NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — A peaceful stroll through Central Park turned into a midsummer nightmare for a Brooklyn woman. She was attacked by two potentially rabid raccoons.
Taraka Larson told CBS 2’s Vanessa Murdock on Thursday that she just wanted to enjoy a quiet evening in nature.
“He gets his claws on me and starts gnawing on my leg,” Larson said.
She said she was walking Tuesday night in the park somewhere between 59th Street and the pond when she spotted two small, scrawny raccoons.
“The raccoons being there didn’t startle me. I thought this is so nice,” Larson said.
She snapped a photo and then noticed something seemed a little off with the creatures.
“It just seemed like they didn’t have a center of gravity. Their movements were very bizarre,” Larson said.
She said she continued to watch in wonder.
“They both started coming over to me,” Larson said.
She said she stayed put and tried to stay calm.
“I didn’t want to scare them, you know? They came up and started sniffing my legs. One of them climbs up on my shoe. Ohhhh, stay calm,” Larson said.
That’s when things turned ugly.
“I kicked him off and I start running,” she said.
Larson asked for first aid at the plaza to tend the scratches and bite marks still visible near her ankle.
“You don’t need Band-Aids or Neosporin. You might have rabies. You need an EMT,’ she recalled being told.
She ended up at St. Luke’s Roosevelt Hospital.
“I got like 15 shots. It was crazy,” Larson said.
Joshua Dreisacker of Westchester Wildlife said it’s hard to know if a raccoon is rabid.
“Not from looking at it at the beginning of the sickness, if it’s foaming at the mouth that’s one thing,” Dreisacker said. “They can carry distemper, ringworm, other things you wouldn’t be able to tell from just looking at.”
So it’s best never to pet a wild animal. If one approaches, head the other way, something Larson will likely do the next time.
Larson said she will receive six more doses of the of rabies vaccine. The New York City Parks Department told CBS 2 that based on the account reported, there is no indication the raccoons were rabid.
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