Woman Says Raccoon Attacked, Bit Her in Central Park

It's not clear if the raccoon was rabid

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    NEWSLETTERS

    A Brooklyn musician taking a stroll in Central Park says she was attacked by a raccoon and was given rabies shots. Jonathan Vigliotti reports. (Published Thursday, Aug 1, 2013)

    A Brooklyn woman says a raccoon in Central Park pounced on her, then bit her, when she took a picture of the animal during a walk.

    Taraka Larson, a musician, was taking a sunset walk by the pond near the Plaza Hotel when she spotted a pair of raccoons. 

    "I was still listening to music so it just kind of seemed like they were dancing with each other," she said. 

    They were too cute not to capture on camera, Larson thought. So she took out her phone and snapped a photo. 

    That's when one of the raccoons fixed its stare on her.

    "I froze," Larson said. 

    Lumbering and almost appearing intoxicated, they approached. Larson didn't want to make a move.

    "You're afraid," she said. "You don't want to run away because what if they just like pounce on you? But then one of them did." 

    The raccoon sunk its teeth into Larson's leg.

    "It was biting my leg, like gnawing on it," she said. 

    And then, she said, "I just kicked it off and it went flying into the bushes." 

    Larson then ran to the plaza, where workers told her she needed to seek treatment. 

    "'Miss, you could have rabies,'" she recalled them telling her. "'You don't need Band-Aids or Neosporin. You need to go to a hospital.'"

    She went to Roosevelt Hospital, where she got 21 rabies shots as a precaution. 

    Rabid raccoon attacks are rare in the city, and the Parks Department said it doesn't believe those raccoons were sick, just curious. They're still investigating and in the meantime, advise people to keep a safe distance from the wildlife in the park. 

    It's a lesson learned for Larson. 

    "I think I'm just a lot more aware of animals that might be behaving strangely," she said.