Woman Attacked by Raccoon in Arlington Heights

Arlington Heights police received a report about 11:05 p.m. Thursday that a woman was attacked by a raccoon in Arlington Heights. The address where the attack took place was not available at the time of this posting. An Arlington Heights police officer met the victim at the Northwest Community Hospital Emergency Department to get details of the incident.


Raccoons in a window well in Arlington Heights in 2007.

Raccoon Attack Last Year in Lakeland, Florida
On Saturday October 3, 2009, a woman was attacked by five raccoons in the 1200 block of Waterford Drive in Lakeland, Florida. Five raccoons bit the woman in her neck, chest, legs, head and back. The attack occurred after the woman shooed the raccoons away from her patio. When she shooed the raccoons away from her front door minutes later, the raccoons attacked. When the woman fell, the raccoons continued their attack. Some of the bites were severe.

Raccoons can carry rabies, a lethal disease caused by the neurotropic rabies virus carried in the saliva and transmitted by bites. Its spread began in Florida and Georgia in the 1950s. Of the 6,940 documented rabies cases reported in the United States in 2006, 2,615 (37.7%) were in raccoons. The U.S. Department of Agriculture, as well as local authorities in several U.S. states and Canadian provinces, has developed oral vaccination programs to fight the spread of the disease in endangered populations. The oral vaccinations are added to bait food.

Among the main symptoms for rabies in raccoons are a generally sickly appearance, impaired mobility, abnormal vocalization, and aggressiveness. Raccoons with rabies may show no visible signs at all, however, and most raccoons do not show the aggressive behavior seen in infected dogs — rabid raccoons often retire to their dens instead.


Organizations like the U.S. Forest Service encourage people to stay away from animals with unusual behavior or appearance, and to notify the proper authorities, such as an animal control officer from the local health department. Since healthy animals, especially nursing mothers, will occasionally forage during the day, daylight activity is not a reliable indicator of illness in raccoons.

A raccoon’s top running speed is 10 to 15 mph for short distances. Raccoons can swim about 3 mph. Raccoons are capable of staying in water for hours. Raccoons often climb trees, and can often sit in the crook of a tree about 25 feet overhead where they are unnoticed by most people. At night while prowling, they often walk right along the front of a house-to-house between the landscaping bushes and the walls of the homes.

Arlington Heights police frequently are called for suspicious noises in the middle of the night or very early morning hours. The rustling in the yard often turns out to be a prowling raccoon.

See also …
Lakeland Ledger Woman Recovering After Lakeland Raccoon Attacks