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4 Dangers of Raccoons

Raccoon 001Ask anyone to name a raccoon, and you’ll get a variety of cartoon characters, from Disney movies and televisions shows. Or, you might get some choice nicknames for the thief upending their garbage cans in search of a meal. But raccoons are more than just entertainment or irritant. They can carry dangerous diseases and any appearance by a raccoon should be handled with caution. Here are 4 dangers a raccoon infestation can pose.

Raccoons are a danger to your pets.

Raccoons are among the most common carriers of the rabies virus in the United States, but this is not the only disease they carry. Rabies can transmit roundworm, mange, leptospirosis, and distemper to your family pets.

Roundworm is an intestinal parasite, and infected raccoons have been found across the Northeast and mid-Atlantic states. The parasite can cause significant liver damage, loss of coordination, lethargy and stupor.

Leptospirosis is a bacterial infection that impacts younger animals more often than older ones. You may notice that your cat or dog has abdominal issues, weakness, and stiffness, but pets are sometimes asymptomatic. Pets can be infected by coming into contact with a raccoon latrine, as the bacteria lives in the raccoon’s feces.

Raccoons can transmit disease to your family.

These same diseases can negatively impact your family’s health. Small children, in particular, are likely to inadvertently contact feces from an infected raccoon. Raccoons’ proximity to human dwellings increases the risk of human infection.

Leptospirosis can cause a wide variety of symptoms in humans – headache, muscle aches, abdominal issues, rashes, or jaundice.  In its more advanced stages, the disease can cause kidney and liver failure.

Raccoons can damage property

Raccoons have long had a reputation for being less-than-picky about the food they eat. They are expert foragers, and while this is a critical skill in the wild, where they can clean up food other animals leave behind, foraging in areas populated by humans can lead to property damage. In an urban environment, raccoons may also make dens in chimneys and attics, creating holes in drywall, damaging electrical wiring, and contaminating your home with feces.

Raccoons are wild animals

It is rare for a raccoon to bite or behave aggressively toward a human, but like all wild animals, they are known to be defensive when threatened, particularly if their young are threatened. Never let young children ‘adopt’ a wild raccoon, as they may be bitten or scratched trying to interact with the animal.

If you have a raccoon in your home or on your property, your best bet is to call a certified, experienced pest control company. We have years of experience dealing with the kind of wildlife common in Connecticut, and our technicians are available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.