Bobcat Scratches Trapper. Tests Negative Rabies
(Reprinted from above link)
A bobcat tested negative Wednesday for rabies, a day after the animal scratched a licensed nuisance animal trapper in southern Glynn County, according to Coastal Health District officials.
The trapper brought the live bobcat, in the cage, with him Tuesday when he drove to the emergency room of the Southeast Georgia Health System’s Brunswick hospital, Brunswick Police Capt. Wan Thorpe said. Police referred the man to the state Department of Natural Resources, Thorpe said. The animal was later killed and taken to the Glynn County Public Health Department, officials said.
“The animal scratched him and he wanted to have it ‘dispatched’ and tested for rabies,” a Brunswick police report said. “Officers checked the situation, and the call was transferred to DNR.”
The man had set traps for coyotes on a customer’s property west of U.S. 17 near Interstate 95’s Exit 29, officials said.
The trapper inadvertently caught a bobcat Tuesday, which scratched him as he tried to set it free, said David Mixon, regional supervisor of game management for the state Department of Natural Resources.
Even though rabies was not likely, testing became a virtual necessity after the bobcat scratched the man, Mixon said. Animals must be killed for rabies testing, which requires samples of brain tissue.
The trapper also is employed at Southeast Georgia Health Systems, according to DNR and police.
“As he was trying to release (the bobcat), it took a swipe at him and got him with a claw,” Mixon said.
DNR officials referred him to the Glynn County Health Department, 2747 Fourth Street in Brunswick, Mixon said.
The fact that the bobcat approached and was caught in a trap displayed unlikely behavior for an animal suffering rabies, Mixon said.
Without immediate treatment, rabies is almost always fatal in humans.
“If he caught that animal in a trap, it is very unlikely it is rabid,” Mixon said. “But rabies is not something to be taken lightly. Rabies is 100 percent — there’s no going back from rabies.”
The animal’s head was sent to a public health lab in Waycross, said Coastal Health District spokeswoman Sally Silbermann. She confirmed that the animal tested negative.
With newborn fawns adding to the local dear population during the spring, this is a prime time for property owners to seek the services of a coyote trapper, Mixon said. Georgia’s estimated 250,000 coyotes are found in every part of the state, according to DNR statistics.
“This is a good time of year to capture coyotes because that reduces their predation on fawns,” Mixon said.
Likewise, bobcats are thriving in local forests, Mixon said. Trapping of bobcats is permitted by DNR from Dec. 1 to Feb. 29. But good luck spotting one in the wild, Mixon said.
“Bobcats are very secretive,” he said. “They’ve probably seen you; you just haven’t seen them. They do everything they can not to be seen. That’s how they live their life.”