Why Does Rabies Cause Crazy?

While a zombie-causing virus doesn’t exist, if we had to pick one virus that came close, it would probably be the rabies virus. 

Everyone associates the rabies virus with a “crazed” animal, and for good reason. 

Wild animals such as raccoons, foxes, and even our own pets can exhibit extremely odd & aggressive behavior after being infected with rabies.

Animals typically foam at the mouth, experience muscle spasms, lose their fear of humans, become extremely aggressive, and exhibit quite strange behavior. 

To watch the video version of this post, please click here now. We have some incredible animal & virus footage to accompany! 


Rabies is one of the most well-known zoonotic diseases, and it spreads primarily through animal bites, making it all the more similar to the zombies analogy! 

Rabies affect the nervous system of the affected host, which leads to a wide range of strange behaviors- but why exactly does it cause the infected to become more aggressive? 

Also, infected humans can exhibit a range of strange symptoms when they receive rabies via a bite from an animal! 

Humans may experience intense states of anxiety, confusion, partial paralysis, agitation, hallucinations, and most strange is the final phase: hydrophobia. 

Hydrophobia is an intense, sudden fear of water. Humans experiencing one of the late symptoms of rabies will suddenly become terrified of water, will refuse to drink it, and avoid it, even if it would save their life! 

Humans that are infected with rabies typically have a 99% chance of death if immediate medical intervention is not received, so if you’ve been bit by a wild animal, it’s absolutely critical you go to the hospital immediately, as once symptoms start to appear, it’s typically too late. 

Why exactly rabies causes all of these fascinating symptoms has not been well understood, despite intensive studying long-term on the disease. 

The rabies virus itself isn’t particularly complicated. Why is it that a series of molecular chemical reactions that the virus causes can turn a sane creature into a biting monster, or cause a thirsty human to avoid water, even at the expense of their life? 

A Series of Chemical Reactions

A team of researchers in Fairbanks, Alaska set out to research why exactly aggression and fearlessness are symptoms of this virus. 

Previous research has shown that glycoprotein molecules on the surface of the rabies virus bind to nicotinic acetylcholine receptors in muscles. Knowing that mammalian brains (raccoons, humans, etc.) also contain nicotinic acetylcholine receptors, the Alaskan researchers set out to determine whether the virus could inhibit those neurotransmitter receptors and affect host behavior. 

They tested their hypothesis in-vitro, in roundworms (C. elegans) and in mice, and observed the results. 

Their discovery revealed that the binding does occur, and “a region in the rabies virus glycoprotein, with homologies to snake toxins, has the ability to alter behavior in animals through inhibition of nicotinic acetylcholine receptors present in the central nervous system.”

This effect on the central nervous system of mammals is exactly what causes the intense, behavioral changes in rabid animals! 

Rabies And You

As we wrote earlier, if you are bit by a wild animal, seek medical attention ASAP. Same for if your pet is bit by a wild animal, as rabies is symptom-less until it’s too late. 

This is also why it’s so critical to report animals exhibiting aggressive, fearless, or otherwise strange behaviors in public. 

Reporting the wild creature so that it could be investigated could save a life by helping another human to not get bit down the line, or even their pet! 

If you have a wildlife or pest infestation, you can contact us at 855-WILDLIFE or visit www.wildlifexteam.com for more information. 

We will investigate the situation for you, and if possible safely restore the animal to their wild habitat. 

Wildlife x Team International specializes in safe & responsible removal of wildlife & pests, and we also restore any damage that they may have caused, keeping you, your family, your home, and your pets safe! 

