A woman escaped injury when a fox attacked her in the Bay Bridge Estates mobile home park off Old Bath Road Friday around 8 p.m., according to Brunswick police.

A neighbor killed the animal with a baseball bat on Valerie Avenue, according to Cmdr. Paul Hansen.

Kimberly Bashant, the woman the fox attacked, said she’s often seen wild animals on her property. She knew people in the park had seen a fox in recent days and was wary when sitting outside on her deck.

“I’ve always kept a bat out there by my chair just in case an animal or someone came up and attacked me,” she said Monday. “I never thought it would actually happen.”

Bashant said she was on her deck smoking Friday night when she heard the animal under the deck. She grabbed the bat and was looking down over the railing when the fox came up the stairs and bit her on the leg.

“I started beating him with the bat,” Bashant said. “It’s awful. I mean, I’m an animal lover but I had to do what I had to do.”

Bashant started yelling for help as she continued to fight the fox, finally knocking it out. Her neighbors, including Kelly Pinette, came to help as the fox awoke, before killing it.

Bashant said one of her two sons called 911 during the attack. Brunswick EMS personnel checked her for injuries.

“I cannot believe he did not break the skin,” Bashant said. “There was no scratch. I was so lucky so I didn’t have to get any rabies shots.”

Foxes are generally wary of humans, so when one shows signs of aggression toward a person, it’s a strong indication that the fox is afflicted with rabies.

Rabies is a viral disease transmitted primarily through bites and exposure to saliva or spinal fluid from an infected animal. It infects the nervous system of mammals, making the infected animal unusually aggressive. Vaccines are 100% effective in combating the disease in humans but rabies is fatal if left untreated.

Hansen said no people or pets were exposed to the virus so the fox will not be tested for rabies.

Pinette said she believes the same red and gray-colored fox that approached her son earlier in the week, acting docile. It also matched the description of a fox that chased two dogs in the neighborhood the following day and then chased some boys the next day. The Brunswick animal control officer had been to the park twice to try to find the fox, Pinette said.

Maine wildlife biologist Scott Lindsay said both foxes and coyotes are now in the dens and the females have given birth or will soon give birth to a litter. The animals are staying near their dens, which can be near homes, so people may see them more often.

Lindsay said foxes will be protective of their young and may bark or try to divert a human away from the den. A fox that is acting more aggressive, trying to initiate contact with humans or acting lethargic is likely sick with rabies, distemper or another disease, he said.

“If you see them and they start coming toward you and overtly attacking you, that is something that is generally not a defensive maneuver,” Lindsay said.

The southern Midcoast saw its first rabid fox encounter of 2021 in January when a grey fox tried to bite two children in their West Point Road backyard in Phippsburg before it was shot by the children’s grandfather.

That is the only wildlife that has tested positive for rabies in Sagadahoc County this year, according to the Maine CDC. No animals have tested positive for rabies in Brunswick this year.

Brunswick had only three wild animals total test positive for rabies in both 2019 and 2020. There was an uptick of nine total rabies cases in Brunswick in 2018.

Bath then saw a surge of rabid foxes in 2019 and early 2020, with 18 people and pets attacked by rabid animals.

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