A fox allegedly bit a woman and then chased her inside her home in an apartment complex off Union Street in Bangor, but the Maine Warden Service said there’s no way to know if the fox was rabid or not.
Wardens were contacted on May 13 by a woman living at Longrale Apartments, just off Union Street near the Interstate 95 on and off ramps. The woman said a fox began to chase her outside her apartment and bit her before she ran inside, according to Sargent Alan Gillis of the Maine Warden Service.
The woman initially called Bangor police, who forwarded the call onto the warden service. The woman went to walk-in care and was treated for potential rabies exposure. Game wardens were unable to find the fox in question.
The following day, game wardens located a dead fox in the area near the apartment complex, Gillis said. The Maine Center for Disease Control and Prevention was contacted, but Gillis said the dead fox was not tested for rabies as there was no way to know if it was the fox that bit the woman.
“There’s no need to test a dead fox, because there’s no way to confirm that it was the same fox that was involved in that incident. And if we did test it and it did test positive for rabies, well, same problem,” Gillis said. “The woman did the right thing and consulted her physician and was treated for rabies exposure, just to be safe.”
Foxes and other wildlife are regularly spotted in Bangor, especially near the Bangor Municipal Golf Course, despite the density of housing within its urban center. Gillis said foxes and other wildlife acting aggressively toward people or biting them is a far less common occurrence. He said the May 13 fox bite was the first he’d heard of in Bangor this year.
“People see wildlife outside every day, and some people will panic, especially when they see them in the daytime,” Gillis said. “They think ‘Oh, that fox must be rabid.’ In reality, that is seldom the case. And we have very few species that are truly nocturnal.”
Gillis said animals living in towns and cities get fairly habituated to human contact.
“I tell people that they need to be concerned when an animal is acting aggressively, unprovoked, out of the blue. That is a problem,” he said. “And you should never, ever attempt to handle any wildlife. Not only is it unwise, it’s illegal.”