• 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.

rabies has been found in foxes and other wildlife in Cochise County and other places in Arizona
Cute raccoons and other wildlife can be found all over the internet. // Canva
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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.

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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 has been found in foxes and other wildlife in Cochise County and other places in Arizona
Movie poster from the 1957 classic Disney movie, "Old Yeller".// Disney
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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.

rabies has been found in foxes and other wildlife in Cochise County and other places in Arizona
Rabies has been found in bats, skunks, raccoons and foxes in Arizona counties. // Canva
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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.

rabies has been found in foxes and other wildlife in Cochise County and other places in Arizona
Two fox carcusses tested positive for rabies this year in Arizona. // Canva
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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.

rabies has been found in foxes and other wildlife in Cochise County and other places in Arizona
Be sure your pets are up to date on their rabies vaccinations. // Canva
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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.

rabies has been found in foxes and other wildlife in Cochise County and other places in Arizona
Be sure your pets are up to date on their rabies vaccinations. // Canva
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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.

rabies has been found in foxes and other wildlife in Cochise County and other places in Arizona
Raccoons can carry rabies. // Canva
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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.

Beware! The #1 Cause of Death in Arizona Revealed

Here are the top 10 leading causes of death in Arizona, according to the CDC.

Gallery Credit: Val Davidson

LOOK: Here are the pets banned in each state

Because the regulation of exotic animals is left to states, some organizations, including The Humane Society of the United States, advocate for federal, standardized legislation that would ban owning large cats, bears, primates, and large poisonous snakes as pets.

Read on to see which pets are banned in your home state, as well as across the nation.

Gallery Credit: Elena Kadvany

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