By Phil Plait | November 7, 2008 4:21 pm

Imagine you forage for food every day, and came across something that massed 10 times what you do. You’d be happy too.

As long as the pumpkin wasn’t fermented

Unhappy: I hope that squirrel didn’t have to do the walk of shame the next morning after spending the night with Drama Prairie Dog.

Tip o’ the jack-o-lantern to Dan Durda for the link to the video. The picture of the young squirrel was taken by me, through my home office window.

CATEGORIZED UNDER: Humor, Pretty pictures

Comments (41)

Links to this Post

  1. Drunk Squirrel | Petester.net | November 10, 2008
  1. JSug

    Awww…. I feel sorry for the little guy. He can’t seem to figure out why the tree keeps moving out from under him.

  2. I’m happy for the first squirrel, and I feel bad for the second.

    I hope it was just drunk. Wild animals exhibiting odd behaviors can indicate other things, like an infection affecting its nervous system or the impending end of the world in 2012 if Sarah Palin manages to become President.

    The November 3 – 7 episodes of the Buckles comic strip involved a bird and a squirrel sharing some fermented fruit scraps and then waking up in bed together.

  3. jenny mccarthy

    This video is older than the internet. :)

  4. I’m glad MY drunken binges don’t end up on YouTube.

  5. Ossifer, I’z purrfuggly agle to dribe….


    Suggested reading: INTOXICATION by Ronald K. Siegel, PhD ISBN:0-525-24764-5

  6. Annette

    I love it! That little guy looks like he is in bliss!!!! Cute overload to boot! Thanks Phil!

    I always feel happy whenever I see a crow dig into the neighbors garbage and haul out something particularly hearty. I know I should be cursing on it for making a mess, but I can’t help but think how his belly will be warm with food today. Besides, I just love those guys…. such a smart animal. I mean, have you ever seen a dead crow as roadkill? No. Thats because they are too smart to be roadkill.

  7. Annette

    Fluffy… don’t be so sure of that. ūüėČ It depends on how nice your friends are.

  8. Daniel

    THAT would be one messed up kid…HA!

  9. Mark Hansen

    At least the squirrel is a happy drunk. Imagine if he was an aggressive drunk…

    “Wha’ the heck yooo lookin’ at???” and then he charges at the camera.

  10. Daniel

    Yea…where are his buddies? lol

  11. IVAN3MAN

    How dry I am, how dry I am

    Nobody knows how dry I am…

    Hooow dryyy I aaaaaam!

  12. space cadet

    I don’t know, it’s a funny video and all, but they followed the guy around for a long time when he seemed panicked by the presence of the people but too incapacitated to get away from them. Maybe they could’ve just let him pass out under a bush somewhere and sleep it off like I usually do.

  13. Michelle

    Heehee. I love squirrels!

    I remember back when I was able to open the rear window, they would come to my windowsill and wait for peanuts.

    …..then I’d attach the peanuts to string and fish the squirrels up! Yep, they’d stay gnawing at the peanut alllll the way up. The window is 8 feet above the ground.

  14. justcorbly

    Squirrels around her — central North Carolina — have been unusually visible for the last couple of weeks, scurrying about presumably stocking up for the winter. Maybe they know something we don’t.

  15. Quiet Desperation

    He’s just an Obama voter still celebrating.

    Change! Woo hoo! Here it comes!

  16. Ty

    It took a while, and you’ve really had to work at it, but you’ve become tedious QD.

    So tedious.

  17. I dunno. After a rabies related story on both Fark and This American Life, I’m scared kazooless of animals. Especially animals actin’ weird.

  18. Crudely Wrott

    The squirrel exhibits a behavior that is surprisingly common.

    Robins that migrate to Florida gorge on the fermented berries of a the Pepper Bush to the point that they cannot fly.

    Some years ago a train carrying corn derailed in northern Wyoming, creating six foot drifts of corn kernels along the tracks. Bears came a few weeks later and sought out the now “corn liquor.” Several were killed as they lounged contentedly on the RR tracks. The railroad company sprayed the corn with diesel fuel; the bears just dug deeper.

    And once, to my astonishment, I was able to play roughly with some honeybees that were showing highly focused attention to a thistle blossom that actually smelled (subtly) of alcohol! They were literally stinger deep among the florets and happily climbed my finger and fell off repeatedly.

    I’m almost tempted to say, “Tell me someone ain’t lookin’ out for us here below!” [/wrywit]

  19. colluvial

    I don’t know . . .

    I’m skeptical about rotting pumpkins developing enough alcohol to get a squirrel drunk.

    Last year, I watched a squirrel with falling-off-the-tree behavior like this from my office window. It was gathering acorns but couldn’t sit up to hold the nut in its paws. It would fall over but continue eating while lying on its side. I saw it occasionally over a span of a week. I wasn’t thinking drunk (no pumpkins or bars in the neighborhood), I was thinking disease, parasites, poison, etc.

  20. Azdak

    Yeah, I found that video a little disturbing. I’m not sure how well squirrels normally hold their liquor, but he looked to be in danger of some serious alcohol poisoning. Or, as Harold suggested, there’s something else going on.

  21. @Colluvial

    Well an adult human weighting 150lbs is drunk after consuming 2 drinks of 80 proof hard liquor or 1.2oz of alcohol. A squirrel weights only 1-2 lbs so call it 1.5lbs would only need to consume 0.012 oz of alcohol to get the same effect that’s less then one tenth of a teaspoon, not a whole lot of alcohol.

