While hanging Christmas lights outside her home, a woman said she fended off a “huge” attacking raccoon in Massachusetts.
“I really thought I was going to die,” Donna Sanginario, who lives 49 miles northwest of Boston in Lancaster, said in a Dec. 3 Facebook post.
The encounter left Sanginario with her arms badly injured with bruises and blood left on her New England Patriots sweatshirt in photos she shared after the attack.
She said she is undergoing a series of rabies shots.
“Animal control has been in contact with me. We couldn’t find the raccoon. But I think and hope he went somewhere to die,” Sanginario wrote.
The 70-year-old estimated the scavenging creature that bit and scratched her arms was 45 pounds, she told WCVB.
The attack occurred around 4 p.m. on Dec. 1 when Sanginario was hanging Christmas lights around bushes in front of her home when she said she “could hear this strange noise coming from the street,” she wrote in her Facebook post.
Her eyes were met with a “huge raccoon about 10 feet away,” when it suddenly jumped at her.
“Worst nightmare of my life,” Sanginario said. “Both me and the raccoon were screaming so loud.”
While she screamed for help, the raccoon briefly fell off her arm before continuing the attack.
“After somehow tumbling to the ground I got him in a headlock and wouldn’t let go,” she said. “As he was biting me I could hear bones breaking in his neck.”
The raccoon stopped “screaming” so Sanginario released it and the scavenger walked away.
Sanginario went to the emergency room. Along with rabies shots, she said she also had a tetanus shot.
Police couldn’t locate the raccoon after it got away, according to WCVB. Because of this, it won’t be tested for rabies.
“It’s been a rough couple days but a weekend with my girlfriends is helping take the pain and trauma away,” she said.
“I will always out here have a bat or something from now on,” she told WHDH.
McClatchy News reached out to Sanginario for further comment on Dec. 8 and was awaiting a response.