RSPCA puzzled by increasing reports of drunk, vomiting seagulls that ‘reek of beer’

One RSPCA centre in Somerset has taken in 30 drunk seagulls in the past two weeks, yet the animal charity remains puzzled by how exactly the birds are becoming so inebriated.

One theory is that the gulls are drinking beer left on beaches in the area. However, a representative from the RSCPA centre in West Hatch in Taunton, Somerset doesn’t believe this is how they’re getting so drunk.

The spokesperson told Devon Live: “They are getting in such a state that they are almost unconscious.

“I’m almost positive it is not that they are drinking beer left on beaches as they have all eaten a substance that they have brought back up”.

He believes that instead, the birds are somehow managing to get hold of the by-products produced by a local brewery.

This theory has its problems too as brewing by-products usually contain little to no alcohol, with spent grain from brewers often given to farmers for cattle fodder.

Staff at RSPCA West Hatch have received 30 boozed-up birds in the last two weeks that were “reeking of alcohol”.

Speaking to various media sources, vet David Couper described the situation as “very unusual”.

“This year there has been a spate of cases with birds from east Devon, Dorset and Somerset. Some of the birds have been found unconscious or staggering and all were reeking of alcohol.”

He said that the birds “looked terrible” while others had been “so poorly they died”. “Others have recovered after a day or so of rest and rehydration,” he added.

“They all seem to have ingested some sort of grain – possibly from a brewery – that appears to have made them inebriated.

“But it’s odd because enquiries revealed these by-products should only have trace amounts of alcohol left after it’s extracted”.

The latest case involved a crew of six firefighters that were called to Lyme Regis after reports of a sea gull behaving erratically on a roof.

Watch manager Virgil Turner said: “When we arrived he had already fallen off the roof, he was sitting shaking his head and he then tried to fly and he nearly hit me in the face.

“I caught him and he threw-up all over me and he reeked of beer”.

Other sources report that the seagulls’ bizarre behaviour could be nothing to do with alcohol, but instead the consumption of flying ants which produce formic acid, a substance that “stupefies” the birds.

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