A Tucson resident had too close of an encounter, and a dangerous one at that, with one of Arizona's most distinctive creatures.
Worry was the initial reaction when a coatimundi bit him.
The incident occurred in an area of Sahuarita where the man and others were reportedly regularly feeding these animals, as revealed by the Arizona Game and Fish Department.
Following the encounter, the man received rabies treatment and was subsequently released. This unfortunate incident serves as a crucial reminder from wildlife officials that coatimundis, belonging to the raccoon family, are still considered predators and should not be casually approached by Arizona residents.
Characterized by easily identifiable long snouts and semi-prehensile tails, coatimundis, reaching the size of a small dog, live in Arizona's rocky canyons, according to Arizona State Parks.
Despite being social animals capable of forming large groups, they may display feisty behavior when they perceive a threat. This fact serves to emphasize the importance of taking seriously orders of maintaining a safe distance.
Authorities encourage Arizonans to report instances of illegal wildlife feeding at 800-352-0700. They reiterate that there are two key lessons to take away from this recent occurrence. All in all, it underscores the need for residents to exercise caution and appreciate these safely creatures from afar.