When it comes to animal control, there are usually more than two sides. Raccoon and squirrel removal are just two minor issues. But in this post, we’ll attempt to debunk the common myths involved in animal control. Hopefully, we can help clear all confusions and questions you have in mind. Here you go:
In August, the Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry will begin hand-dropping baits in selected cities and urban areas. Other than Toronto, they will also target other areas within the raccoon rabies control zone, such as Brantford, Burlington, Hamilton, Kitchener, and Niagara Falls.
In addition, an aircraft will be used to drop the vaccine baits across the eastern and southern part of Ontario, including Hamilton, Niagara Peninsula, and Stratford. By using an aircraft, it will be easier for crews to target forested and rural areas that are impossible to access by foot.
The Rabies Vaccine Baits
The rabies vaccine baits are easily recognizable because of their army-green colour and small size. They also come with a DO NOT EAT label and tons of free rabies details printed on them.
To make the government’s effort effective, the public is asked not to tamper and disturb the dropped baits. If possible, keep pets away from them, too. The vaccine is meant to keep foxes, raccoons, and skunks immunized from rabies.
Although exposure to these rabies vaccine baits is not harmful, pets that ingest these vaccines may experience an upset stomach. If your pet eats the bait, the government urges you to seek help from a veterinarian.
Serious Rabies Prevention Efforts
In 2016, there have been 288 confirmed rabies cases in Ontario alone. One special case involved a bat. In Hamilton, the recorded cases last year involved one red fox, one cat, two bats, 76 skunks, and 127 raccoons.
It is probably because of the alarming number of cases that the government is taking action against rabies. It is expected that they’ll wrap up their efforts in the late fall.
The little critter’s misadventure started last Monday, June 11, 2018, when it was stranded over the ledge of Town Square building.
Initial Help and Rescue Attempts
The maintenance workers of the building wanted to lure the raccoon to down by creating a 20-foot system of ropes and lumbers. However, instead of climbing down, it fled and started to make its way up to the concrete facade of the tower.
Passers-by started to gather around the streets to watch the heart-thumping action while rescuers from St. Paul’s animal control and the Wildlife Rehabilitation Center of Minnesota made their way to the location.
While watching the little creature’s climb, a woman expressed her thoughts towards the incident. She said she’d be feel devastated if the raccoon fell. Another onlooker stated that if the raccoon is rescued, it would be a very good news story for the world.
How the Raccoon Made It Up the Building
Suzanne MacDonald, a raccoon behaviour expert, admitted she was very worried about the animal. She explained that raccoons don’t really think ahead. Hence, they don’t have a good instinct control. She added that the creature may not have realized what was in for it when it began to climb up.
Initial reports say that the raccoon went up to a lower part of the building in search for bird eggs. However, the workers who tried to help the creature down seemed to have scared it. That is the reason why it did what a raccoon is expected to do when in a stressful situation: it climbed.
An Instant Online Celebrity
The raccoon became an instant Internet sensation as videos and photos of it climbing up the tower made rounds on various social media channels. While some were cheering on the little creature on its every attempt to summit, others were hoping it was rescued as soon as possible.
Meanwhile, the workers inside the building can’t do anything about the situation. Since no windows and balconies can be opened, they just had to watch anxiously as the raccoon climbed and shared photos on social media to provide updates about the condition and the whereabouts of the creature.
Because of the incident, the hashtag #mprraccoon began to trend, attracting celebrities and famous personalities.
One is James Gunn, the director of the blockbuster film, Guardians of the Galaxy, which starred a smart raccoon. He said he will be donating $1,000 to the chosen charity of anyone who saves the raccoon.
Healthy and Safe
By Tuesday night, the poor raccoon was still on its way up. At the summit, the rescuers from St. Paul Animal Control already placed cat food and some traps, hoping to entice and guide the animal to safety.
Also called the Eurasian red squirrel, the red squirrel is an omnivorous rodent that is prevalent in North America, Italy, Ireland, and Great Britain. Due to habitat loss, its population has declined drastically in the past few years.
