Hi, it’s me, Bobby
I’ve been laying low for awhile–or you could say stalking–in my enclosure at Wildworks, but I thought I would get up off my tiny tail briefly and share something with you.
I just want to start by saying this–I DON’T HAVE RABIES. And you don’t either. At least I don’t think we do but unfortunately, because we’re mammals, we can’t be 100% sure. Now if you were a bird or a reptile or a fish or something I could say no possible way; but most mammals can actually carry rabies.
The only way to know for sure that we don’t have the disease is to cut off our heads and examine our brains. I can help you with that if you like. Just kidding, Purrr.
Mollie tells me that many people at wildlife programs ask if I have it. In fact, it’s one of the most common questions asked by everyone about wild animals. Well, for one thing, Mollie wouldn’t be handling animals in programs if they had rabies. And the good thing is, as fatal diseases go, it’s hard to catch, even for me.
A little humor there, ha ha.
First you would need to get bitten by another mammal that for sure has rabies or somehow get the saliva from a rabid mammal into your body through a cut or something. Now, what are the odds? People often think that bobcats automatically have rabies but give me a break. I was born at a fur farm and then sold as a pet. I’ve never been bitten by anybody–no one would dare– and I get vaccinated for rabies just like my close relative, your housecat at home. Just for the record, I do occasionally bite when people stimulate my wild instincts and play rough with me so it might be almost reasonable to assume I had rabies if you already knew that the disease spreads itself through biting. The truth is, that for bobcats and other wild animals and dogs too, biting is most often a defensive behavior. We’re not sick. We just want you to leave us alone.
These days rabies is found mostly in mammals living out in nature. But currently, here in California, hardly any of my wild friends ever have it. Bats, skunks, raccoons and foxes are the biggest carriers but somebody told me that the last case of a human death from rabies in California was a guy who had been bitten by a dog in a foreign country and never got treated for the bite, which you can do, by the way, through getting a couple of shots after you’re bitten. And they say people are the smartest animals.
However, one thing to mention here is, if you’re not in California, say you’re in Arizona, you might want to be more careful. In fact, there’s a true story that I heard recently that goes like this: A bobcat goes into a bar..I know it sounds like a bad joke…but a wild bobcat that actually did have rabies, wandered into a bar and then proceeded to bite anybody he could get to. Everyone had to get the shots. Nobody died…well, except the bobcat.
Wild animals that live in a protected environment like Wildworks are all vaccinated so you don’t have to worry about them. Hopefully, your pets are all vaccinated too so you don’t have to worry about them either.
Actually, you don’t really have to worry about anything. I suggest you take my bobcat advice and sleep on it.
Time for my nap.
Catch ya later. Promise not to bite.