Saturday, May 19, 2012

How to avoid rabid animals on a day hike

Raccoons account for a large percentage
of rabies cases in people. Photo courtesy
of Maryland DNR.
Rabies affects the nervous system and can be fatal, especially among children. Raccoons, foxes, coyotes and skunks all are common carriers. They can spread it to humans by biting us.

You can avoid rabies by not trying to feed wild animals, which invites bites. Also, stay away from animals that show signs of having rabies; for example, if you see a nocturnal animal wandering around during daylight hours (and the list of common carriers above are mainly nocturnal), rabies is a distinct possibility for their behavior. Other signs of rabies are animals that are unsteady on their feet, that have lost their natural fear of man, or that behave oddly.

If bitten by a rabid animal (or any animal for that matter), get immediate medical attention.

Read more about day hiking with children in my guidebook Hikes with Tykes.