Outfoxed: Maine woman wrestles rabid fox that attacked, seals it in pot

An aggressive fox charged a Maine woman who tried to scare it away Thursday morning.
Caption
An aggressive fox charged a Maine woman who tried to scare it away Thursday morning.

A Maine woman used some sly moves to subdue a rabid fox that attacked her Thursday morning, wrestling the animal and dropping it into a pot used for scalding chickens.

Eliza Ruth Watson, 37, of Gray, was gardening at her home when she saw a fox. That was not unusual, since Watson and her husband raise chickens and are used to chasing the predators away when they venture too close, the Sun Journal of Lewiston reported.

But when Watson ran toward the fox, waving her hands, the animal did not retreat. It charged, ready to do battle.

"Thinking back on it now, the fox was a mangy, stanky fox," Watson told the Sun Journal. "I ran toward it, with my hands flailing, yelling at it. Instead of taking off, it came at me."

Not wanting to wrestle a fox, Watson tried kicking it. The persistent fox continued its attack and eventually bit Watson on the hand.

"I thought, 'Ah, I will kick it.' It came back," Watson told the Sun Journal. "It kept coming back, and I kept kicking it. It jumped -- I was wearing yard gloves, thank goodness, or I really would have been injured. It jumped up and bit into my hands."

Watson managed to grab the fox by its neck and found a pot used for scalding chickens. She dropped the fox into the cauldron, covered it and called 911.

"I wasn't really thinking," Watson told the Sun Journal. "You don't really think when that sort of thing happens to you. 'Let me try to choke this fox and strangle it to death.' That's sort of what I ended up trying to do. It wouldn't back down. It was just fighting so hard."

An ambulance took Watson to a hospital, where she received five rabies shots, the newspaper reported.

"At the hospital, people kept asking, 'Are you the one who wrestled the fox?'" Watson told the Sun Journal. "It's certainly not how I expected to spend my day."

The fox was trapped by game wardens and taken to Augusta for confirmation of rabies, according to a Facebook post on the All About Gray & New Gloucester Maine page.

Watson was released from the hospital Thursday afternoon.

"Thinking back now, I don't think I could have handled it any differently," Watson told the Sun Journal. "It was intent on attacking. It's not like alligator wrangling where you can position yourself to get the alligator a certain way. I've never had to wrestle a fox before."

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