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Wild animals in Connecticut sometimes bite

Americans typically have a relatively benign attitude towards wild animals. We are used to seeing them in zoos, in the movies and as adorable cartoons. 200 years ago, Americans saw wild animals as a source of food and as a threat.

We, on the other hand, are far less likely to have experienced a charging bear sow protecting her young or a rabid raccoon. The greatest risk most people face is the prospect of a car accident caused by striking a deer crossing a highway.

Because of the novelty of seeing a wild animal, and a lack of experience dealing with them, we may be lulled into expecting them to behave with cartoon cuteness, and not bite our hands literally, as we feed them or otherwise attack.

We should be far more cautious, as the Connecticut Department of Public Health has reported that last year there were 2,303 animals in the state that were tested for rabies, and 183 of those tested positive.

And of those, 96 were raccoons. Raccoons pose a duel threat. If infected, they may behave erratically, including showing no fear of humans during daylight hours. This is a warning sign that they could have rabies and you should avoid any contact.

They also could interact with pets, like cats or dogs, and infect those animals. With summer approaching and children out of school, there is the additional concern that they could infect a child who believes the raccoon is a friendly pet from a movie or they could transfer the rabies to your pets and they in turn, your children. Animal bites can injure children and if the animal is rabid, require urgent treatment.

You should educate your children to not treat any wild animal as a pet, and supervise children who are too young to recognized

Source: wtnh.com, "Rabies a big problem in Connecticut during spring," Bob Wilson, May 5, 2015

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