There are plenty of wild deer in France, and the government of one community there wants drivers to know some of them are dangerously inebriated.
Authorities in Lot, France have issued a warning that drunken deer are staggering around its roads, running into things like trees, houses and moving automobiles.
It's a problem all over France, where the animals can become intoxicated after ingesting one too many sprouting plants, but it's a particular worry in the rural area of Lot, which is home to an estimated 15,000 deer.
“Deer are very fond of buds bursting with sap. They ferment in the animal's stomach and produce the same effect as when a person consumes a large amount of alcohol. The animal is then confused, no longer perceives danger and can move into areas it usually wouldn't,” Serge Gay, vice president of the Lot Federation of Hunters, explained to Toulouse's daily newspaper, La Depeche.
“A drunk deer wanders onto roads, approaches towns and homes. Its behavior is very surprising. The animal is no longer in control of itself. We must be careful on the road,” he warned.
Like humans, inebriated deer lose their inhibitions, can become aggressive or even obstinate and may refuse to move when faced with an oncoming vehicle.
This past November a drunk deer in La Capelle, on the French-Belgian border, forced a driver off the road. And last spring a family in Tarn-et-Garonne found a young buck trying to escape from their house, which he had apparently stumbled into while in a drunken stupor. The intoxicated animal was captured by local officials and transported to the woods, rather than the local drunk tank.