A jogger who was attacked by a “rabid raccoon” has told of how she drowned the animal with her bare hands to escape its clutches.
Rachel Borch had been running on a woodland trail near her home in Hope, Maine, when the animal started “bounding” towards her with bared teeth.
The 21-year-old said she knew instantly the raccoon was rabid, telling Knox County’s : “Imagine the Tasmanian devil. It was terrifying.”
“It was one of those moments like out of the Twilight Zone – this isn’t real, this doesn’t happen in real life, but then it was right there and it was right at my feet,” she said.
Ms Borch said she knew the animal was going to bite her, so decided to let it latch on to her hands to give her the best opportunity to defend herself.
The raccoon then reportedly sank its teeth into her thumb and “wouldn’t let go.”
“I didn’t think I could strangle it with my bare hands,” she said, but she did notice a puddle nearby which she thought she could use to get the animal off her.
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“With my thumb in its mouth, I just pushed its head down into the muck,” she said. “It was still struggling and clawing at my arms, [and] it wouldn’t let go of my thumb.”
Eventually the animal stopped moving and its arms fell to the side, she said.
Ms Borch then ran home, terrified of what effect the rabid raccoon’s bite would have on her.
She said she remembered thinking: “Oh, God, what if I just start foaming at the mouth and can’t find my way back?”
Ms Borch was quickly taken to hospital where she received the rabies vaccine and immunoglobulin and tetanus injections.
Her father reportedly retrieved the dead raccoon and delivered it to the Maine Warden Service, where it tested positive for rabies.
“I always thought of raccoons as this cute, cuddly forest animal,” she said. “I just will never look at them the same way.”
Rabies is a virus which is fatal if treatment is not received immediately after exposure.
Rabies in people is extremely uncommon in the US. However, rabies in some animals is common in parts of the country, including Maine.