View Full Version : tell tales signs of rabies in fox/coyote/varmints?

February 3, 2002, 06:37 PM
As more and more yuppies move out here from the suburbs and get a 5 acre lot so they can maintain the half acre around the house and let the rest go, we get more and more critters coming around. There's lots of coyotes and coons. I don't have a hunting license and its a little too populated to really hunt them so its hard to keep them thinned out.
Anyway there was a red fox out in the pasture yesterday just running in circles and sitting around from about 12:30 to 1:00 in the afternoon. It went after a crow on the fence a couple times, other than that it just seemed to just be running around. Is that normal ? I'm not real concerned with the fox being around, I don't think theres much harm it can do, as long as it doesn't have rabies or anything. I know what the late stages look like ( erradic behavior, loss of coordination/control of hind limbs, foaming at mouth etc. ) is there anything else to look for?
If I see a coyote on my property, I'll shoot it. With the horses/ foals, and other animals around (and nieghbors little kids) I'm not taking chances with them. Same goes for racoons ( I trap them when I can, and they rarely seem healthy).
If I see something with rabies, I feel like I shouldn't just let it go because it runs across the property line or is out in someones field though. Is there anything that would make you guys want to get a closer look or that would cause concern besides whats really obvious? Thanks

February 3, 2002, 08:59 PM
I had the same experience two weeks ago. My wife and I were sitting inside about 2:00 pm when she saw a Red fox in our field. He was about 40 yds from our house. He walked to our drive way and stated drinking from a mud puddle. At first I thought it was kinda neat. But when my Aunt pulled up in her yard about 50 yds away from the fox I expected him to bolt but he just stood there and watched her. That made me nervous. Other than not being afraid of people(which is really wierd for a wild fox) and being out in the middle of the day he seemed to act normal. He finally wandered behind their barn and then we lost sight of him. We called animal control but since it was a holiday we could not contact them.

February 3, 2002, 09:28 PM
That was the other thing. I walked to within about 100 yards of it, and whistled at it. It looked, my direction. Then sat down and looked the other way for awhile. Then it jumped the fence and lay down next to a pile of brush in the neighbors yard.
It seems that animals in more densely populated areas get to be accustomed to having people around. So I couldn't decide wether it was that big of a deal or not. Theres people in the neighborhood who fed racoons ( 40 lbs of dog food a week!) and theres another house farther down where they were feeding a family of coyotes ( until they started prowling around at night growling at the windows)
Animal control here is a joke. I've heard all sorts of bad and absolutley no good stories about them
I talked to one woman who had an obviously sick/rabid racoon sitting on the fence in her front yard in the middle of the afternoon. They told her they were busy and to go hit it with a shovel.

February 3, 2002, 10:21 PM
On several occaisions I have seen Red Fox chasing golf balls. Drives the golfers bonkers. When the country becomes urbanized, a lot of the critters adapt and pretty well ignore people.

Seems the critters cope better than the humans that get all excited when they don't run and hide.

Get bit, kill the animal if possible and take it to ER with you.

Feedin em not cool.


February 3, 2002, 11:01 PM
The first line of the originating post should have read:

"As more and more rednecks sell their 5 acre lots to successful people from the suburbs....."

Bowser. ;)

Al Thompson
February 4, 2002, 06:56 AM

"The atypical is typical" describes rabies symptomatically in any species of animal. Animals with furious rabies exhibit aggressive signs early in the disease and then become paralyzed. Those with dumb rabies simply become paralyzed and die shortly thereafter. Animals with furious rabies usually have an excitation phase lasting several days. The animal is restless and soon becomes vicious, biting at anything and everything. This action gradually subsides; incoordination and tremors are often apparent. Convulsions, paralysis and prostration occur just prior to death.

An important consideration in reaching a clinical diagnosis of rabies in animals, especially wild ones, is that no sign (or series of signs) is typical or characteristic. Signs of other diseases such as distemper, hepatitis, listeriosis, tetanus, botulism and some parasitic diseases are similar to those of rabies. Encephalitic syndromes can also be caused by plant or chemical toxins. These clinical signs are so varied and overlapping that limited confidence should be placed on a clinical diagnosis of rabies. The only sure way to diagnose rabies is with laboratory tests.

Art Eatman
February 4, 2002, 09:00 AM
Guess I'd suggest to get your own pets vaccinated against rabies, and check around with your neighbors about their pets.

It's not nicest, but certainly safest, to kill any fox, coon, etc., that exhibits "strange" behavior. Better to be safe than to have a kid go through the various medical hassles. A bite is an injury, after all, not to mention the rabies-shot treatment and the emotional trauma.

