HEALTH

Zombie raccoons in Provo? A warning from Provo PD…

Jan 15, 2020, 5:19 PM | Updated: 5:49 pm
(Credit: Provo Police, Twitter)
(Credit: Provo Police, Twitter)

PROVO – The Provo Police Department is warning everyone… stay away from “zombie raccoons.”

Yes, it’s a real thing.

Picture in your mind the movie Elf, starring Will Ferrell, and think of the scene where Buddy finds a raccoon and tries to give it a hug.  Not wanting to be touched, the raccoon rips Buddy apart.

Animal control officials that’s what can happen when someone approached a raccoon with Canine Distemper.

Over the past several months, Provo police say they’ve been getting calls from people seeing raccoons act out of sorts and walking funny in the streets.

“We’ve had quite a few calls where kids were following them around the neighborhood and concerned neighbors will call it in to us.  That’s absolutely not what we want,” says Animal Control Officer Elena Farnsworth.

In certain ways, some of the symptoms of distemper may look like rabies.  The animal has watery eyes, a runny nose and may appear to be wandering aimlessly.  However, rabid animals are usually aggressive while animals with this distemper are usually calmer.

“A lot of times, these raccoons’ eyes will be so gunked over, they can’t really see.  That’s part of why they’re probably not reacting to your being there,” she says.

The raccoons may seem so docile and approachable, they may give off the impression that they wouldn’t mind if you pet them.  That would be a huge mistake, though.  Farnsworth says the animals will respond, violently.

She says, “It will bite you.  They don’t want to be touched.”

So far, none of the raccoons they’ve taken in have tested positive for rabies.  Plus, distemper itself isn’t contagious to humans. However, Farnsworth says, “That doesn’t mean that there are not secondary bacterial infections that these raccoons are suffering from.”  Some have tested positive for things like E. Coli.

Today’s Top Stories

Health

FILE - In a May 19, 2015 file photo, R. Scott Turner, Professor of Neurology and Director of the Me...
Curt Gresseth

Who are SuperAgers and are you one?

The public policy director with the Utah Alzheimer's Association describes the characteristics of so-called SuperAgers and what everyone can do now to reduce the risk of developing Alzheimer's disease.
1 day ago
Gov. Cox mental health...
Mark Jackson

Utah’s Coordinated Action Plan for Water released this week

Utah’s Coordinated Action Plan for Water was released Wednesday by Gov. Spencer Cox and state agencies.
1 day ago
The Utah Department of Agriculture and Food announced Wednesday two new cases of avian influenza....
Mark Jones

Two new cases of avian influenza announced Wednesday

Two new cases of avian influenza have been confirmed by the Utah Department of Agriculture and Food. The new cases are in Iron and Utah counties.
2 days ago
Utah Naloxone...
Devin Oldroyd

Utah Naloxone and law enforcement reach milestone in preventing overdose deaths

Utah Naloxone reports over 600 lives in Utah have been saved thanks to law enforcement's use of naloxone (Narcan®).
4 days ago
Primary Children's Medical Center has canceled some scheduled surgeries and other procedures this w...
Simone Seikaly

Citing rising RSV cases, Primary Children’s delaying some surgeries

Primary Children's is delaying pre-scheduled and non-emergency procedures that would require an inpatient stay.
4 days ago
Shortages of antivirals and antibiotics compound the stress of this year's early and severe respira...
Brenda Goodman and Raenu Charles, CNN

Shortages of antivirals, antibiotics compound stress of a rough season for viral illnesses in kids

Shortages of key medications used to treat common childhood illnesses like flu, ear infections, and sore throats are adding to the misery of this year's early and severe respiratory virus season.
9 days ago

Sponsored Articles

Spicy Homemade Loaded Taters Tots...
Macey's

5 game day snacks for the whole family (with recipes!)

Try these game day snacks to make watching football at home with your family feel like a special occasion. 
Happy joyful smiling casual satisfied woman learning and communicates in sign language online using...
Sorenson

The best tools for Deaf and hard-of-hearing workplace success

Here are some of the best resources to make your workplace work better for Deaf and hard-of-hearing employees.
Team supporters celebrating at a tailgate party...
Macey's

8 Delicious Tailgate Foods That Require Zero Prep Work

In a hurry? These 8 tailgate foods take zero prep work, so you can fuel up and get back to what matters most: getting hyped for your favorite
christmas decorations candles in glass jars with fir on a old wooden table...
Western Nut Company

12 Mason Jar Gift Ideas for the 12 Days of Christmas [with recipes!]

There are so many clever mason jar gift ideas to give something thoughtful to your neighbors or friends. Read our 12 ideas to make your own!
wide shot of Bear Lake with a person on a stand up paddle board...

Pack your bags! Extended stays at Bear Lake await you

Work from here! Read our tips to prepare for your extended stay, whether at Bear Lake or somewhere else nearby.
young boy with hearing aid...
Sorenson

Accommodations for students who are deaf and hard of hearing

These different types of accommodations for students who are deaf and hard of hearing can help them succeed in school.
Zombie raccoons in Provo? A warning from Provo PD…