It all happened so fast: one minute, a rabid raccoon was encircling Rachel Borch. The next, she was drowning the animal with her bare hands.
Borch, a 21-year-old Maine resident, was out jogging one fine day in her hometown of Hope. She was running on a trail near her home when the unthinkable happened.
A raccoon suddenly crawled out of the shrubbery and bounded her like "a Tasmanian devil," she told Bangor Daily News. Borch decided to dance around the animal while thinking of an escape plan.
"I knew instantly it had to be rabid. I knew it was going to bite me," she said.
A Horror Story
At this point, the raccoon could pounce on Borch any moment. When faced in a dangerous situation such as this, there isn't much time for a person to ponder what they're going to do. Any wrong move can lead to the person losing the upper hand against the beast and face early demise. Borch knew she needed to act as fast as she can.
A few seconds later, the raccoon bit into Borch's thumb and viciously scratched at her limbs, flailing off of her ferociously. Because of this, Borch said she didn't think she could strangle the raccoon with her bare hands.
That's when her phone fell off into deep, murky puddle next to the trail. The phone was completely submerged but it gave Borch a gruesome way of escaping from the raccoon.
With the raccoon's mouth still on Borch's thumb, she tried her might to push the raccoon's head down into the muck. The beast was still struggling and scratching her arms, but Borch managed to maintain her focus in drowning the animal, despite its attempts to eat away at her fingers. Afterward, the animal's arms fell to its side while its chest heaved slowly. The rabid raccoon was dead.
Borch then ran home, aware of the possible effects of a raccoon's bite on her. She was terrified and scared that she might begin foaming at the mouth. She was rushed to the hospital immediately, where she received rabies vaccine as well as immunoglobulin and tetanus injections.
Meanwhile, Borch's father found the dead raccoon and delivered the carcass to Maine Warden Services. The animal tested positive for rabies.
Borch, who is now recuperating, said she always thought of raccoons as cute, cuddly animals.
"I just will never look at them the same way," she added.
What To Do If You're Bitten By A Rabid Raccoon
Officials in Maine warn residents to be careful of any similar incidents because if one raccoon is infected, others are likely infected, too. Although there have been reported cases of people surviving rabies, most infected patients die after the symptoms emerge. Some symptoms include fever, prickling sensation in the wound site, itching, discomfort, anxiety, headache, insomnia, hypersensitivity to light, fatigue, and difficulty drinking water.
Health officials suggest that if you or anyone you know has been bitten by a rabid raccoon, you must immediately get admitted to the hospital and receive vaccination. First aid can be done before the injection. This involves washing the wound with soap and water, then cleaning the wound area thoroughly.