Raccoon and vegetables -- worried for rabies
Just a quick question, in hope that someone knows enough about rabies to answer it:
Would it be possible to catch rabies from eating the vegetables in my garden if a raccoon has been in the garden?
I figured we had a visitor a while ago as I found my beans and my cucumber plants decapitated one morning, and the lid of my compost bin often ends up on the ground.
I was thinking of a groundhog (although now that I think of it, I don't think a groundhog would have been able to lift the lid of my compost bin), but we found out it was a raccoon last week, as it managed to lock itself in our garbage bin.
I know that rabies if mainly transmitted through biting, or a cut coming in contact with the saliva from an infected animal (or getting that saliva in touch with the mouth, the nose or the eyes). I also know that the virus doesn't live for very long outside of its host. But I couldn't find the answer as to whether it can be contracted by eating vegetables or fruits that may have been in contact with the animal's saliva.
I'm guessing if that was the case there would be a lot more cases of human rabies, as raccoons in a garden are a very frequent problem, but I'm still a little bit worried as we DID eat some of our garden's veggies.
The animal didn't have an unusual behavior when we released it. It ran away from us, and came back to the backyard where my husband and daughter were playing 5 minutes later, but didn't seem aggressive. I *think* he actually lives under our shed, and that's why he was back after a few minutes (it was daytime so I'm guessing he went back to his home).
If anyone has an answer to this, I would really appreciate hearing it!