Raccoons are nature's cheery little bandits, cute little guys with eerily hand-like forepaws who raid garbage at night and generally keep to themselves. In some places, sadly, they're also the go-to vector for spreading deadly rabies (along with bats) and cute or not, present a real danger to the unwary.
Like Hope, Maine, resident Rachel Borch, who recently discovered it's often bad news to see a raccoon hanging around in the middle of the day.
While jogging on a familiar, overgrown, wooded trail near her home on a recent warm afternoon, Rachel Borch thought to herself, “what a beautiful day.”
Little did she know she was about to be attacked by a rabid raccoon she would end up killing with her bare hands.
In the midst of appreciating the weather and scenery, she looked ahead and noticed a raccoon obstructing the narrow foot path, baring its tiny teeth.
This is all kind of cartoonish, sure, but Borch was in real danger, and she knew it.
"I knew instantly it had to be rabid," Borch told the Bangor paper. Serious adrenaline kicked in, and Borch knew she couldn't escape. She pulled out her earbuds and dropped her phone, reports BDN, and the next thing she knew the raccoon was on her.
"Imagine the Tasmanian devil... It was terrifying," said Borch.
Unable to get away, Rachel Borch essentially waded into the fight. The raccoon bit her thumb and was scrabbling at her with its claws—and she plunged the deranged animal's "head down into the muck."
It struggled, scratching and still biting her thumb, but Borch held on till her attacker was still. Then: "... I just bolted as fast as I could through the underbrush."
No shit. Borch also said, as you'd expect, the experience "felt like [Stephen King's] Pet Sematary." This is Maine we're talking about, after all.
Borch's father later put the animal's body in a Taste of the Wild (no, seriously) dog food bag and gave it to Animal Control authorities to test for rabies—which Animal Control Officer Heidi Blood confirmed it had.
"It really was just dumb luck," Borch told BDN, "I’ve never killed an animal with my bare hands. I’m a vegetarian."
Rachel Borch is being treated for exposure to rabies. And even though Stephen King has warned us all hundreds of times, it's once again been confirmed: stay the hell out of the woods in Maine.