Authorities investigated complaints of an aggressive raccoon at the “Edge of the World” rapids in western Dawson County last week, though the alleged culprit appears to have escaped.
More than one caller told safety officials that they “were being chased by a raccoon,” said Dawson County Sheriff’s Deputy Joe Schultz.
They weren’t able to find the critter Dec. 23, but Schultz and Sgt. Shane Henson did alert those visiting the Amicalola Handicap Access Trail off Hwy. 53 to the potential danger.
According to Scott Frazier, Georgia Department of Natural Resources wildlife biologist, “raccoon misbehavior is quite common.”
“It rarely turns out to be aggression,” Frazier said. “Raccoons are easily domesticated, so they’ll sometimes become too tame ... we’ll get calls about them acting funny.”
Frazier was quick to add that raccoons are “one of the suspect animals for rabies in the state, so people should always treat them accordingly.”
He said the best thing to do is “put distance between yourself and the animal.”
“Get back into your vehicle or back inside your home,” he said. “Or if you’re in the wild, simply reverse course away from the animal itself.”
Frazier said there have been several raccoons with confirmed rabies cases in north Georgia during the past year, but none in Dawson to his knowledge.
According to the Georgia Department of Natural Resources Wildlife Resource Division’s Web site, nuisance raccoons cause health concerns for humans and their pets.
Most diseases are transferred only through direct contact, according to the Web site.