Its most distinguishable feature is its sharp, curved claws, which allow it to climb up the trees and jump over think branches. It also has a long tail that helps it balance while jumping and running from tree to tree and keeps it warm while sleeping.
This creature sheds its coat two times a year. When summer is near, it switches to a thinner coat. During winter, it changes to a dark and thicker coat.
Haines personally witnessed such behavior in 2014 while doing field work on red squirrels near Kluane National Park. The behavior is termed sexually selected infanticide.
How It All Began
She recalled what had happened. She said she heard a bit of a commotion near her so she decided to look over. That was when she saw the odd event. It just happened so fast. Her curiosity made her decide to conduct a further study.
She started tagging the ears of some squirrels using distinct markers. That way, she could easily identify which squirrels were involved. At one moment, she saw a male squirrel enter the territory of the females. It immediately grabbed a pup and bit its stomach and chest, killing it instantly. After that, the male squirrel was chased by the mother, making it decide to drop the deceased pup.
Male Rivalry at Its Finest
Haines could not right and there conclude if the male squirrel was the father of the pups, the reason why genetic techniques and strategies were performed. After several tests, it was found that the male squirrel that killed the pup was not the father.
At that time, Haines concluded that the male squirrel killed the offspring of his rival. Later on that year, it was already the father of the female squirrel’s new set of offspring. By killing the pup, it had an advantage over its rival.
In the later part of the study, it was also found that female squirrels can breed quickly if their first set of litter is killed. When a female squirrel’s litter dies, she’s more likely to have another batch. Otherwise, she’d less likely have another offspring.
The Killing of Offspring Is Common During Mast Years
The study was done during those years when there was an abundance of white spruce cones – the primary food source of squirrels. These trees are known to produce vast amounts of cones annually. But there are also years when they produce cones periodically. These years are called the “mast years”.
Interestingly, squirrels can tell when these mast years will happen. During these years, which happen rarely, female squirrels usually have two litters.
The Surprising Conclusion
Haines then concluded that infanticide happens frequently during the mast years because it is the time when female squirrels are likely to give birth to another set of litter. During other years, they don’t usually produce another litter, hence she thinks male squirrels won’t spend much time and energy killing the offspring. After all, they would not benefit from doing it.
Then again, during the mast years, the survival rate of red squirrel pups is still high despite the death of the first batch of pups. Also, sexually selected infanticide is rampant only among animals that live in groups, including grizzly bears and lions. Like red squirrels, lions kill the babies of their rivals before they can lead the pride.
As you can see, the weather condition is starting to improve. That only means Spring is upon us. But no matter how amazing this season is, it also marks the start of pest infestation. Every Spring, plenty of creepy crawlies and bugs work their way into our homes.
Well, fret not. You can be proactive and begin to take action now to keep these unwanted pests at bay. To do that, be familiar with the most common pests in Toronto during Spring 2018 to come up with the right pest-deterring solutions and maintain a pest-free home.
During warm weather, ants forage for food. When the temperature rises, they will search distant places to find food. In some cases, they reach our homes. To keep them at bay, look for their entry points and seal them with petroleum jelly. Sprinkling chili pepper, pure cinnamon, garlic, or dried peppermint at their entrances can also keep them from getting into your homes.
Spring is one of the best times for bat colonies to invade your attics. Since they have been hibernating throughout the Winter season, they become active once the snow melts and begin to forage water and food. Now, if bats are hiding somewhere in your attic or other places in your home, the only way to get rid of them is to relocate them by hand and then bat-proofing your entire home.
Beetles are among the most common pests that infest our homes every Spring season. Normally, during the cold days, they hide between the walls of our homes. When they begin to feel the warmth, they get out and wander around. More often, they are found around the showers and sinks since these places have lots of water. To get rid of them, insecticides can be used because they will die quickly anyway.
4. Bed Bugs
Unsurprisingly, bed bugs love to hide in and around the bed. They are so small that they can easily slip into the seams of mattresses, headboards, and even bed frames. Although they are not considered threats to public safety, they have to be eradicated because they can cause itching and trigger some serious allergic reactions. Sad to say, getting rid of these pesky critters can be tough. Thorough cleaning of the entire bed will be required, which can consume so much time.
