fb-pixelWoman kills rabid raccoon with bare hands during struggle - The Boston Globe Skip to main content

Woman kills rabid raccoon with bare hands during struggle

Rachel Borch, 21, stood in the woods near her home in Hope, Maine.Alex Acquisto

A fearless woman took on a vicious raccoon and won.

The unexpected battle took place on a wooded trail in Hope, Maine, on June 2 while Rachel Borch was out for a jog. As she was running, she encountered the raccoon on the path and it began charging toward her.

“I knew instantly it had to be rabid,” Borch, 21, told the Bangor Daily News.

“Imagine the Tasmanian devil,” she said. “It was terrifying.”

Hope Animal Control Officer Heidi Blood said Borch couldn’t get away from the aggressive raccoon.

“She was kicking and dancing around trying to get it away from her, but she wasn’t able to,” Blood said in a telephone interview.


When the raccoon bit down on her thumb and refused to let go, Borch took the raccoon over to a puddle and held its head under water. She held it there until it drowned, Blood said.

“How this girl had the peace of mind to do what she did boggles me,” said Blood. “The only defense she had was a mud puddle nearby.”

As soon as she freed herself from the grip of the raccoon’s teeth, Blood said “she kicked her shoes off and ran like the dickens back home.”

“She told her mom what happened, and they jumped in the car and went to the hospital.”

Blood said Borch’s father retrieved the raccoon’s body, which subsequently tested positive for rabies at the Center for Disease Control and Prevention in Augusta.

Blood said Borch was released from the hospital later that day and is “well on her way to healing.”

Blood praised the way Borch handled the situation and said such attacks are very rare.

Emily Sweeney can be reached at esweeney@globe.com. Follow her on Twitter @emilysweeney.