The Troy campus of Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute has a wide variety of animals roaming around at various times of day and night. If you spend any time on campus you will probably see the grey squirrels and Red-Tailed Hawks looking for food. At night: Possum, Raccoon, Skunk, Mice ,Bats, Foxes and Deer are frequently spotted on and around our campus.


Rabies is uncommon in New York but it is still present. In 2017 Rensselaer County had 4 animals test positive for Rabies. Of the tens of millions of animals susceptible this is a tiny amount.

From the CDC:

"Rabies is a preventable viral disease of mammals most often transmitted through the bite of a rabid animal. The vast majority of rabies cases reported to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) each year occur in wild animals like raccoons, skunks, bats, and foxes."

"The rabies virus infects the central nervous system, ultimately causing disease in the brain and death. The early symptoms of rabies in people are similar to that of many other illnesses, including fever, headache, and general weakness or discomfort. As the disease progresses, more specific symptoms appear and may include insomnia, anxiety, confusion, slight or partial paralysis, excitation, hallucinations, agitation, hypersalivation (increase in saliva), difficulty swallowing, and hydrophobia (fear of water). Death usually occurs within days of the onset of these symptoms."

In 2017, according to data from the CDC, Rensselaer County had 4 animals, one Raccoon, two Skunks and one other animal test positive for rabies. Rabies in humans is extremely rare. If you are ever bitten, by any animal, contact Public Safety immediately (518-276-6611) or Call 911. Waiting after being bitten decreases your chances to survive a rabies bite substantially. Treat every bite from a wild animal as if the animal is rabid.

(For More From CDC)

What Do  I Do?

  • If you see a wild animal on campus or where you are walking, stay away from it. Back up standing as tall as you can, put your arms up to make yourself look even larger.
  • Wild animals will happily be on their way if you do not approach them, generally.
  • Trying to get a selfie with a Bear is a very bad idea! Stay away from all wild animals especially those with teeth.
  • If you see an animal that has been hurt, hit by a car or looks sick, call Public Safety on (518) 276 - 6611. They will send an officer and also call Animal Protection and Control in Troy.

Most animals you come across will be frightened by your presence and will leave on their own. However, some animals will become quite ferocious if their young are nearby, if you stand between them and their home or if you are carrying food. 

If you see a wild animal on campus and are concerned about it please call (518) 276 - 6611 and a public safety officer will examine the creature.

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