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Woman, 70, Attacked by Raccoon While Hanging Christmas Lights — and Puts It in a Headlock

·2 min read
Raccoon
Raccoon

Getty

A day of Christmas decorating didn't go as planned for a woman who was attacked by a raccoon that left her with bites and bruises all over her arms.

"I really thought I was going to die," said Massachusetts resident Donna Sanginario, per Boston news station WHDH.

In a post on Facebook, Sanginario detailed how the animal pounced on her as she was putting Christmas lights around her home on Dec. 1. The 70-year-old woman said the only warning she had before the attack was "strange noise coming from the street."

"I turned around to see what the noise was and I was staring at a huge raccoon about 10 feet away," Sanginario wrote in her post on Dec. 3. "Before I could do anything it jumped at me. Worst nightmare of my life. Both me and the raccoon were screaming so loud."

The raccoon showed no signs of giving up during the struggle and persisted in biting Sanginario even as she managed to her arms around its head.

"As I was screaming for help he fell off my arm but jumped right back on me to continue to attack," Sanginario continued. "After somehow tumbling to the ground I got him in a headlock and wouldn't let go. As he was biting me I could hear bones breaking in his neck."

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Once the animal fell silent, Sanginario said she let go of it, only to see it get up and walk away.

In a follow-up post, Sanginario said she went to a local emergency room, where she received a series of shots for rabies and tetanus.

According to the United States Humane Society, raccoons — along with foxes, bats and skunks — are considered the primary carriers of the rabies virus in the country.

Rabies can prove fatal for humans, the Mayo Clinic says, and anyone bitten by an animal should seek immediate medical attention.

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Not all raccoons have the virus, but signs they are rabid include if they have a staggering gait, have erratic wandering, discharge from eyes or mouth, and are self-mutilating.

RELATED: Family Asks for Help After Mom of 3 Suffers Broken Nose in Attack by Recently Adopted Shelter Dog

Sanginario told WHDH that she believes the raccoon was rabid. She also said the next time she goes out into her yard, she'll have protection.

As of recent updates, Sanginario said the raccoon hasn't been found.

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