The Quick Answer
It is indeed possible for a Missouri groundhog (or woodchuck as they are also known) to be have rabies as all mammals just like
dogs can get rabies. However, to say that a groundhog found active during the daytime automatically has rabies, is false.
In fact, it shouldn't be abnormal to find a Kansas City groundhog during the day because they are what are considered "diurnal"
People tend to confuse this with raccoons. It is true, that when Missouri raccoons come out during the day - as they are nocturnal
animals rather than diurnal - they are for more likely to be rabid. The only other reason they would be out in about during
the day is if they need to get back to their babies or they need to forage for food. So, if you do come across a raccoon
during the daytime, stay clear of them! But if it's a Kansas City groundhog, then you are relatively safe. Still, it would still be best
to leave any wild animal alone.
The Signs and Symptoms of Rabies
However, as was said before, like any other mammal, Kansas City groundhogs can get rabies. They usually get it from other rabies-infected
animals such as our good old friend the raccoon. Should you stumble upon a groundhog that you suspect has rabies, then by no
means go near them!
There are actually two types of rabies:
• Furious type - This is the one we often connect with rabies.
• Paralytic type - This type of rabies takes longer to set in and is considered to be the severer of the two.
According to the World Health Organization (WHO), thirty percent of rabies cases end up being this type.
During the initial onset of rabies, a mammal (even humans) will often have:
• Muscle weakness
• Inflammation (in the area of the bite)
• Tingling sensation
As the virus continues to progress, it will start to attack the central nervous system of the one infected and may cause
several of the following (if not all):
• Excessive salivating
• Phobia to water
The statement that Missouri groundhogs that are found active during the daytime are rabid is a myth that hopefully this article has
finally debunked. Groundhogs are often found socializing and foraging for food during the day (diurnal) and should come as no
surprise. However, should you come across any wild animal or rodent such as a Kansas City groundhog, it is still best to stay clear of it
whether or not it appears rabid.
To learn more about our services, visit the Kansas City wildlife removal home page.