Wild Animals

Wild animals accounted for 91 percent of reported cases of rabies in 2017. Bats were the most frequently reported rabid wildlife species (32.2 percent of all animal cases during 2017), followed by raccoons (28.6 percent), skunks (21.1 percent), and foxes (7.0 percent).

For complete data, see “Rabies surveillance in the United States during 2017”external icon

Rabies virus variants associated with the major mesocarnivore species line chart

Although cross-species transmission of rabies does occur (for example infection of domestic dogs with the raccoon rabies variant), rabies virus variants are primarily transmitted within a single species that is the reservoir of that variant. Rabies virus variants associated with the major mesocarnivore species (such as raccoons, skunks, foxes, and mongooses) are distributed in distinct geographic regions.

Common carriers of rabies by location in the US

Bats with rabies have been found in every state except for Hawaii. Skunks with rabies have been found in parts of California, the Midwest, Texas, Kentucky, Virginia, North Carolina, and Tennessee. Raccoons with rabies have been found in the South and Eastern states. Foxes with rabies have been found in Alaska, Arizona, and New Mexico. Foxes and skunks with rabies have been found in Arizona, New Mexico, and Texas. Mongoose with rabies have been found in Puerto Rico.