Missouri conservation officials are urging people to be cautious around skunks that soon will be emerging from winter shelters. Skunks are one of the two primary carriers of the rabies virus in Missouri. Encounters increase during skunks' mating season, which starts in later this month and continues through March. Missouri health officials last year reported finding 12 rabid skunks and 16 rabid bats with cases reported in 14 counties.

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