While birds seem like harmless creatures, sometimes, when threatened or provoked, they can attack humans. Also, other bird species may carry certain strains of avian flu, which are considered threats to human health. The best and safest way to discourage them from hanging out in your homes is to install nets in any space available.
6. Cockroaches Cockroaches are all over the world. When a place is warm and humid, their populations thrive. No wonder why during Spring time, they seem to multiply so quickly. But take note that these creepy crawlies are very dangerous to humans. They can be carriers of bacteria such as Salmonella and E. coli. To prevent cockroach infestation, keep all possible areas of your home clean and dry. Seal gaps in the walls and floors with caulk to keep them from coming out.
Fleas are commonly found in the fur of animals. When they make it indoors, they can be very hard to remove. Once they get into your homes, they can cause serious issues because they carry with them diseases like typhus. To deter them, you can use special medications on your pet. The use of essential oils and aromatics can also help. Mix several drops of lemon or citronella essential oil with water and spray them to your pets every other day.
Like birds and ants, flies can be everywhere. However, they thrive more in places where there are garbages, animal waste, or rotting food. To make sure they do not make their way into your home, always make it a habit to take the trash out, clean up your garbage bins, and wipe spills as soon as possible.
Like fleas, mites enjoy being in the furs of our beloved pets, where they feed on their blood. Although they do not carry any serious health risk, they can be extremely itchy. To keep out of your pet’s fur, it is advised to use only the recommended pet soaps or shampoos. If you ever walk into a mite-infested area, make sure you take a hot shower and rinse thoroughly.
Mosquitoes are very active during the spring. They thrive in areas with still water like marshes, swamps, ponds, and lakes. While the male mosquitoes only feed on flower nectar, the females attack humans and animals. If ever you get bitten by a mosquito, you experience itchiness and redness in the area affected. The good news is that you can prevent them from wreaking havoc in your homes. Make sure the windows are always closed, install screens, and cover any stagnant water at home.
Another pest that gives us headache every Spring season is the moth. This pest resides in the pantry and in cupboards, particularly in areas where there are candies, dried fruits, grains, or even pet food. Once moth infestation is detected, start cleaning around. Get rid of any packages that have bugs and inspect the rest of the unopened ones for any signs of larvae. Once cleared, vacuum every corner and scrub them with soap water. To prevent future infestations, be sure you clean the kitchen regularly.
12. Opossums Opossums are opportunistic creatures that feed on meat and vegetables. Because they can easily adapt to seasons, it is not surprising why they survive Canada’s unpredictable climate. These annoying creatures enjoy staying in one area as long as there is food and shelter. Yes, it is challenging to get rid of them, but it can also be fun. Whenever they feel threatened, they play dead, making it easy for you to pick them up and carry them away.
13. Raccoons Raccoons are among the most notorious pests every Spring season. These smart creatures feed on garbage and are known to remember things for up to three years. No wonder raccoon problems are so hard to solve. Due to their intelligence, perhaps the only way to outsmart them is to be proactive. Limit their access to shelter and food.
Wherever there is garbage, rodents live. If we review our history lesson, you should be aware that rodents are known to be transmitters of epidemic diseases, transmitting deadly infections like typhus and Lyme disease. That only means we have to get rid of them in any possible way. Seal holes that could be used by rodents as entry points to your homes. Store food in sealed containers. If there are certain areas rodents are attracted to, spray it with a solution made of cayenne pepper, garlic, and horseradish.
15. Skunks Skunks need no special introduction. When they are around, some Canadians do not know what to do in fear of the unpleasant odor they release. Well, the best way to keep these creatures away is through exclusion. Make sure there are no holes in your home, which they can use to create a den. Installing fences can also be helpful to prevent entry.
The warm weather is the perfect time for wild creatures to be on the move. Hence, during Spring or Summer, the chances of encountering a snake are higher. The good thing is that, in Canada, there is only one venomous snake species; that is the Eastern Massasauga Rattlesnake. All the other species are non-venomous. To make sure no snake gets into your home, clean those places they can use as a habitat, such as piles of wood and high grass. Also, seal gaps and cracks in the walls to keep them from entering your home.
Spiders can be seen everywhere, but they pretty much enjoy hiding in the cupboards, chests, nooks, and woodpiles. Though many of us are afraid of spiders, they actually play a vital role in the ecosystem. Now, if you are decided to get rid of them, simply clear away any clutter in your home. Vacuum the storage areas and spray essential oils in the corners of your abode.
Besides dry desserts and icy regions, squirrel population can thrive. Every Spring time, survival can be tough because they have nothing good to eat. They will have to wait until late summer to have new food sources. For that reason, they begin to infest homes. If you do not want the sight of them in your house, keep nuts, fruits, and seeds out of their reach. Also, set up gutter guards to prevent entry.
While termites don’t carry serious infection and bacteria, they can wreak havoc to your homes as they feed on wood and roots. That means if your house is made of wood or you have plenty of wooden furniture pieces around your home, termites will pretty much attack them. Then again, you can keep these common house pests from destroying your house’s foundation. Spray essential oils like orange oil and spray them in all possible areas made of wood.
20. Wasps Wasps can quickly adapt to different climates. That is the reason they thrive in pretty much all sorts of habitats. Though they are not serious problems because they actually have an important role in the ecosystem, they can trigger allergic reactions to some persons. To discourage them from creating nests near your home, spray non-toxic essential oils.
If you are observant enough, you will notice that as the season changes, so do the pests that infest our homes. Of course, it is normal to see these pesky creatures. But that does not suggest you can’t do anything. Perhaps, the best way to deter them is to be familiar of the pests you are preparing for. Hopefully, this list of 20 of the most common pests in Toronto during Spring 2018 can help you in your preparations.
In 2017, a huge number of cases of rabies, 149 to be specific, were recorded in Ontario. Even though it has decreased to almost half the number it was in 2016, it is more than what was reported during the six-year span from 2010 to 2015.
During the last year, rabies virus was found in 20 bats, 37 skunks, one red fox, one cat, four cows, and 86 raccoons, making up the majority.
It was noted that rabies cases were maximum during the summer and spring months. However, the rate of diagnosis was almost constant throughout the year, with 10 cases reported in the month of December alone – five in skunks and five in raccoons. Most of these cases were spotted in and around the Hamilton region, one in Brant County being an exception.
Hamilton has been a been a victim time and again with the area being the target of rabies virus outbreak in December, as well as, in the year 2015. It was, later on, discovered that the reason for the outbreak in December 2015 was the fight in an animal control van between a raccoon and two dogs. It was also determined that the raccoon had somehow contracted the virus in Big Apple, i.e., the New York state initially.
It was found that a maximum number (nine) of December cases were tied to this outbreak and one in the Brant County region.
The tenth case of December was linked back to a separate incident involving a fox. This was diagnosed in animals between the areas of Huron County and Waterloo. It was further tied to an animal in Blyth region.
The 14 cases of rabies from the fox were confirmed as a part of that breakout. On the other hand, the upsurge in rabies virus in the Hamilton region due to raccoon reached around 385 animals.
The fact that, there had been no more than 50 confirmed cases since the year 2008 in Ontario, prior to this outbreak, definitely cannot be ignored.
Hence, it is advisable to be very alert and careful while dealing with such rabies-transmitting wild animals. Better yet, you should get in touch with a professional to deal with such incidents to avoid any mishaps.
SOS Wildlife Control provides wildlife removal and pest control services in Toronto and the surrounding GTA to all kinds of clients; residential, industrial and commercial. With years of experience in dealing with all kinds of wild animals, our certified and experienced technicians will make sure that all your pest-related problems are taken care of adequately in a hassle-free and timely manner.
So, do not wait till the problem gets worse and get in touch with us immediately. You can call us at 647-994-9453. We are available 24*7 for you.