Several reports from numerous sources have come in over the past few days regarding confirmed rabid raccoons and/or ones that are suspected to be rabid here in the Hudson Valley.

It is important to know what behaviors and traits to look for in these animals, and the steps to take if you believe you have spotted one.

Signs To Look Out For In Rabid Raccoons

Typically, raccoons are most active at dawn and dusk, as they are classified as crepuscular and nocturnal animals.  It isn't uncommon, though, to see them out and about during the daytime in the spring when with their babies.

We all have likely spotted a 'normal' looking raccoon in the Hudson Valley, typically weighing around 15 pounds, rounded in appearance with their black mask and rings across their tails.

Photo by Joshua J. Cotten on Unsplash
Photo by Joshua J. Cotten on Unsplash
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A rabid raccoon will present itself much differently, aggressive behavior, paralyzed hind legs and heavy salivation are all common signs of an infected animal according to the DEC.

Other animals in NY state that commonly carry the disease include bats, foxes, skunks and woodchucks.

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Sullivan County Public Health Confirms Rabid Raccoon Case

A raccoon in the Fremont Center area of Sullivan County has been confirmed positive for the rabies virus, stated an announcement from Sullivan County Public Health.

The raccoon was killed, and the property owners called Public Health, just as they should. The head of the raccoon was sent to Albany today, and it came back positive for rabies.

There have also been posts in the local 'nextdoor' community based groups with warnings about raccoons in the area displaying behaviors of being positive for the disease.

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Here's How to Protect Yourself, Your Animals, & Your Home

Be sure that your pets are up to date on their rabies vaccinations, this is the first step in protecting your animals from the disease. It is also important to take steps to prevent attracting wild animals to your yard, like storing food, garbage, or bird seed inside, and not feeding pets outdoors. Block openings and cracks that may allow animals into your home, garage, or sheds.

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If someone is bitten by a wild animal, seek medical treatment and report contact to the local Department of Health.  Though this part is tricky, and recommended only if it is SAFE to do so, experts say that if you have been bitten, it would be helpful to not let that animal escape so that it can be tested for rabies.

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