While it’s okay to admire their cute little bandit faces (from afar!), it’s important to remember that raccoons can actually be dangerous. In fact, the City of Hamilton has issued a low-risk alert regarding the raccoon strain rabies that is circulating in the area’s raccoon and skunk populations.
Step #1) Identify a Rabid Raccoon
Whether a raccoon is rabid or not, you should be keeping your distance. Like other wildlife, raccoons can be unpredictable when it comes to their temperament; rabid raccoons being especially dangerous.
One of the most noticeable signs of a rabid raccoon is their appearance. They are typically very thin and have rough, dirty fur. Foaming at the mouth is common and they usually make strange noises.
Since paralysis in the legs normally sets in, rabid raccoons walk slowly and with difficulty. Compared to a healthy, active, busy raccoon, rabid ones look confused and disoriented.
Step #2) Keep Your Distance
An animal can have rabies for many months before signs start to appear. The virus can be transmitted through saliva up to ten days before noticeable symptoms arrive and can also be spread through bites that break the skin. Even when dead and frozen, raccoons can contain live rabies virus.
That’s why it’s crucial that whatever you do, do not get close to a raccoon – whether you suspect it has rabies or not.
To keep your pets safe, keep their vaccinations up-to-date.
Step #3) Call the Professionals
The municipality where you live is responsible for dealing with any wildlife that is injured, sick, deceased or poses an immediate danger to the public.
If you’ve seen a raccoon that you suspect has rabies, then you need to report it right away. Call your municipality to find out more about the proper protocol to follow.
Step #4) Report Any Exposures
If you’ve been scratched, bitten or in physical contact with a sick raccoon, then you need to report it right away to Public Health. Wash the wound with soap and water and seek medical attention promptly.
If a pet has been exposed, then contact your veterinarian.
Preventing Future Problems
The best way to prevent having to deal with rabid raccoons? Keep your property raccoon-free!
Tips to follow to keep raccoons off your property include picking ripe fruit as soon as it ripens, keeping your home secured (including chimney, walls, screens and roofs), and keeping your barbeque clean and covered.
But if you’re already having issues with raccoons on your property, then call in the professionals.
Besides knowing the municipal legalities around trapping raccoons, a wildlife control service provider can be relied upon to safely remove wildlife. If the raccoon is suspected to have rabies, we can provide you with guidance on what your next steps should be. Let us help you with your wildlife control problem!
Raccoons Tested Positive for Rabies in Ontario Dec 2015 to June 2018
|Year||Hamilton Region||Haldimand-Norfolk County||Niagara Region||Halton Region||Brant Country|
|2018 (Jan – June)||14||1||3||4||2|