A Maine man was working in his yard last week when he was attacked by a pair of foxes. The 79-year-old was using a motorized trimming in his back yard when the first fox attacked, knocking him to the ground.
“One fox grabbed my muck boots and it tried to drag me away,” James Collins said. “I was lying on the ground trying to keep the weed wacker between me and the fox.”
Collins struck the fox until it ran off and was able to make his way to his back steps before he was charged by the second fox.
“I looked down about 100 yards and I could see him running towards me,” he said. “The young fox made a beeline for me like a shark through water, and foxes don’t do that. For some reason, they were very aggressive and weren’t scared of humans.”
Collins used a cane he had nearby to strike the fox until it ran off. It wasn’t the first time the man had seen the foxes, but it was the first time they had been aggressive toward him.
Collins was bitten numerous times on his arms and legs and received medical treatment for rabies, even though authorities weren’t certain the foxes were rabid. “We have to at least suspect they have rabies,” Collins said.
Because foxes are normally afraid of people, when they do approach humans it is often an indicator that they are rabid, according to Scott Lindsay, a regional wildlife biologist at the Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife.
“If people see foxes or raccoons in the area acting strangely like walking in circles or acting lethargic, those are signs that there’s some type of neurological issue going on and should be reported,” said Mark Latti, communications director of the IF&W.