A Sunshine Coast raccoon got himself into an unusual situation last month.
On January 10, Irene and Clint Davey of the Gibsons Wildlife Rehabilitation Centre were contacted about a lethargic raccoon found on a local woman’s lawn. The animal was struggling to walk and appeared to be seriously injured.
The Daveys rushed out to pick the animal up and brought it to the Sechelt Animal Hospital where the hospital’s vets got to work diagnosing the animal.
“[The animal was] dazed, very lethargic, couldn’t stand, couldn’t walk. We were very concerned that he had some spinal injury or broken pelvis,” Irene Davy told the Vancouver Courier.
However, after the raccoon’s blood work came back, it became clear that the animal was suffering from a very different kind of affliction than initially suspected. The raccoon had tested positive for marijuana and benzodiazepines, a relatively common tranquilizer.
The Davys were shocked at this diagnosis, but happy the animal wasn’t more seriously injured. The vet told them there was a simple course of treatment: let him sleep it off in a dark, quite room.
“He recovered quite quickly,” Irene Davy said. “By six o’clock he was acting like a normal raccoon, hissing and wanting out of the kennel we had him in.”
While the Davys are unsure how the animal managed to get into such a state, they suspect it could have eaten discarded joint butts (commonly known as “roaches”) or the leftovers of some sort of edible.
Mostly, they were relieved he was in a relatively safe space when he ate the drugs.
“He could have wandered into the road and collapsed, or had predators attack him [while incapacitated].”
The Davys advise that anyone imbibing such substances dispose of the remnants responsibly so wildlife and pets are unable to accidentally eat them. High amounts of marijuana — like those found in a pot brownie — could be deadly for an animal like a raccoon, however the amount this particular animal ingested simply left it lethargic and uncoordinated.
Hopefully he’ll be more discerning next time he gets the munchies.