Grey foxes are abundant in most areas of the United States as well as southern Canada and Mexico. Grey foxes are often found inhabiting rocky canyons and ridges, but they are also prevalent within dry grassland regions and areas of open desert. Interestingly, the grey fox is the only member of the fox family that can climb up trees in search of prey or to escape from predators. Grey foxes are able to climb trees due to the hooked claws that they posses. While these claws are very sharp and intimidating, it is a fox’s bite that people have to worry about, as foxes can carry rabies. For example, a nine year old boy sustained a fox bite in southern Arizona last March. The fox-culprit was captured, and tests showed that it had been carrying rabies. Luckily, the boy underwent the necessary medical treatments and has since made a full recovery.
On March 28, a nine year old boy was bitten by a grey fox while at the Chiricahua National Monument near Tucson, Arizona. The Arizona Department of Health Services announced that the fox had tested positive for rabies. According to the Arizona Game and Fish Department’s Public Information Officer, Mark A. Hart, the boy was treated for his injury at the Tucson Medical Center the day he was attacked, but he had to undergo additional treatments after it was learned that the fox had been rabid. The fox was later euthanized.
The young boy and his parents were located near a road in a well-populated and scenic area of the park when the boy sustained the bite on his left calf. In order to capture the fox for testing, park rangers, officials with the U.S. Department of Agriculture, and the Cochise County Sheriff’s Division of Animal Control had to combine their efforts. As of last May, 39 confirmed rabies cases have been recorded in the state of Arizona. Thirty one of these rabies cases occurred as a result of wild animal attacks within Pima, Pinal, Cochise and Santa Cruz counties, all of which are located in southern Arizona near the national park where the boy was attacked by a rabid fox.
Do you fear wild animal attacks while spending time in unpopulated outdoor settings?