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Contact: Beth Hudick
TUCSON, Ariz. – Reports of deceased animals and strange wildlife behavior has Saguaro National Park concerned that rabies may be a possible cause. The park urges visitors who have physical contact with an animal to notify park staff and seek medical attention immediately.
Park staff recently discovered several deceased foxes and have received reports of abnormal animal behavior in foxes and racoons, as well as one reported incident of a bobcat biting a visitor. No carcasses have yet been recovered for testing to determine the cause of illness in these animals.
Rabies is a viral disease that is spread through saliva during a bite, scratch, or mucus membrane contact with an infected animal. Rabies is very preventable in humans with proper medical care given shortly after an exposure to the rabies virus, but it’s almost always fatal if untreated before disease develops.
Visitors should observe all wildlife from a safe and respectful distance and never pick up or handle a wild animal. Visitors with pets should ensure that all rabies vaccinations are up to date and should discuss any wildlife bites with their veterinarian. As always, pets in the park must be on a 6-foot leash at all times and are only allowed on certain trails. Please see https://www.nps.gov/sagu/planyourvisit/pets.htm for more information.
Last updated: January 23, 2024