Wildlife Control Tips – Diseases Carried by Raccoons, Squirrels, and Opossums

December 16, 2014By

When it comes to protecting your family, few homeowners ever focus on the dangers presented by vermin such as raccoons, squirrels, and opossums. While each of these familiar South Louisiana critters can be downright vicious in the right circumstances, they also carry a wide range of diseases that can be harmful, and even deadly. Keep reading to find out more about the diseases that these common wildlife nuisances can carry.

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Raccoons

Raccoons carry a variety of diseases that can be transmitted to pets and humans. While most people are aware that raccoons can carry rabies, it is important to understand that they only show the telltale symptoms of erratic movements, lethargy, foaming at the mouth, and confusion during the final week of the disease.

Raccoons also carry canine distemper, and this is actually much more prevalent than rabies. Distemper presents with symptoms that are similar to rabies in the earlier stages, and it is a dangerous disease for dogs and cats alike. You should make sure that your pets receive proper vaccinations so they are protected if they ever come in contact with an infected raccoon.

Raccoon droppings are highly dangerous, and carry numerous diseases and bacteria that can be spread if you come into contact with them. These can include raccoon roundworm, Giardia lamblia, salmonella, and leptospirosis. Each of these bacteria and parasites can be very dangerous to humans, so it is important that you stay away from raccoon droppings, and wash your hands immediately if contact occurs.

Squirrels

While most people do not associate squirrels with deadly or harmful diseases, the fact is that they can carry and transmit them. One of the most serious is the bacterium pestis bacterium, which is also known as the bubonic plague. They also carry tularemia bacteria, and leptospirosis, which is a parasitic infection. All of these diseases can be spread to humans through coming in contact with a contaminated animal, its feces, or from drinking water that has infected by the squirrel. Additionally, both raccoons and squirrels carry fleas, which can also spread these diseases to humans.

Opossum

Unlike raccoons and squirrels, opossums are quite resistant to many of the diseases that typically affect wild animals. However, it is still possible for them to carry distemper, rabies, and other diseases, even though this is typically rather rare. If you are scratched or bit by an opossum, you should still visit your doctor to make sure that there are no potential problems.

One of the most important considerations with raccoons, squirrels, and opossums is that they are often infested with fleas. If these animals make it into your home or yard, the fleas can quickly become an infestation. This means that you and your family are at a great risk of becoming infected with any of a wide range of diseases and bacteria that fleas can carry and transmit with a single bite.

If you believe you have any of these nuisance wildlife around your home, it is important that you do not try to trap or remove them on your own. These animals can become quite vicious when threatened, which increases the chances of being infected by one of them. If you notice any urine or feces in your attic, this is a good indication that you might have an infestation that requires professional assistance.

Fischer Environmental can inspect your home, yard, or garage to determine whether there is a problem. We will help you address any areas that may be providing a means of entrance for wild animals to your home. We will safely trap and remove them, and attend to any areas that contain feces or nests. Let our experts help keep you and your family safe this winter.

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