Sunday, June 19, 2011

Rabid groundhog bites an Oakland County woman.

A young groundhog (woodchuck) explores Oakland County
photo by Jonathan Schechter

I cringed when I read  one sentence of the news report in my morning paper. "Groundhogs prefer to remain hidden and typically are seen at dawn and dusk"  Oh please!   Hire me!  I'll write your nature news. Anyone who knows nature and the habits of groundhogs knows  this glutteonous creature is not luking in the shadows.  Groundhogs boldly march and munch about backyards, gardens and roadsides all day and are not "typically hidden"!  
With that out of the way here is the serious stuff.
The Michigan Department of Community Health has confirmed a groundhog (same animal as woodchuck) that bit a Southfield Michigan  woman has tested positive for rabies. This is a first for Michigan.
And that should serve as a  serious warning. Although bats and skunks are the usual carriers in Oakland County, ANY mammal can carry and trasmit rabies, a fatal disease of the nervous system transmitted through the bite or saliva of an infected mammal.
 Never approach a wild animal.
Never pick up a wild animal. Even a cute one.
And be sure your dog and cats are vaccinated against rabies.


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