Some Serious Health Risks Nuisance Wildlife Can Pose

4 June 2021

The season is in full swing and we’re fielding more skunk, raccoon and other wildlife calls than we ever have in the past. And while these nuisance pests are up to their usual damaging tricks, we’ve seen a couple of news stories lately that suggest that they’re starting to pose more serious threats to people and pets than just rummaging through your garbage or breaking vents on your house. Here are some reasons why you should be extra vigilant about protecting your family and pets from nuisance wildlife this summer.

Rabid Skunk Found Near Elora, ON

On June 1, 2018, the CBC News website posted an article describing that a skunk found near Elora, ON had tested positive for rabies. Elora is a small town located about 20 kilometers north of Guelph.

Skunks don’t usually range very far from their dens, typically two to five kilometers. Other animals do range further, though, and could potentially carry the rabies virus if they have an unlucky encounter with an infected animal.

While cases of rabies aren’t common – there are only a small number of reports of rabid animals in southern Ontario each year – rabies can be fatal for humans and domestic pets.

The rabies virus is most commonly transmitted through the bite of an infected animal, so curious or territorial pets are more likely victims of rabid wildlife than humans.

However, even though the number of rabies related incidents is low, the seriousness of the rabies virus makes it well worth some preventive and protective measures for your family and pets.

Rising Raccoon Population Could Mean More Cases of Distemper

Skunks aren’t the only wild animals that might pose more dangers to humans and domestic animals this year.

The populations of many wild animals go through rapid increases and decreases on a regular basis, and we might be on the verge of an explosion in the raccoon population, like the one parts of Eastern Canada have already seen so far this year.

Closer to home, wildlife officials are already noticing an increase in cases of distemper, a virus carried by raccoons that can cause aggressive and erratic behavior.

Animal control services for several cities like Oakville are fielding a higher number of calls for sick raccoons exhibiting signs of distemper virus (Canine Distemper Virus (CDV) or Feline Distemper Virus (FDV)). Raccoons with distemper can behave strangely, such as sleeping in open spaces around people or aggressively attacking people or pets if threatened.

The distemper viruses can be transmitted to domestic cat and dog pets that have not been vaccinated against it. Common symptoms of distemper in wild and domestic animals can include fever, eye inflammation, eye and nose discharge, labored breathing and coughing, vomiting and diarrhea. If untreated, distemper can be fatal.

Protecting Your Family & Pets from Nuisance Wildlife

Here are some quick and easy tips for protecting your family and pets from nuisance wildlife:

  • Don’t Approach Wild Animals – Even if they don’t look aggressive, don’t approach a wild animal. Lethargy can be a symptom of an infected animal, and a threatened animal can turn from lethargic to aggressive very quickly.
  • Keep Pets Inside at Night – Many types of wildlife are nocturnal, which means that they’re most active at night. Keeping your cats and dogs indoors at night will help keep them from crossing paths with nuisance wildlife like skunks, raccoons and squirrels.
  • Eliminate Food Sources from Around Your Home – Wild animals are scavengers and are often looking for some food to eat. Garbage bins are a common target of hungry wild animals. Keep garbage containers inside a garage, shed or locked enclosure, or securely lock them if you store them outside.
  • Secure Possible Entry Points to Your Home – As well as looking for food, wild animals are looking for a safe place to build a den. Sheds, garages and attics make the perfect habitat. Check to make sure that entry points to your home (vents, grates and covers found on the outer walls and roof of your home) and other structures on your property are securely fastened and rugged enough to withstand the prying paws of a raccoon or squirrel.

Protect Your Family & Pests from Nuisance Wildlife This Summer

Populations of nuisance wildlife like skunks, raccoons and squirrels seem to be on the rise, and so is the number of incidents of dangerous viruses like rabies and distemper. Protect your family and pets from these nasty infections by staying clear of wild animals, keeping pets inside at night, and keep your home free from food sources and easy entry points.

If you do find yourself dealing with some unwanted nuisance wildlife, count on the professionals at Pest Protection Plus to take care of the problem. We offer a full range of wildlife and pest control services throughout the GTA at affordable prices.

And always remember …

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