Animals are acting strange at an Arizona national park. Now officials have theory why

Animals are showing strange behavior at an Arizona national park, and officials said it may be from rabies.

Foxes, raccoons and a bobcat have been reported acting odd at Saguaro National Park near Tucson, park officials said in a Jan. 23 news release.

Additionally, several foxes have been found dead, officials said.

This latest report from officials comes after a 66-year-old was attacked by a bobcat Sunday, Jan. 21, in Saguaro National Park East, McClatchy News previously reported.

The animal bit and scratched the person, sending them to a hospital with injuries, officials said. It is still on the loose.

Officials suspected the bobcat may have rabies. Now they think some foxes and raccoons within the park are also infected with the virus.

No animals or their carcasses have been recovered or tested, officials said. However, officials are warning visitors to take “extra precautions” while visiting the park.

Saguaro National Park is separated into eastern and western sections around Tucson. The eastern park is about 20 miles southeast of downtown Tucson.

What are the signs of a rabid animal?

Rabies is a viral infection that can be transmitted to animals and humans, according to the National Park Service.

When an animal becomes infected with rabies, they can lose their fear of humans and appear sleepy, confused or aggressive, officials said.

An animal may also drool more, have trouble moving, look paralyzed or bite at the air, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said.

Some animals don’t show any signs of the virus, the CDC said.

How to prevent getting rabies

To avoid getting rabies, people should keep a distance from wildlife and report sick animals to rangers or wildlife officials, the NPS said. This includes not touching wildlife.

Small openings on homes, cabins and tents should also be blocked off so wildlife can’t get through, officials said.

Officials also advise teaching children about the dangers of rabies.

If someone is bitten by an animal, immediate medical attention should be sought.

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