Woman Strangles Rabid Raccoon: Granny, 75, Recalls Choking Attacking ‘Coon

When a woman strangles a rabid raccoon to death, it sparks a bit of gossip about the incident. But when the victim of the animal attack happens to be a 75-year-old grandmother, who fatally chokes a ‘coon with rabies, it’s one for the history books, citing a report from USA Today out Thursday.

Cas Overton is the Virgina woman who is being hailed as one “bad to the bone” granny after she strangled a raccoon infested with rabies to death — with her bare hands — when it went bonkers on her. It all took place Saturday in Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden where Overton volunteers.

The Henrico County resident was in a wooded area at the time birdwatching. Suddenly, a raccoon emerged from a thicket of bamboo and attacked her without provocation. The woman desperately tried to ward off the attack, but the animal was very aggressive and wouldn’t relent. She described the harrowing moments.

“As I moved backward away from it, I grabbed its neck and I knew that I couldn’t get away from it. If I ran, it would be faster than I would and would just tear me to pieces. So I threw it to the ground and I strangled it—with both hands.

“I am a terrific animal lover. It’s the last thing in the world I would have ever wanted to do, but you know self-preservation kicks in, and I guess a primitive part of my brain just went into operation and that was it.”

At the time she was strangling the raccoon, she had no idea it was rabid. She credits her training in a form of stress management. Tai chi, “also called tai chi chuan, is a noncompetitive, self-paced system of gentle physical exercise and stretching. Each posture flows into the next without pause, ensuring that your body is in constant motion,” according to Mayo Clinic. On how she mustered up the strength and stamina to kill the raccoon, Overton credits her training in Feldenkrais, a method used to assist people with disabilities to develop strength and mobility.

Once she put the animal down, the woman made her way back to the Garden’s office where she sought help. Later, she learned the raccoon she strangled was infected with the rabies virus, the first known case in the area this year. Other than feeling a little weak, she expects to make a full recovery after a precautionary regimen of medication.

[Photo by: Christof Koepsel/Getty Images]