Rabid Raccoons in Central Park

After years of being pretty much rabies-free, Manhattan has four confirmed rabies cases in 2009, all in raccoons.  One rabid raccoon was found last summer in Inwood Park; the other three were all found dead in Central Park’s North Woods, two in the week of December 7th.

Oh, my lovely Riverside raccoons, what will happen to you?

photo by mola jen/flickr.com

So how is rabies being transmitted around the island? An infected raccoon must have crossed into Manhattan, probably from the Bronx where rabies is quite common. Maybe it took the bridge or swam across at Spuyten Duyvil. Hey, it’s an island, you gotta cross the water somehow.

Henry Hudson & Spuyten Duyvil Bridges by mysticchildz

Maybe it hitched a ride in the back of a truck hauling garbage. Somehow it made its way to Inwood Park at the northern end of the island.

View west from Inwood Hill Park by Baslow/Flickr.com

Then it, or another infected raccoon, travelled south, maybe passing though Riverside Park (oh, my raccoons!), then through city streets

108th & Manhattan Ave.

until it reached the North Woods. Somewhere between 50 and 100 raccoons live pretty densely packed in Central Park, which means we can expect more rabies in the coming months.

Raccoons do venture into Manhattan streets. About a year ago, we saw them for a few weeks on 108th Street between Amsterdam and Broadway. And last summer,  the New York Times described regular forays by North Woods raccoons across 110th Street to raid the garbage cans.

Raccoon in trash can by jeremy

Raccoons, listen up.  It’s a jungle out there. Don’t share saliva with strange raccoons. Don’t bite or get bitten. Don’t scratch or get scratched. Be safe.

Meet you at the wall tonight.

Explore posts in the same categories: 2009, Central Park, December, In the City, NYC Parks, rabies, raccoons, Uncategorized, Wildlife/Natural History

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4 Comments on “Rabid Raccoons in Central Park”

  1. […] always, I was delighted to see them and, of course, pumped them for the latest on Central Park’s rabid raccoons and visiting […]

  2. Charlotte Says:

    Very sad to see raccoons strolling down Broadway. You know they have to be lost or very hungry. Yesterday i say a coyote high tailing it across El Paso and Eagle Rock in the densest traffic; it was amazing he wasn’t hit a dozen times. Not that I love coyotes but the guy was hungry (or he looked hungry) and I felt sorry for him.

  3. Opinion differs on the meaning, but the phrase goes back to the 1600s. Either “in spite of the devil” or “spouting devil” or–my personal favorite–”spitting devil.” Donald the Dutch Duck may well have been the originator of the phrase, although no documentation supports the contention.

  4. Buddy Says:

    Does anyone know what Spuyten Duyvil means? A name, a phrase? Something Donald Duck first said? Thanks sending out advice to help the raccoons out. Only you!

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