What's Behind Rabid Raccoon Reports?

By: Brittany Gunter Email
By: Brittany Gunter Email

Rabid raccoons are a worry for many parents and pet owners, so after we received several phones calls of people finding raccoons in their neighborhoods acting strangely we sought out experts to see if it really was rabies.

From parks, to neighborhoods, even outside of restaurants, it’s not hard to find a raccoon out searching for food in Omaha at night.

One person that is definitely not a stranger to the animal is Glen Robey, owner of the Alpine Inn.

“We just get big groups of them. Sometimes you can’t even see the feeder box because of all that fur,” said Robey.

Robey’s been feeding raccoons for over 40 years. You could call him a local expert. So we asked Robey, has he ever had a problem with rabid raccoons?

“I can not really say that I’ve seen a rabid raccoon,” said Robey. What he has seen are raccoons with distemper.

Pam Wiese with the Humane Society said distemper is often mistaken for rabies because they have similar symptoms, but there is a difference. “People can’t catch distemper; it’s not a problem for humans.”

Wiese says the Humane Society has received quite a few calls of sick raccoons lately, but not one of those calls was confirmed as rabies. She believes the issue most likely is distemper, her advice for people, “The best idea if you see a sick raccoon call us and let us come and get him.”

As for Robey he warns people not to touch the animals, but says there’s not harm in watching them through the window like he does.

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