A rabid fox is suspected by many when a fox is confiding to humans. But this is not an indication, because foxes are often curious and observe people. Due to their way of life, which makes them live close to people, they are less afraid of them. Therefore, a fox not running away from humans is not an indication of a rabid fox. Several signs must be present here.
Rabid fox, how to recognize?
It is true that a fox infected with rabies, among other things, no longer run away from people. But this alone is not a sign, as we have already described above. Indications that it is a rabid fox are, among other things, foaming at the mouth and a violent salivation. Often, the animals can also no longer run well and the hind legs collapse when running.
These are all circumstantial and the rabies virus can only be detected if the animal is killed. Then it is examined by a veterinarian to detect the rabies viruses. But fortunately, Germany has been rabies-free since 2008 and therefore no one has to worry about a rabid fox attacking a human.
Certainly there are individual cases, but they are extremely small. Therefore, anyone who sees the above signals in a fox should notify a wildlife station, alternatively a hunter or the police.
Rabid fox discovered, what to do?
If you are not sure, keep your distance from the animal. Never follow the fox or corner him. This serves to tempt it to bite you, because it gets scared. This behavior is also shown by healthy foxes when they are cornered. If the fox does not leave on its own, you should call the wildlife center.
The reason why we always list the wildlife station first is for a reason. Because hunters usually act by shooting the animal, while the wildlife station takes care of the animal's life and only kills the animal in case of emergency. A common situation why a fox is in contact with humans in the name at all is its feeding behavior, which can be well acted out in inhabited areas.
He visits the gardens of the residential areas and looks there for edible things. If he is discovered by a human, he may try to escape and end up in a garden fence. He may not be able to find the exit he used as an entrance and here you should support the animal. For example, go back into the house so that he does not see you, or open a garden gate so that he can easily escape.
If this does not succeed, then it is again regardless of whether it is a rabid or healthy fox, to call in the wildlife assistance. Sometimes members of NABU who have experience with foxes can also help. Often they can establish a connection to experienced "fox hunters".
What happens if you get rabies?
The rabies virus enters the bloodstream through the bite wound and causes initial pain at the bite site. Not as it is the case with a conventional bite wound, but the pain is stronger than from a pure bite. A short time later the infected person gets a brain inflammation and the clinical picture changes quickly and with massive effects.
Anxiety, confusion, and paralysis occur, and the infected person becomes restless. He suffers from hallucinations and insomnia. As the disease progresses, the cranial nerves become paralyzed, followed by pharyngeal paralysis and loss of the ability to swallow. Rabies treatment is only successful at the beginning of the infection. Otherwise, it is fatal in almost all cases.
A good protection against rabies is a vaccination against it. However, this should be well considered, since there are almost no more cases of rabies in Germany.
Oral vaccination for foxes
As funny as this sounds, however, it is important so that no rabid fox becomes dangerous for us. This is because special baits that the foxes eat make them immune to the rabies virus. These vaccination baits are laid out by trained people, or dropped by agricultural aircraft. These baits are discs, completely or rectangular, and have a size of 4.5 × 1.5 cm. They are dark gray or brown and have a small plastic container inside.
This plastic container contains a liquid vaccine with a live virus. Once the foxes chew this bait, ingest this vaccine. We as humans should stay away from this vaccine bait. Although the vaccine is harmless, it should not get into open wounds or on mucous membranes. Because there it can cause health damage in humans.
Should you or your pet come into contact with such a vaccine bait, then you should visit your family doctor/veterinarian and describe the situation and the nature of the contamination to him. The vaccine is only effective in foxes and is only approved for use in foxes, so extreme caution should be used.
Rabies vaccination for your cat?
Millions of cats live in Germany, many of them in apartments. There is no general recommendation for vaccination against rabies for cats in Germany. However, according to the "Standing Commission on Vaccination in Veterinary Medicine", outdoor cats should be vaccinated. The reason is simple, because in this way the animals are protected from possible transmission.
The vaccination should also be carried out if trips abroad with the animal are planned, or the animal is given to a boarding kennel. This is because rabies vaccination is almost always mandatory there. The first rabies vaccination in cats usually takes place in the twelfth week of life. After that, a rhythm of 2 to 4 years is recommended. However, this also depends on the preparation used.
Rabies vaccination for your dog?
Here the same applies as with the cats, there is no obligation, but it is recommended. There is no law that requires you to vaccinate, but we would recommend it. The reason for this is that unvaccinated animals that have had contact with a rabid animal must be euthanized. This is not mandatory for a vaccinated dog.
Another reason for the vaccination is if you want to take your dog with you on trips abroad. Because in the European Union it is mandatory that dogs must have a rabies vaccination when crossing the border. The rabies vaccination is also carried out in dogs from the twelfth week of life. The booster takes place after 2-3 years, depending on which preparation is used.
Also for dogs, many boarding kennels require that at least basic immunization, that is, the first vaccination against rabies has been performed.
Rabid fox, do not be afraid
We hope that now we could bring you closer to the topic about rabid foxes. If you have any further questions, please write to us and we will add to this article as needed so that all your questions are answered.
Garden animal - A life with nature
Welcome to my animal blog! My name is Dirk and I am happy to take you on my journey through the fascinating world of animals and gardening.
Born 54 years ago, I have had an insatiable curiosity for the animal world around me since childhood. Although I have moved professionally in other industries, my true passion has always been animals and nature. It is remarkable how a small garden has become such an important part of my life.
Many of my fondest memories are associated with the animals that share our home. Whether it's the curious squirrels that scurry across the trees in the morning, the colorful variety of birds that visit our feeders, or the busy bees and butterflies that pollinate our flowers, every moment with them is invaluable to me.
This blog is my contribution to share my experiences, discoveries and insights with like-minded people. Here I will share stories of unforgettable encounters with animals, give tips on gardening and creating wildlife-friendly habitats, and take you on my journeys through nature.
Thank you so much for being here!
Dirk aka garden animal