A possibly rabid raccoon attacked a woman out an evening stroll in New York City’s Central Park, Gothamist reports.
Taraka Larson, who plays in the Brooklyn band Prince Rama, encountered the raccoon on Tuesday night near the pond at 59th Street.
“I was having a really nice magical sunset walk with myself, listening to Donna Summer and the sun went down and I was just in the moment, listening and walking and appreciating everything,” Larson told Gothamist. “And I noticed these two little dance partners blocking my path.”
Larson stopped to take an Instagram of one of the raccoons, but the animals got closer and started sniffing around her shoes.
“I thought they would go away,” she said. “And then one of them got on top of my shoes and got under the tongue of my shoe and then wrapped its claws and started to gnaw on my leg. Instinct took over and I kicked it of and ran away.”
After getting help at the Plaza Hotel, Larson was rushed to a nearby urgent care center and later to St. Luke's-Roosevelt Hospital. She was given 15 shots in her ankle to ward off any possible infection and will have to return to the hospital for five more visits.
The number of rabid raccoons in Central Park has increased in recent years, with dozens located by the city’s Department of Mental Health and Hygiene at the start of this year alone. Back in 2008, one Manhattan resident told the New York Times that some of the raccoons he had seen in Central Park were “big like dogs.”
Larson’s advice for avoiding these nocturnal scavengers is simple: “Don’t smell like trash, and if you see raccoons, run away.”