Wild Animal Management MN | Raccoons

Most wild animals just mind their own businesses and never cause a conflict with people. In fact, many people really enjoy their interactions with wildlife. Often, species are not viewed as pests in their normal habitats but may clash with people when they enter our world. How many people worry about a skunk in the woods? Yet a skunk under the porch or a squirrel in your attic is an entirely different matter.

Many wildlife conflicts can be explained with two words: food and shelter. Provide them intentionally or accidentally, and some wild animal will probably accept the invitation.

Surprised?  As human development spreads, wildlife conflicts happen more frequently. The competition for natural sources of food and shelter increases, enticing some animals to seek their living in our world. At the same time, some species adapt to these new opportunities so well that their populations rise dramatically, further increasing the chance of a conflict with people.

Raccoons are most likely to cause problems by denning under decks or porches or inside attics or chimneys, raiding garbage cans, or taking fruit or vegetables from gardens.

Raccoons in the attic is a serious situation, both from a property value perspective and a health perspective. When raccoons live in an attic, they cause considerable property damage. Raccoons also are host to a number of parasites and diseases that can infest people or pets.

While raccoons may be cute and fun to watch, they can be dangerous if one doesn’t take appropriate precautions. Recent studies have found that up to 60 percent of raccoons are infected with the parasite Baylisascaris infection caused by roundworm. While the raccoons seem to suffer little or no ill effects of this parasite, the consequences for humans when infected can range from nothing to blindness to death.

Raccoon Roundworm – Scientific Name: Baylisascaris Procyonis

Raccoon roundworm infects most raccoons at some time in their lives. Here is a diagram of the lifecycle of Bayliscaris Procyonis.  This diagram comes from the Massachusetts Division of Fisheries and Wildlife brochure “Raccoon Roundworm”

Geographic Distribution: Raccoons infected with Baylisascaris procyonis appear to be common in the Middle Atlantic, Midwest, and Northeast regions of the United States and are well documented in California and Georgia. Proven human cases have been reported in California, Oregon, New York, Pennsylvania, Illinois, Michigan, and Minnesota, with a suspected case in Missouri.

Baylisascaris procyonis completes its life cycle in raccoons, with humans acquiring the infection as accidental hosts (dogs serve as alternate definitive hosts, as they can harbor patent and shed eggs).  Unembryonated eggs are shed in the environment , where they take 2-4 weeks to embryonate and become infective .  Raccoons can be infected by ingesting embryonated eggs from the environment .  Additionally, over 100 species of birds and mammals (especially rodents) can act as paratenic hosts for this parasite: eggs ingested by these hosts hatch and larvae penetrate the gut wall and migrate into various tissues where they encyst .  The life cycle is completed when raccoons eat these hosts .  The larvae develop into egg-laying adult worms in the small intestine and eggs are eliminated in raccoon feces.  Humans become accidentally infected when they ingest infective eggs from the environment; typically this occurs in young children playing in the dirt .  Migration of the larvae through a wide variety of tissues (liver, heart, lungs, brain, eyes) results in VLM and OLM syndromes, similar to toxocariasis .  In contrast to Toxocara larvae, Baylisascaris larvae continue to grow during their time in the human host.  Tissue damage and the signs and symptoms of baylisascariasis are often severe because of the size of Baylisascaris larvae, their tendency to wander widely, and the fact that they do not readily die.  Diagnosis is usually made by serology, or by identifying larvae in biopsy or autopsy specimens.

The best prevention advice is to stay away from wild animals, live or dead, and call a Wild Animal Control Expert immediately. If your pet is acting ill or strange, contact your veterinarian immediately.

Remember, raccoons are intelligent and clever animals. They are also powerful and can be vicious when trapped or cornered.

The professional will have the proper equipment to accomplish the task and will be able to tell if a trapped female is nursing its young. This is very important because you don’t want to leave young behind to starve.

The professional will also have the means to euthanize the animals, since releasing them elsewhere is prohibited by law. Released animals may return or present a problem to someone else and, in fact, the animal you have trapped may have been deliberately released near you. Release of animals is a major factor in the dissemination of numerous diseases to other animals. They will cleanse, sanitize and deodorize all raccoon toilets, droppings, feces, raccoon urine soaked attic insulation as a bio hazardous material.

It is very important to learn to recognize raccoon toilets so that they can be properly removed and sanitized. To ensure that raccoons do not return, follow up with other appropriate measures to exclude raccoons from your area.

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