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UT Austin students warned to stay away from raccoons after recent biting incidents

UT officials said three students were recently bitten by a raccoon and had to receive a rabies shot.

Students at the University of Texas are being warned after campus officials said three students were bitten by raccoons recently.

According to a tweet from the UT Office of Campus Safety, the office has "seen an increase of incidents involving raccoons and the UT student population." Three students were bitten by a raccoon and had to get rabies vaccination as a precautionary measure, the office said.

It's believed that one raccoon, in particular, is biting students. Safety officials think the raccoon is sheltering around the outside of the McCombs School of Business and Perry-Castañeda Library on 21st Street. There are now signs up around the sewer where the raccoon is believed to live.

Students are being reminded to refrain from approaching wild animals to feed, pet or take pictures. Officials said raccoons sometimes feel threatened when in close contact, especially if they have babies nearby.

Students said there are raccoons all over campus, but that this particular raccoon has just gotten a little too comfortable.

“There’s one that lives behind San Jac and that one is a little bit more shy, like it won’t take food from people, but if you throw it in the dumpster it will go right after it," said Neha Jayarajan, a UT Student. "But this one, I have seen it eat from people’s hands, like they will get right up close to it.”

Students tell us that it is common for students to try to feed the raccoon. 

“Sometimes when I am walking back to my truck, they will like come out and people are getting real close and recording them," said Hernan Galvan, a UT Student. "I just walk by them and they kind of look at you, but I never decide to touch them because I don’t really think that’s safe to do.”

The students said they believe the raccoon is not vicious, and that it is just reacting to people trying to approach it.

“They seem pretty friendly when I walk by," shared Galvan. "I guess the people are like annoying them, so it is just like a natural response to attack.”

If you are bitten or scratched by a raccoon or any other wild animal, you are urged to seek medical attention. If it's an emergency, you should call 911. If it's not an emergency, here are some resources:

  • University Health Services for students: 512-471-4955
  • The 24-hour nurse advice line: 5120475-6877
  • HealthPoint Occupational Health for staff: 512-471-4647

Incidents should also be reported online.

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