GRAPHIC: Woman attacked by raccoon while on vacation

Published: Sep. 23, 2022 at 3:21 PM CDT
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HILTON HEAD, S.C. (WJCL) – A woman from South Carolina is recovering after being attacked by a raccoon while vacationing on Hilton Head Island.

People in the area know to keep their eyes peeled for alligators when out and about, but raccoons aren’t typically top of mind.

“Hilton Head is a vacation beach resort, and when you go to a place like that, you don’t expect something like this to happen,” Barbara Ard said.

Ard went to Shipyard Plantation over Labor Day weekend, but she said the air conditioner in the condo she booked wasn’t working. So, late in the night, she packed her things to move to another unit.

However, Ard said when she went to unload her car, a raccoon bit the back and front of her leg before running off into the darkness.

“I remember at the moment looking at my leg and thinking I am in so much trouble — I have got to get to the hospital,” Ard said.

Ard ended up going to the emergency room, got 20 stitches, a series of rabies shots, a tetanus shot and some antibiotics.

She has since returned to her home and recovering.

“It’s been a very long and painful journey, to say the least,” Ard said.

Wildlife expert Buck McNeely said raccoons typically don’t attack unprovoked. He said there’s a good chance this one was sick with rabies.

South Carolina authorities said there have been 49 reported cases of rabies in the state so far this year.