Texas is seeing great success from a program of air-dropping "sugar pills" of an oral rabies vaccine. In the affected areas, rabies in foxes is down by more than 75%. Rabies in dogs is down over 99%.


February 4, 2002, 12:00 PM
See fox during middle of day acting weird? Shoot the fox.

February 4, 2002, 01:22 PM
I saw a coyote the other day wearing a peta t-shirt and watching the Rosie show- I instantly realized this was a very sick animal and put it out of its misery.

Bottom Gun
February 4, 2002, 03:30 PM
If you do have to shoot a suspicious animal, take a body shot. They'll need the head to test for rabies. This is especially important if someone is bitten.

February 4, 2002, 04:06 PM
Thanks guys
Its not something I'm really worried about. Its just something thats come up and seems to be growing into more of an issue. In the last month we had the fox in the pasture, a racoon in the front yard( I shot it), and I saw a coyote in a field just down the road. All of the horses are vaccinated as well as the dog. The new folks in the neighborhood sort of encourage the problem(feeding wild animals, not mowing lots/maintaining buildings etc.), without knowing any better. So as more of them come along it could get worse.

Bowser, at least the rednecks are getting rich. Those successful people from the suburbs, cough yuppies cough cough, are paying 20K+ PER ACRE, and are buying up the farmland in this particular area as fast as the farmers will sell it. They're not all bad, but who in their right mind shells out that kind of money for land and doesn't do anything with it? They mow the half acre around the house twice a week, fertilize the heck out of it, then complain about how fast it grows, while everything thing else is a waist deep mass of fescue and ragweed.

Art Eatman
February 4, 2002, 04:24 PM
redneck, to go totally OT: There was an article in a magazine published in Montana by land-use-rights folks with an article "Five acres, five miles from town".

With the advent of computers, faxes and modems, this is an alternative to city living while earning a living.

Old-time ranchers, per the article, were upset because once there were 50-mile vistas of open range. These views are now "jangled" by a bunch of houses over a hundred acres of hillside.

Folks in my area are buying such land as they can afford just to control their view. I bought a third of a section next door to me, just for that purpose.


February 5, 2002, 08:41 PM
Art I've read articles like that too. It seems to be happening all over the country :(
I don't blame the people at all for wanting to get away from the city, I just hate to see the area grow up like it has. And while for the most part they're nice people, they try to do everything like they still lived in town and it just doesn't work.
Buying the lots around you is a good idea if you can. We couldn't do that here though.
Maybe I'll come down to texas someday ;) I was down in Fort Worth for a horseshow last August. The only part I didn't like the was the water from the sulfur springs resevoir . My horse didn't either, she ended up drinking 70 gallons of distilled water while we were there.

Art Eatman
February 5, 2002, 09:24 PM
If you get to looking at a map of Texas, the areas northwest of Austin, on westward and staying north of San Antonio have quite a few nice little towns in some real scenic country. Fredericksburg, Mason, Brady, San Saba...All pretty neat areas.


J. Parker
February 6, 2002, 01:58 AM
I was a city guy up until about two years ago. This is my first country home. After working my a** off in the California Bay area for twenty years, by golly, I deserve the peace, tranquillity and freedom that I have.
I didn't "screw up" the neighborhood when I moved here. In fact our family fit right in. Country folks are good people I have found. "My" town is 12 miles away. Population 4,500. As a retiree it's a good place for me and a great place to raise kids.
It could be that alot of city folks desire what alot of us have already. Don't be so harse on city folks. We all deserve the best America has to offer. God Bless America, J. Parker

February 6, 2002, 09:27 PM
I'm not trying to deprive anyone of anything. I said that for the most part their nice people who don't know any better. Some of them fit right in and its great, others don't.
The bottomline is, town used to be more than12 miles away, and its getting closer all the time.Theres talk of annexing 400 acres about a mile and a half up the road for golf courses and housing developments. And there's alot of things we could do out here, that we can't now because of all the houses and people. Sorry if I came across the wrong way. Glad things worked out for you moving to the country. Hopefully it will stay country for you.

J. Parker
February 7, 2002, 01:05 AM
I believe it's zoned "agricultural" so I'm stuck with corn or alfalfa forever.:) Didn't mean nothin' by it. I can see both sides. Best, J. Parker

February 8, 2002, 10:30 AM
Art Eatman Said
If you get to looking at a map of Texas, the areas northwest of Austin, on westward and staying north of San Antonio have quite a few nice little towns in some real scenic country. Fredericksburg, Mason, Brady, San Saba...All pretty neat areas.

Shhhhh. Art, don't tell everyone! Keep it a secret!:D