Seagulls have been spotted vomiting and struggling to walk in straight lines in the south west of England, leading animal welfare officers to suggest they are drunk.
The RSPCA had more than a dozen calls regarding the birds and has concluded the birds are probably scavenging alcohol from a local brewery or alcohol producer.
Some of the birds have died and others are seriously ill after being found on beaches across Devon, Dorset and Somerset.
The charity described the effect on the birds as similar to how a human would react to excessive alcohol. They appear disorientated and have problems with their balance.
“At first, the birds look like they have botulism (an illness caused by bacteria) but then, after vomiting, most seem to recover,” said RSPCA Inspector Jo Daniel.
“The birds absolutely stink of alcohol when we collect them, so now our vans smell like pubs.”
David Couper, a vetenarian with the charity, treated a number of the birds as they arrived at the charity’s West Hatch Wildlife Centre in Taunton, Somerset.
“We’ve had birds coming in from across Devon and even a few from Bridport and Lyme Regis, in Dorset.
“Sadly, a few of the birds have died, but most of them have made good recoveries and have been released after a few days in our care.”
The RSPCA is urging local breweries, distilleries and alcohol producers to check that their waste is secure and cannot be accessed by wildlife or birds.
Additional reporting by Press Association
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