How to Recognize a Rabid Animal, and What to Do If You See One
Rabies is more commonly found in wild animals. While it should be a general practice to avoid them, some situations that arise while doing things like camping or hiking are out of our control. Even our pets can be affected by it. We hope you’ll never meet a rabid animal, but if it does happen, it’s important to know how to recognize it and what to do next.
That’s why we at Bright Side collected a few key points and recommendations to keep in mind if you ever find yourself in a situation like this.
How to identify a rabid animal
Animals who have rabies may engage in actions that are not normal for them, so observing their behavior is key. For example, this could be a nocturnal animal coming out during the daytime, or some wild animal losing its fear of people and coming toward them instead. If you ever see an animal do something out of the ordinary, it’s best to stay away from it and move to safety.
A list of animals commonly found with this disease include bats, bears, coyotes, deer, dogs, foxes, raccoons, skunks, and wolves. Here are the most common signs that can appear in a diseased animal.
Rabies is known for its ability to alter the behavior of the infected animal — it might turn them incredibly aggressive, vicious, cause them to lose their normal fear of humans, and lash out.
Another common symptom of rabies is drooling or excess saliva. The virus makes the animal produce more saliva than normal, which is what makes them drool. This is a sign that the virus has progressed.
As the virus progresses, more symptoms will keep appearing. Some of these symptoms include paralysis, vomiting, difficulty breathing, etc.
If you ever find yourself in such a situation, keep a few pointers in mind.
1. Don’t approach the animal and leave the area.
Don’t try to get close to it, as this can be very dangerous. You risk getting bitten and contracting rabies. It’s never a good idea to feed or approach any wild animals. It’s best to back away carefully and leave.
2. Make a loud noise if it comes close.
If a wild, rabid animal approaches and you end up in a confrontation with it, you can attempt to make loud noises to scare it away by using an air horn or just by whistling, for example. But any type of loud noise can work.
3. Make yourself look bigger.
Trying to fool the animal into thinking you’re larger than you actually are might also scare them away. In the case of black bears, it can be helpful to make yourself look bigger by raising your arms and backpack, and/or by standing on a rock.
4. Inform the authorities.
Always inform appropriate authorities about these kinds of situations so everyone is aware of the current level of rabies activity in your area. Report any animal you run into that acts in a weird manner, especially if it’s a threat to anyone who might pass by.
What to do if you get bit
If you are bitten or scratched by a rabid animal, the best way to lower the chances of infection is to wash the wound right away with soap and water and disinfect it. You should get medical attention quickly so the wound can be properly cleaned and treated.
Have you ever had an encounter with a wild animal?