at several hundred thousand.
Berlin officials estimate that at least 1,000 raccoons call their city home. The marauders apparently prefer to make their nests in allotment gardens and school yards.
But Berthold Langenhorst of the German Nature Conservation Association (NABU) gets the last word: “Raccoons are funny and clever … and they like beer.”
Hard to argue with that.
~ Maggie J.