Numerous Diseased Raccoons And Foxes Have Been Captured In Neighborhoods This Year, And One Woman Was Attacked By A Rabid Raccoon On Her Own Property
Encountering wild animals within residential areas can be frightening, as wild animals like raccoons, foxes, opossums and skunks can be unpredictable, especially when they are spotted in human habitats during the daytime hours. Generally, raccoons, skunks and other common nuisance animals invade properties at night where they rummage through garbage bins or establish nesting sites near structures. Not only are many common wildlife pests nocturnal, but they also know that humans are best avoided at night. This is why spotting animals like raccoons, opossums, skunks and foxes within residential areas during the daytime is considered highly unusual.
When these animals are spotted behaving strangely within human habitats during the daytime it is often assumed that the animals must be sickened with rabies or mange. While it is not impossible for healthy animals to be spotted in neighborhoods during daylight hours, such sightings should be reported to pest control professionals due to the possible public health risk the animals may pose in these situations. This advice should be particularly well received in Pennsylvania due to the high number of dangerous encounters residents have had with diseased animals this year. For example, a month ago authorities in Centre County struggled for days to capture a diseased fox that had been wandering neighborhood streets, and a resident of Swarthmore was bitten by a rabid raccoon while on her own property.
According to Pennsylvania game warden Mike Steingraber, several residents of Ferguson Township phoned authorities in response to finding multiple foxes behaving strangely within the neighborhood. A photo taken of one of the foxes showed that the animal had lost a large amount of hair, indicating that it had contracted mange. Rabies is most common in raccoons, skunks and bats, but foxes and opossums rarely contract the disease. Animals infected with rabies do not foam at the mouth or immediately attack humans; instead, rabies infected animals act disoriented, dazed, unbalanced and confused. About a month before diseased foxes appeared in Centre Township, a resident of Swarthmore was bitten on her leg by a rabid raccoon as she was stepping out of her car and onto her driveway. The woman was treated for rabies immediately, and the raccoon was put down, but many residents of Swarthmore are still worried about falling victim to rabid raccoon attacks.
Have you ever spotted a rabid animal?
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