A fox with a rodent in its mouth pauses after crossing a road in Phippsburg in 2010. Credit: Troy R. Bennett / BDN

A Woolwich man had to use a weed wacker and a cane to fight off a pair of possibly rabid foxes last week, according to various media accounts.

“I felt something I was tripping over,” 79-year-old James Collins told WGME on Monday. “And I looked down and it was a damn fox trying to jerk my leg. So I kicked him off, and he came over and grabbed the other one. Then I fell down and I’m trying to get the weed whacker between me and him.”

Collins said he got rid of the first fox that attacked him by hitting it on the nose with the weed whacker. Then came the second attack, WGME reported.

“The second one come straight at me, and I mean just fast,” Collins said. “I had a cane here and I picked it up and just started hitting the hell out of him.”

Collins was bitten 15 times on his legs and arms and said he would have been hurt worse had he not been wearing his muck boots. The location of his wounds includes his arms and legs and he received medical treatment for rabies, according to the Associated Press and WGME.

As many as 100 animals test positive for rabies each year in Maine, and many are foxes, which normally shy away from humans, said Mark Latti, spokesperson for the Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife, WGME reported.

One fox “ran quite a distance in order to attack this person,” Latti said. “That’s highly unusual.”

Collins’ harrowing incident is among 18 attacks on humans and their pets by rabid foxes in the neighboring city of Bath over the last two years as the city had a rabies outbreak.

Portland also had an incident with rabies on Monday — the discovery of a rabid bat — which forced officials from that city to warn residents to avoid wild animals.

Anyone who sees a sick or rabid animal should call 911 or their local animal control officer immediately, police have said.