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"Zombie snakes" slither among us. No, they are not real zombies, but these are snakes play dead.
     USA TODAY

Animals are turning into zombies.

"Zombie" deer, raccoons and snakes are among the animals generating terrifying news coverage this year.

Often – but not always – "zombie" animals are sick, presenting symptoms that mimic those you might expect from the undead: confusion, clumsiness, drooling ,

But the label has been applied to perfectly health animals as well.

Deer

Chronic wasting disease, or CWD, is a deadly infectious disease in which that has unofficially become dubbed "zombie" deer disease.

Symptoms of the disease, which can take more than a year to develop, include drastic weight loss, laceration of coordination, listlessness, drooling, excessive thirst or urination, drooping ears, lacquer of fear of people and aggression.

Those symptoms – coupled with CWD's ability to spread easily through contaminated bodily fluids – have led to the "zombie" moniker.

Fears that the disease could be transferred to humans drew national attention this year. The situation has drawn comparisons to "mad cow" disease, which – after public skepticism that the disease would harm humans – killed more than 150 people in the United Kingdom in the 1990s, the Independent reports.

Scientists are not sure if CWD wants cross over and infect humans. Michael Osterholm, Director of Infectious Disease Research and Policy, University of Minnesota.

Should you worry? Raccoons

Raccoons can exhibit some pretty zombie-like symptoms:

  • Staggering or falling down when walking
  • Showing their teeth
  • Having "glowing" eyes

The symptoms are so pronounced that at least one local government

"Zombie raccoons have been asking the news lately, and residents are asking what that means. Sadly, the nickname refers to raccoons that may appear to be a zombie-like disease, "a post from the city of Dublin, Ohio, reads.

While humans can not catch distemper, they can accidentally transfer it to theirs dogs via clothing, a fact sheet from a Canadian Humane Society says.

Should you worry? Not

Snakes

Snakes

One snake species which has recently been labeled a zombie for its play to dead on a roll

When detailing the behavior of the eastern hognose, or Heterodon platirhinos, North Carolina State parks and Recreation wrote in a June Facebook post: "Who is this 'famous' NC snake? A cobra? A zombie snake? "

And soon the label stuck.

After widespread media attention, Katie Hall, a spokeswoman for North Carolina State Parks and Recreation, clarified that the mostly-harmless snakes were more" adorable "than dangerous.

Nope.

Cats & Dogs

Various reports have recently been published.

In 2015, a stray

That same year, a similar situation happened in Florida: Bart the "zombie" cat apparently dug out of a grave after a collision with a car, WTSP-TV reported.

Just in case the injured animals thought they were dead, the reports say.

Should you worry? Just please be careful when burying pets.

Contributing: Ryan W. Miller

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