-Wildlife x Team International 


Submit a Comment

* Required Field
  • Pest X Team Logo
  • Junk X Team Logo
  • X Team Services Logo
  • X Team Bird Control Logo
  • Gutter X Team Logo
  • Mosquito X Team Logo
As Featured on These Networks & Affiliates
  • Apple News Logo
  • Fox Logo
  • Elite Service Logo
  • National Pest Management Association Logo
  • NWCOA Logo
  • If you have raccoons in your attic, garage, or other areas of your home, call Wildlife X Team® at (817) 431-3007 today! Wildlife X Team are experts in raccoon removal and exclusion services.
  • Squirrel problems are rampant nationally. Squirrels can cause extensive damage in and around homes, including soiling floors and walls. Squirrels don't stand a chance against Wildlife X Team®'s trained professional staff.
  • Rodent problems are common for homeowners, but Wildlife X Team® can help you prevent rodents from getting in your walls or your attic. Keep rodents out of your home by calling today!
  • Removing and relocating bats is best left to professionals, as bats will bite and scratch if threatened. If you see signs of bats on your property or want to know how to get rid of bats from your attic and chimney, please call Wildlife X Team® at (817) 431-3007.
  • Although armadillos have no reason to get into houses, there is a lot of damage armadillos can cause. Their diet consists mostly of grubs and insects, but when they burrow, it can affect the very structure of buildings. Call Wildlife X Team® today!
  • Whether you are facing a snake infestation on your property or just notice a single snake, call (817) 431-3007 at Wildlife X Team® today. Most snakes are harmless, some are venomous, and we can remove all kinds of snakes safely and quickly.
  • Birds can add a lot of enjoyment to the outdoor experience, but sometimes they cause trouble. If you're having an issue with problem birds like pigeons, starlings, or sparrows, give Wildlife X Team® a call at (817) 431-3007.
  • At Wildlife X Team®, we offer worry-free opossum removal and trapping. We can also repair any opossum damage.
  • Infamous for their defense mechanism, skunks are smelly creatures. This unique critter releases a scent to ward off predators and stay safe, and it smells offensive and can be dangerous.
  • Coyotes, a relative of the canine, are known for terrorizing livestock, and even household pets. Coyotes are often active at night, and homeowners often report the howling cries of these medium-sized creatures.
  • Badgers are notorious for having a bite that rivals their bark — despite their less-than-formidable size! Badgers have been known to fight animals as large as a bear!
  • Beaver damage is primarily to landscapes like riverbeds and lakesides. If you discover beaver damage in your property, call Wildlife X Team® at (817) 431-3007 to help relocate beavers and repair any damages caused by these flat-tailed critters.
  • Nocturnal creatures, bobcats will take down any prey necessary, especially livestock. Bobcats are territorial and will often return to the property they have claimed as their own, especially if there is a steady food source.
  • Chipmunks can be annoying and clever creatures, but they're no match for Wildlife X Team®. We offer chipmunk removal, and chipmunk damage repair services, plus we know how to keep chipmunks from coming back!
  • Fox landscape damage and feeding behaviors can affect homeowners' safety, so it's important to not approach a fox if you see one in the wild or on your property. Wildlife X Team® offers fox removal, fox trapping, and fox prevention. Call today!
  • Lizards, similar in appearance to snakes, can be frightening if you spot one in the wild or in your home, and although they don't typically attack residents, it's still good to not approach lizards.
  • Mole damage is most commonly found on landscapes, and sometimes humans don't even come into contact with them, but they definitely experience mole damage.
  • If you have discovered scorpion(s) in your garden or on your property, call us today for scorpion removal services.
  • Voles are not often spotted by humans, but vole damage is visible. For vole trapping, vole removal, and vole damage repair services, call Wildlife X Team® today!
  • Infestations of bugs are common, so if you are facing an insect infestation, don't panic—we can help kill insects and get rid of them inside and outside your home.
  • Wild hog trapping and wild hog prevention are the most effective means of wild hog removal. Due to the aggressive nature of wild hogs, we do not recommend DIY wild hog trapping.
  • Termite infestations are common inside homes and on properties, so if you are dealing with insects, call Wildlife X Team® at (817) 431-3007 today to get rid of your termite problem fast and effectively!
  • Bee and wasp infestations are common, so if you are facing a stinging insect infestation, don't panic — we can help get rid of them inside and outside your home.
Wildlife X Team is rapidly becoming the leader in the nuisance wildlife control industry. We lead the way in the development of technology, education, products and services in Wildlife Management.
Read More About Us
100% Financing
SuperMoney offers 100% financing up to $100,000 and 30 second approvals. You'll fill out one easy form and get competing pre-approved loan offers back in real time.
Apply Now
Wildlife X Team offers an exclusive Wildlife Inspection Report® which includes commonly overlooked areas where wildlife can enter and infest your home.
Project: Control or Eliminate Rodents
Flexible with schedule and will come on the weekends. Did a lot of good quality work for what I paid..
Anonymous Homeowner, Dallas, Texas