Deputy Health Officer Siobhan Spano said the township tested 20 animals for rabies this year, of which four raccoons—the most common carrier—tested positive. Additionally, three bats, one otter and the one groundhog also proved rabid. She said that is a slightly higher number of rabid animals than usual for the township.
The groundhog was tested after a resident reported it acting unusual—in this case, running in a circle.
"Usually, we only test animals if a bite is involved," she said, which fortunately, wasn't the case in this instance.
However, rabies spread to a groundhog may indicate more raccoons are infected than usual, so residents are urged to take precautions to prevent contact with any rabid animals:
- 1. Don't feed your pets outside, or leave food outside.
- 2. Secure garbage can lids.
- 3. Supervise pets when outside. "They can come in contact or get in a fight with a rabid animal and you wouldn't know it," Spano said.
- 4. Report any unusual behavior by animals to police or St. Hubert's Giralda. "Even friendly behavior by a wild animal," she said. "If you see a fox that looks like it wants you to come over to pet it—that's unusual behavior."