Some eastern coast states classify raccoons as a rabies vector species. Any animal designated as a RVS means that animal is known to be a carrier of rabies with the potential for transmitting rabies to humans and pets.

Rabies is a serious viral disease nearly always fatal to animals and potentially fatal to humans if treatment isn’t begun as soon as possible. A rabid animal biting a human or other animal is the primary way rabies is transmitted. However, you could become infected if rabies-infected saliva, feces or blood finds its way into your bloodstream via skin cuts or splashing into your mouth or eyes.

5 Signs of a Sick or Rabid Raccoon

  1. Has difficulty walking or walking like their hind legs are partially paralyzed. Rabid raccoons may also walk in circles or back and forth repeatedly.
  2. Exhibits disoriented, slow or confused behavior. Healthy raccoons will do purposeful things, like eat, sniff the ground or examine their surroundings in an alert manner.
  3. Is making odd, screechy or bark-like noises. Normal raccoons tend to chatter quietly among each other or make loud noises when mating or fighting. Single raccoons foraging alone shouldn’t make crazy noises.
  4. Is foaming at the mouth or visibly drooling excessive saliva. Rabies causes drooling when it damages the animal’s nervous system and ability to swallow.
  5. Acts aggressively when you approach it. Most healthy animals run away when humans approach them. A sick animal may growl, snap its jaws or even attack you.

What To Do When You Have a Possible Sick Raccoon in Your Yard

  • Do not attempt to capture it
  • Do not try to get a “closer look” to determine if the animal is sick or rabid
  • Do not chase the animal

If you think a raccoon or other animal roaming around your home has rabies, distemper or is otherwise unwell, call Critter Control® of Reno at 775-322-5558 for help. We will dispatch trained technicians who can safely capture and remove the animal so you, your family and your pets are no longer in danger of being bitten by a sick, wild animal.

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