    I remember as a kid seeing Jays get drunk off of Pyracantha berries that has fermented, and not just one or two but whole flocks would show up and put on a bender and pass out under the bushes.

  22. José

    And I was going to throw out all my old pumpkins. Party at my house!

  23. CJA

    Apparently African Elephants get drunk on the fruit of the Marula tree.

  24. Thomas Siefert

    Small animals get intoxicated very easily, in Australia you will sometimes see parrots and lorikeets drunk after eating fermented fruit. If you find one asleep under a fruit tree, you just put it in a place where it’s safe from other animals until it has slept it off.

    Once had a pet budgie that would always try to drink out of drinking glasses left unguarded, he nearly drowned a couple of times.
    For some reason he had got out of his cage when my parents had a party and he got a tiny nip of whiskey. He looked like he had burned himself and started sneezing, flew strait back to his cage and drank most of the water. After that, he was so drunk that he could not climb back on his perch, so he just fell asleep down in a corner in the bottom of his cage.
    He never drank from a glass again.

  25. Quiet Desperation

    Hey Ty? Drop dead, OK? I was just kidding. Who is the real tedious one? The one kidding around or the one with the broomstick up his rear who takes himself way too seriously? Get over yourself.

  26. JohnB

    QD, now you’re being offensive. Your turn to lighten up.

  27. I would much prefer it if commenters — especially ones who who have been here for a while — would follow my one commenting policy rule.

  28. Thomas Siefert

    Sorry BA, wont mention my pet budgie again…. :-)

  29. Mena

    I’m sorry to rain on everyone’s parade here but I ran the video by a friend of mine who is a vet and now she works at the local wildlife preserve. Her reply:
    I found it pretty sad; I think the people thought it was drunk but it looks exactly like a parasite in the brain we see all the time in the squirrels called Baylisascaris spp. — raccoon roundworm; permanent brain damage, causes severe balance issues, automatic euthansia. The circling in one direction and loss of balance is classic. Poor guy; hope some put him out of his misery.
    That may also be what that squirrel that colluvial saw was suffering from too.

  30. Mena, that is sad. :(

    Elephants don’t get drunk off the Marula tree berries either…
    I, on the other hand, turned our African trip into the Amarula Sundowner Tour of 2006. Especially since in Africa, the continent Ms Palin, and specifically Uganda and Kenya (countries Ms Palin), Amarula is very very cheap. Around 1/4 to 1/5 the price we pay in Oz. We even filled our pockets with the tiny little freebie bottles when we flew… thank you Kenya Airways. Ah, sitting around the camp fire in the evenings listening to the lions roar, the hippos splashing, the mozzies buzzing, and sipping on warm Amarula.

  31. IVAN3MAN

    Here is the Wikipedia entry on Baylisascaris. Apparently, it can also have adverse affects on humans, too.

  32. Quiet Desperation

    I apologize, Phil. I just got caught at a bad moment. I shouldn’t read the blogs after a 75 hour work week.

    To explain the Obama comment, I had just seen the South Park episode poking fun at some of the post election celebrations, so the squirrel reminded me of that. I’m not anti-Obama. I voted for the guy.

    Ty, don’t drop dead, but, you know, if you don’t like what another person posts and it’s not an arguable issue or point, just ignore it.

  33. On my way to work this morning I saw a squirrel cross the road carrying a chunk of pumpkin at least twice the size of his head – he was definitely happy looking.

  34. I watched a TV program today from one of the UK’s favourite chefs – Hugh Fearnley Whittingstall. He cooked up a delicious-looking grey squirrel dish with nettle pasta. Looked lovely!

  35. Last time I saw a squirrel acting that way, I waited for it to get out of the road. It couldn’t figure out which side of the road it wanted to exit, it kept going back and forth. Then it finally ran off. Then the tree branch that was right over were he was running came down and crashed, and my sons had to move it out of the road just to get by. I figure that he managed to fall from the branch, and was trying to get his bearings when we found him going back and forth.

  36. Anchor

    It’s kind of disturbing to watch a sick animal. It’s NOT funny: obviously the poor thing desperately wants to get away from the humans filming it…but in its condition, it’s probably safer near the ground. Hope the onlookers were at least kind enough to watch out for it to make sure cats didn’t show up…

    There’s a lesson in this: clean up your yards and get rid of those old pumpkins. The squirrel obviously didn’t intend to get bombed. All it wanted to do was take in as much nutrition as it could for the Winter. Getting this sick-intoxicated just before it gets seriously cold does not help its chances for survival.

  37. Castile NY

    Disturbing is half a word, regarding this video. It is not funny at all.

    In a rural areas, we know what happens to wild animals. Old, and/or sick squirrels, raccoons, and sometimes woodchucks act like that. We see that kind of thing when they’re active. In a deciduous forest there’s not anything to ferment and get them drunk.

    @mena had a good post.

    My brother is a veterinarian and I’m waiting for him to get back to me on this.

    I’ll let you know what he says.

  38. The Voice of Reason

    Not much of a gardener then, Phil

  39. IVAN3MAN

    At the time of writing this, I have had a comment posted above with a link that has been held up “awaiting moderation” for over 28 hours! This is a record, Phil!


  40. Rowan Bulpit

    I live alone in a tree
    I live alone in a tree
    I live alone in a tree and nooooooobodyliveswithme!


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