They’re Cute, But Deadly! Beware of Rabid Foxes in These Arizona Counties
- Rabies is most commonly reported in wild animals such as bats, skunks, raccoons, and foxes
- There were four instances of wild foxes approaching humans last month
- Two of the foxes tested positive for rabies
Is It a Good Idea to Raise Wildlife as a Domestic Animal?
The internet has broken down our filters. Content creators worldwide give us a ringside seat to some things we may never have considered.
I've watched countless videos of people who raise wildlife like squirrels or foxes as pets. Whenever I encounter one, I wonder if it is a good idea to raise wildlife as domesticated animals. Now, experts are advising against it for one very good reason.
A Deadly Virus in Arizona
These videos always feature adorable animals doing cute little things, but before you invite a raccoon or a fox into your home, it's important to understand that it's dangerous, it could be deadly. If you have ever seen Disney's classic movie Old Yeller, you know this story doesn't end well.
Rabies is on the rise across Arizona counties. Rabies is a deadly viral disease affecting humans and animals' nervous systems. It is usually transmitted through the bite or saliva of an infected animal. Rabies can cause severe symptoms such as fever, headache, agitation, confusion, paralysis, and death.
How to Avoid Contracting Rabies in Arizona
According to Arizona Fish and Game, rabies is most common in wild animals like bats, skunks, raccoons, and foxes. There's been a notable increase recently in the number of rabid foxes in some counties, especially in the southern and eastern parts of the state.
According to the Arizona Department of Health Services, there were 24 rabid foxes reported statewide in 2021, compared with only six reports in 2020.
This month, four instances of wild foxes approaching and attacking humans and pets were reported in the Show Low and Pinetop areas of Navajo County. Two of the fox carcasses tested positive for rabies.
Cochise County officials also warned the public of rabies after an increase in animal bites in 2023. Residents have been advised to avoid contact with wild animals.
It's also important to be cautious around stray domesticated animals who could have been exposed to the virus. If you see an animal displaying suspicious behavior or signs of illness. In Cochise County, residents can call the Animal Control Division at 520-803-3550.
Enjoy Wildlife from a Distance in Arizona
The Arizona Game and Fish Department reminds Arizona residents to enjoy wildlife from a distance. Always keep your pets up to date on rabies vaccinations.
If you are bitten by a wild animal or have contact with the saliva of a wild animal, seek immediate medical attention. Rabies is treatable, but treatment has to start quickly to prevent serious complications or death.
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