Weird and Violent Attacks: Possible Rabid Animal.... Any Ideas?

Discussion in 'Predators and Pests' started by EelKat, Jul 3, 2008.

  1. EelKat

    EelKat Hatching

    Jul 3, 2008
    I was just searching Google for an answer to what attacked my flock this week... normally I can figure out the attacks, but these have me baffled. Google sent me here, so I'll just tell you what happened here on this thread, and than go back and read the other threads and posts to see if anyone has already posted an answer elsewhere..

    It started about 3 weeks ago when I found 4 hens laying on the ground outside the yard. Each hen was torn apart. My assumption than, was that these hens had some how snuck out during the night (though I've yet to figure out how they got out) and were attacked by a stray dog. A dog had attacked once before a few years back and left dead hens all over the yard. Didn't eat them, just killed them all, for the fun of it, and that is what I thought had happened again.

    A few days later, however, the wood pile was overturned, the wheel barrel knocked over and more dead hens scattered amoung the disheavaled wood. Again, no answer as to how they got out, but the size and weight of the items knocked about the yard, still suggested a dog or possibly a coyote.

    I keep the hens in a separate house & yard from the bantams.

    The next attack came a few days later, this time the 6" x 8" door was ripped off the bantam house and 6 bantams slaughtered, again, killed but not eaten, just killed for the fun of it or so it looks like.

    Now however, this proved that I was dealing with a rather small animal. Smaller than the big hens, because the hens are too big to go out the little bantam door.

    Closer search of the yards and houses, revealed that the "IT" had tunneled under the hen house, and came up through the floor and was than squeezing the hens out of a thin crack in the fence.

    I fixed the hole in the hen house floor, filled in the tunneled with gravel to prevent it being redug, and than patched the crack where the fence pieces meet.

    The fence by the way is heavy chain-link, like used in school playgrounds to keep gangs out. We have bear around here and I used this type of fence with keeping bear out in mind. I say this because of what happened next.

    The next attack a few days later came when the "IT" dug about ten holes all around the bottom of the fence in what appears to be a fit of complete rabid frenzy. Unable to dig deep enough to go under the fence, it torn the fence apart, at the seams, leaving the fence hanging. It than dug under the house, through the gravel and torn boards off the wall of the house to get in and kill, but not eat another 7 hens.

    At first the attacks were coming once every few days, but now they are every day, and the viciousness at which this animal is attacking and the strength it seems to have for something still small enough to fit though a 6" hole, leads me to believe it may have rabies.

    Another odd factor is that some hens' bodies have been found hanging some 8' off the ground in branches of trees. So whatever this thing is, it can climb.

    Yesterday it rained and we got our first clue as to what this thing may be as it left one, and only one paw print in the mud:

    The paw print is about 3 - 4 inches (possibly spread out due to being in mud) and resembles a cat's "heart shaped" paw pad, with 4 very long "monkey-like" fingers, and one equally long "thumb". It looks almost human, except for the heart shaped pad in the center and the fact that the middle finger had a long claw.

    It is like no track I've ever seen before. Looks somewhat opossum, but is I think too big to be an opossum.

    If it helps, my land is right in a swamp on the Atlantic coast (1/4 mile from the ocean), with 26 acres of old growth pine forest woods all around us, so most any Atlantic, wetland or woodland animal could be to blame, we have lots of them, and most come in our yard. I've lived here raising hens for more than 30 years now, and I've never had anything like this happen before.

    Does anyone have any idea what this thing could be and how to stop it? The hens are locked up at night... with key locking padlocks on the door, (again, to keep out bear) and this thing just goes through like the doors and walls were not even there. I am at my wits end. Of 75 hens I'm down to 24 in less than a month, this thing seems to kill like humans do, for the pure enjoyment of killing, like a sport. I've never heard of an animal killing like this before. Again, it makes me think rabies.
  2. Jesus, what state are you in?!

    The desciptions of these attacks has the hair on the back of my neck standing on end... Very deranged creature. Especially since it's not eating any of it. Are there any bites missing from the bodies that you can see or is are they just shredded?
    Do you have a gun? I would be sitting out waiting for it from a safe distance, just not up a tree since it can obviously climb. This is all happening at night or during the day too?

    Something is telling me it night be a fisher cat...
    Do a search for fisher cat tracks and see if it matches...

    Scary! Do you have any chickens left?!
  3. warcard

    warcard Songster

    Apr 4, 2008
    SE Indiana
    A single rabid animal would most likely be dead over the timeframe of these attacks.

    Other than that all I can say is keep looking. [​IMG]
  4. speckledhen

    speckledhen Intentional Solitude

    Scary! Oh, my goodness, what a description! (((shudders)))
  5. Parson's Wife

    Parson's Wife Blessed Abundantly

    Jan 22, 2008
    There are several animals that only drink the blood. (Not like a vampire...hello!) Search those.
    Last edited by a moderator: Jul 3, 2008
  6. FlockEweFarm

    FlockEweFarm Songster

    Jun 11, 2008
    Ya'll pardon my ignorance, but is this person in Wolverine turf?? They are rather persistant critters, and tend to bad temperments, especially if thwarted. Just throwin that out there, and feeling very, very, glad that I live in Arizona!!!
  7. roosters97

    roosters97 Songster

    Jan 23, 2008
    same happened to me a few years ago,IT was a bobcat or lynx that killed mine
  8. deb1

    deb1 Songster

    Jun 26, 2008
    Quote:I know my fat house cat used to kill for enjoyment, and you seem to already know that dogs will so so. I can't help but wonder if wild animals kill for pleasure also. We've been told so often that wild animals only kill for food by the media that most of us don't question if this is true or not.

    Can you put a camera in the hen house? If not perhaps a baby monitor. Then you can run out as soon as anything violent happens and catch the culprit in the act.
  9. arlee453

    arlee453 Songster

    Aug 13, 2007
    near Charlotte NC
    Digging animal that can fit through a 6" tunnel/hole that kills for the sport of it?

    Makes me think weasel. (fisher cats are a type of weasel) They can dig and climb and have a reputation for killing indiscrimanately.

    Try using a small live/havaheart trap and bait with sardines and see what you can catch. Whatever it is will be back it sounds like.

    I don't think rabies either because rabid animals don't generally attack with such precision and persistence. Anything with full blown rabies wouldn't probably live long enough to make that many coordinated attacks over that time frame.

    Oh and WELCOME to BYC! I wish you found us under happier circumstances, but hang around a while and join in the BYC craziness!
    Last edited: Jul 3, 2008

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