Wild fox sightings on the rise in Horry County

HORRY COUNTY, SC (WMBF) - There has been an up-tick in wild animal sightings in Horry County. First it was wild hogs, and now it's foxes.

Wild foxes aren't uncommon in our area, but a lot of people are surprised about where they're showing up. Experts say you'll see them more and more in places like Carolina forest, since we continue to build on their land, they're running out of places to go.

"We're putting houses on top of forest and of course the animals don't have anywhere else to go so you're gonna see them in your backyard, you're gonna see them under your decks, you're gonna see them running across the road, they're common," said The Snake Chaser Russell Cavender.

The snake chaser catches wild animals across our area and says he gets about two fox spotting calls a week, even in places right in the heart of Myrtle Beach.

In fact, a viewer sent us this picture of a fox on 45th avenue, wondering if there's a growing number of foxes. DNR says it's just the time of year. It's common to see foxes during the day May through July due to daylight savings and the period after birth when foxes can hunt on their own.

Don't be surprised if they dig holes, ditches and dens, right in your backyard or end up in the middle of the road. Many reported sightings happened as the animals crossed Carolina Forest Boulevard.

Highway patrol reported nearly 200 animal related accidents last year, in Horry County. If we stay on track with this year's patterns, that number may be lower but that means staying alert on the roads at all times.

"Be cognizant to the fact that there might be animals in the woods that are on the side of the road and keep watching, cause you're not gonna make them move, you're not gonna get rid of them, they're here, this is where they live, they live in the woods," says Carolina Forest resident Nancy Connell.

You're likely to run into a wild animal whether it's a coyote, a wild hog or a fox. Each animal poses a different threat. when it comes to foxes, they rarely attack humans and don't pose much of a threat but they do carry rabies distemper, and mange, all of which can kill your pet.

In our state rabies is most common in raccoons, skunks, bats and foxes. Last year, DHEC reported 124 cases of rabies in animals in south Carolina, this year, there have already been nearly 70. DHEC says recent cases of rabies have centered mostly in the upstate and midlands.

Either way, lean on the side of caution and make sure your pets have their rabies shots, it's the law and f you don't, you could run into an even bigger problem.

"If he is bitten by a rabid animal, and he develops rabies, he will die. or she, it will die, rabies will kill, everything, once it is contracted," Cavender said.

As far as people go, it's rare a fox will harm you, but there have been cases where people have been bitten. DHEC says about 275 Carolinians undergo preventative treatment for rabies every year, the most exposures coming from bites or scratches.

If you think you have been exposed to the rabies virus, immediately wash the affected area with plenty of soap and water, then follow up with a doctor.

Copyright 2014 WMBF News. All rights reserved.