El Dorado Animal Services is looking for a red fox that bit a 3-year-old boy who was playing outside his Cameron Park home last Thursday.
The child's injuries were minor, but he may have been exposed to rabies.
"It had come after him and latched on to the rear of his pants, and when she picked him up, it was still physically attached to the back of his pants until it fell from the back of his pants," health program specialist Jennifer Hamburg said.
The fox ran away on its own. The homeowner called Animal Services.
The county said the woman had been feeding a feral cat outside on her property, and the fox had been taking the food. She had seen the fox before, but it hadn't demonstrated aggressive behavior before Thursday.
Animal Services employees searched the property but they didn't find the fox. They set up traps to try to catch the animal because they want to test it for rabies. If they can't locate the fox and test it, the family will have to decide whether to treat the toddler with the rabies vaccine.
Animal Services said wildlife is not uncommon in the county, particularly in the rural areas, including where the fox bit the child.
The agency urges residents not to feed their animals outside or leave their food outside, as it can be a magnet for wildlife.
Animal Services said if you do encounter a wild fox or other wildlife, you shouldn't corner the animal, back away slowly giving it a way to escape.
"The worst thing that you could possibly do -- and children are really good at this, -- is go 'Oh' and step forward, because now you've presented fingers that it can grab, and you've probably cornered the animal," said Warren Candler, with Animal Services.
Animal Services is asking anyone who spots the fox in the area of Flying C Road and Valley Vista Road in Cameron Park, in the Cameron Estates community, to contact the agency at 530-621-5795.
This report originally appeared on KCRA.com