Rachel Borch, a 21-year-old in Hope, Maine, went for a run in the woods near her home on June 3. She came back barefoot, bleeding and screaming after drowning a rabid raccoon who sunk its teeth into her hand.
"I’ve never killed an animal with my bare hands," Borch told the Daily News. "I’m a vegetarian. It was self-defense.”
Borch left for the run that morning along a familiar, overgrown trail near her house, but not before her brother warned her about a raccoon he'd seen oddly "sulking" in their yard, the Press Herald reported. Sure enough, shortly into her run on the wooded path, Borch and the beast met eyes.
She recalled to the Press Herald a "ferocious-looking raccoon" who charged at her with teeth bared. Within seconds, it stood at her feet. Borch ripped out her earbuds and dropped her phone, which fell into a nearby puddle.
“Imagine the Tasmanian devil,” she told the Daily News.
She couldn't avoid the raccoon, she told the newspaper; the trail was too narrow. So she succumbed to the reality that she would be bitten.
The best place, she reasoned, would be her hand: It would leave her relatively mobile and provide her best chance at defense. Borch extended her hands toward the animal, the Press Herald reported.
It sunk its teeth into her thumb. Borch screamed. The raccoon clawed her arms wildly, its jaw pressed tight. Borch panicked. Then she remembered her phone that sank into the puddle.
Dragging the still-biting animal on her knees toward the water, Borch "pushed its head down into the muck," she told the Daily News, until "“its arms sort of of fell to the side, its chest still heaving really slowly.”
Hysterical, she bolted home. Her mother drove her to a medical center, per the Daily News. Her dad and her brother retrieved the dead raccoon, the Press Herald reported, lest another animal become infected by it.
The raccoon later tested positive for rabies, according to the Daily News, and Borch is receiving the appropriate shots for treatment.