Raccoons are truly amazing creatures. Their uncanny ability to adapt to new environments has helped them thrive in urban settings where other larger animals have suffered. But this new found comfort in even the busiest of urban dwellings has made raccoons one of the most invasive pests known to man.
Through their crafty behavior, nimble hands, and nocturnal foraging, raccoons have infested homes and neighborhoods across the country at incredible rates, and chances are you have seen a few of them running around your yard one time, or another. Don’t be fooled by their cute and approachable exterior, raccoons are in fact very dangerous and play host to a number of diseases that can be transmitted to humans. In order to better understand the true danger of these pests, here are the four most common diseases raccoons transmit to humans and house pets.
Although the rabies virus can be carried by any mammal, raccoons are known as rabies vector species, meaning they are at high risk for carrying the virus. Rabies is passed to humans through a bite and can potentially be life threatening; however, with prompt medical attention, the virus can easily be treated. Raccoons carrying the virus will usually die within three days and display the following signs of rabies: staggering gait, oblivious to noise or movement, erratic wandering, discharge from eyes, wet and matted hair on the face, repeated high-pitch vocalization, and self-mutilation.
Leptospirosis is a kind of bacteria that is very common in most invasive, city-dwelling pests, including raccoons, skunks, opossums, rats, mice, and white-tail deer. The bacteria is transferred to humans that come in contact with the infected raccoon’s urine or contaminated soil and water. Since it is so easy to contract this bacteria, it is vital to not only avoid coming in contact with raccoons, but to have them removed form your property as quickly as possible. Leptospirosis can infect both humans and pets, and its symptoms include fever, headaches, chills, red eyes, abdominal pain, diarrhea, and rash.
Found in raccoon feces, another growing concern is roundworm, also referred to as baylisascaris. This parasite travels through the liver, spinal cord, brain, and other major organs of the raccoon and causes nausea,enlarged liver, coma, blindness, and death. Roundworm can infect both humans and pets, and if left untreated can cause the same symptoms as it does in raccoons.
Canine distemper is the second leading cause of death in raccoons, second only to humans. The disease is very deadly and can spread quickly from one animal to the next. Canine distemper is a highly contagious virus that affects the animal’s respiratory, gastrointestinal, and central nervous systems. Although canine distemper cannot be transmitted to humans, it can be transmitted to your pets and is the leading cause of infectious disease in dogs as there is no treatment available. There is currently no cure for canine distemper, making the removal of raccoons from your property that much more important.
Raccoons may be cute animals, but don’t be fooled by their charm. Simply having raccoons nesting on your property is enough to put you, your family, and pets in harm of being infected with a variety of diseases. The only way to keep your family safe is to have the raccoons trapped and removed from your property as quickly as possible. At Greenleaf Pest Control, we provide humane wildlife removal services to ensure pests are safely removed from your property without inflicting unnecessary harm to the animals or the environment.
About the Author:
Daniel Mackie, co-owner of Greenleaf Pest Control, is a Toronto pest control expert well-known as an industry go-to guy, an innovator of safe, effective pest control solutions, and is a regular guest on HGTV. Mackie, along with business partner Sandy Costa, were the first pest control professionals in Canada to use detection dogs and thermal remediation for the successful eradication of bed bugs. In his free time, he is an avid gardener.