North America is home to the largest raccoon populations. Raccoons have adapted very well to life in the city because food and shelter in cities are plentiful and natural predators are limited, their numbers are continuing to increase. Raccoons will return to those areas that offer easy meals.By eliminating the sources of food and shelter, we can force them to look elsewhere for these necessities and reduce the raccoon population in our cities.
Did You Know:
80% of raccoons are infected with roundworm, a parasite that can be fatal to humans.
Did You Know:
Bacteria infested garbage is unsanitary, can spread disease and attracts other wildlife and rodents.
Tip: Ensure all garbage and recycling is safely secured away.
Did You Know:
Humans can contract rabies from the saliva of raccoons left behind on items with which they have come into contact.
Tip: You must wear gloves and avoid touching your mouth, eyes and nose while handling contaminated items (such as garbage)
Did You Know:
Having garbage easily accessible to raccoons encourages them to feed at the same site time and again.
Tip: Eliminating sources of food and shelter will force raccoons to move on to another area to find these necessities
The Alarming Facts
Raccoons are major carriers of a number of diseases and parasites including rabies, distemper, mange and roundworm.
are viral diseases commonly carried by raccoons. Humans are at risk only for rabies while pets can contract both diseases.
Transmission can occur through handling of material (such as garbage) with which the saliva or other excretions/secretions of infected animals have come into contact.
Mange is a highly contagious skin condition caused by mites and can easily affect humans and pets.
Roundworm infects approximately 80% of raccoons. One adult raccoon will shed millions of roundworm eggs daily. It takes just 2 weeks for eggs to mature into larvae which can remain alive for years regardless of harsh weather or decontamination efforts. After ingestion, larvae move through the host's body tissues — particularly the brain, but also the eyes and internal organs. In infected humans, effects can include nausea, a lethargic feeling, loss of eyesight, serious neurological damage and death.
Raccoons defecate in communal sites such as at the base of trees or on logs, tree stumps, decks and rooftops. Rain may wash feces off decks or rooftops, causing the soil below to become contaminated. As a result, ingestion most often occurs via soil, sand, wood, bark, leaves and stones, in addition to direct ingestion of raccoon feces.
Remove raccoon feces from your property promptly & carefully. It should be burned, buried or sent to a landfill.
Treat decks, patios and other surfaces contaminated by the feces with boiling water.
Care should be taken to avoid direct contact of feces or other infected material with hands or clothes. The use of gloves and face mask will help prevent cross-contamination.
After cleaning up, always wash hands well with soap and running water to help further reduce possible infection.
Close off access to attics, basements and other sources of shelter.
Keep sandboxes covered at all times to prevent their use as raccoon latrines.
Keep your distance if a raccoon appears tame, injured or sick—it could be a sign of rabies or distemper.
Always make sure your pets are protected with regular vaccinations.
Do not leave your pet’s food or water bowls outside.
Keep your garbage and recycling secured safely away.
Raccoon Information Resources:
Peter Cheney, Globe and Mail, October 8, 2005, Page M1
Leah McLaren, Globe and Mail, August 20, 2005, Page M2
Linda Diebel, The Toronto Star, Final Edition, August 21, 2005, Page A8
Valerie Hauch, The Toronto Star, Ontario Edition, February 12, 2004, Page J10
Toronto Public Health Department - Wildlife in the city: Raccoons
Banks DJD. 1992. Rabies: a forceful argument for urban animal management. In: Murray RW, editor. Urban Animal Management: proceedings of the First National Conference on Urban Animal Management in Australia (Brisbane, 1992). Mackay QLD: Chiron Media: 59-69.
Other Articles of Interest: