Talking to Volunteers at Procyon Wildlife Veterinarian and Rehabilitation Services

Today we interviewed Linda from Procyon Wildlife Veterinarian and Rehabilitation Services to learn more about what they do as volunteers, their experiences, the good times and the bad.

Procyon Wildlife is a non-profit wildlife rehabilitation center committed to helping wildlife in need. Their hardworking, passionate and caring volunteers spend their time caring for wildlife like raccoons, coyotes, foxes etc. and don’t gain a single cent from it. Their operations are run with the help of donations from people like you!


  1. How long have you been a volunteer at Procyon Wildlife?

8 years

  1. What types of animals do you handle?

Every type of wildlife that is native to our area.  Coyotes, foxes, squirrels, fawns, opossums, groundhogs, weasels and raccoons

  1. What kind of services does Procyon Wildlife offer?

We are a rescue, rehabilitation and release center.  We take in injured and sick wildlife but we deal mostly with orphaned babies.

  1. Approximately how many volunteers does Procyon have and how many are needed?

At the minute, we have approximately 90 volunteers but to run efficiently we really need 120.

  1. What do you feel is the most difficult thing wildlife is facing right now?

Loss of their natural habitat has negative and extensive consequences.

  1. Do you feel like there is a certain type of wildlife making more of an appearance at the rehabilitation center than others? What animal and why do you think so?

Yes. At Procyon, we deal with a lot of squirrels and raccoons.  Again it is because we are taking away their natural habitat.  Many rescues do not rehab raccoons so we take as many as possible.  Raccoons are very clever and can outwit many of the guards put in place to keep them out of an area.

  1. What kind of jobs are there available for volunteers?

Animal care is our most popular, however we need volunteers for our education program, fundraising, site maintenance, drivers and answering phones.

  1. Describe your daily routine as a volunteer

We have 3 shifts 5 am-9 am  Noon-4:00 pm and Evening 7-11 pm.  When a volunteer arrives they first read the observations made from the previous shift.  This way we are aware if there are problems with any particular animal or litter.  Then it is preparing formula/food for the babies.  Each orphan is weighed to calculate the amount they are to be fed.  Their enclosures are cleaned each shift.  After all the babies are fed,  the dirty dishes and laundry must be done and then the floors must be mopped.  This is an animal hospital so care must be taken that it remains as clean as possible.

  1. What made you decide to volunteer at Procyon Wildlife?

My whole life I have been surround by animals, although they were horses, dogs and cats, not wildlife.  When I came across an ad for Procyon, it just seemed natural to become a volunteer.

  1. What is your favorite part about volunteering at Procyon Wildlife?

When orphans arrive at Procyon, they are basically dying.  If we didn’t rescue them then they could not survive at such a young age.  To watch them being released gives volunteers a feeling of pride that they helped these babies survive.

  1. Describe your most memorable experience you’ve had while volunteering at Procyon Wildlife

There are many memorable times in a volunteer’s shift, and it really depends on the volunteer and the animal involved.  I have so many but for me it was a raccoon who had a case number but we called him Andy.  That was in 2011 and to this day I put Andy’s picture on any poster I’m involved in.  He was just special and I often wonder if he is still out there enjoying the good life.

  1. What is the most difficult part about volunteering with Procyon Wildlife?

I think everyone would agree that it is when we lose animals.  Whether is is from illness or injuries it is difficult to see their loss.

  1. What is the most rewarding thing about working with Procyon Wildlife?

Saving the animals is the most rewarding, but working with other same minded volunteers is something that makes you look forward to your next shift.

  1. Describe your overall experience with volunteering with Procyon Wildlife in 5 words

Joy, Anger, tenderness, pride and sadness

  1. How can people help Procyon Wildlife continue to aid wildlife in need?

We must learn to live with wildlife in every way that we can.  Secure places that they find attractive to have their litters.  Do not litter and keep garbage cans covered.  Help your wildlife facilities by donating items from their wish lists to monetary donations.  Procyon is run strictly on donations.  There is no government funding and every cent brought in goes towards formula, medications, vaccines and veterinary care.  No one at our facility receives a penny.

  1. Would you and why would you recommend volunteering at Procyon Wildlife

As I have said, it can be hard work as the babies get bigger, but there is nothing more rewarding then knowing that you have been part of a team that gives these babies a chance at the life they should have.  That is payment in itself.

  1. Additional Comments you would like to share?

Volunteering with Procyon might not be for everyone, but for those with a love for animals and our environment, it is very satisfying.  Working with wildlife gives you knowledge about the beauty of these creatures and you are in a position to be able to inform people in your community about their importance.


Thank you Linda, for sharing your experiences with Procyon Wildlife to us.  We along with wildlife that has been affected are greatly appreciative and in awe of what wildlife rehabilitators like Procyon Wildlife does for animals out there. If you would like to volunteer or donate to Procyon Wildlife, visit their website here


Toronto Wildlife Removal

Last Updated: May 2016

What does Toronto Wildlife Removal mean? To us, it means saving our clients from unwanted visitors (a.k.a urban wildlife), and humanely bringing the visitors back to their natural habitats. Both in the City of Toronto and in the Greater Toronto Area, wildlife can be a nuisance to many residents, business owners, and industrial/agricultural environments.

What is Wildlife?

Wildlife traditionally refers to non-domesticated animal species. Wildlife can be found in all ecosystems, in both urban and rural sites. Common wildlife animals found in the GTA are birds, pigeons, skunks, snakes, raccoons, squirrels, opossums, and bats. Most times, these animals will behave in hostile manners when aggravated, and can be considered as dangerous and sometimes infectious.

Wildlife & Human Co-Habitance

In most cases, wildlife and humans can co-exist in urban areas. While everyone goes about their businesses, conflicts do arise at times. As weather gets cooler, urban wildlife starts seeking shelter. Raccoons, squirrels, pigeons, and bats may settle in attics, between walls, and chimneys; causing significant damage and health hazards to homeowners. Skunks could hide under porches or decks and spray house pets or unwary residents. Human-wildlife conflict does arise frequently in Toronto.

Fall is a peak season for Toronto wildlife removal needs as many animals start looking for food and shelter from the fast approaching cold weather conditions. This is the time to wildlife proof your property to avoid unwanted visitors. Usually finding warmth and food in or around a structure. Wildlife such as raccoons and squirrels easily get acclimated to their new habitats, often bringing their dependents with them. Removing wildlife in humane manner requires very specific skill-sets as well as in-depth knowledge of all the animals. Although there are many DIY solutions available for all wildlife removal needs, one can never predict the results of these projects. Trained technicians can understand animals’ behaviors, predict their motives, and even know their next moves. Trained technicians can also tell if wildlife has been breeding, where the babies may be, and if wildlife has or is suffering from any injuries. Most importantly professionals have the proper gear, equipment, and animal storage and removal tools to avoid any harm to you, to the animals, or to themselves. At SOS Wildlife Control Incorporated, we ensure your safety, as well as the safety of the animals. Our trained wildlife control technicians help relocate wildlife as per Environment Canada’s guidelines. We ensure the animals are injury and stress free during this process. We try to use one ways doors as our first solution. This involves no wildlife human interaction but if this option is not suitable we use wildlife friendly cages where animals are transported comfortable and free of restraints to their new, natural environments.

Toronto wildlife removal services have become a necessity for many home and business owners as urban wildlife number are on an increase. Due to the quick adaptability and fast- breeding nature, wildlife quickly adjusts to their new environments and they promptly pass this knowledge down to their offspring, creating a smarter generation of unwanted guests. Once an animal has established a home, they like to keep it. Any female offspring raised here, will also want to return to the same place to have their own litters. Given many of the wildlife are extremely intelligent, it is quite possible for this to take place. For many reasons aside from the simple attachment issues, it is very imperative to remove all wildlife as soon as possible before it becomes a matter of a serious infestation problem.

How to Avoid Toronto Wildlife Removal Services

  • Lock up all recyclables and garbage in animal proof bins, ensure lids are securely closed at all times
  • Take garbage and recyclables out often
  • Remove any and all uneaten pet foods from pets’ bowls, remove all bird feeders at night
  • Caution neighbors against wildlife feeding, contact your local council if problem persists
  • Survey the structure of your home regularly, be aware of all cracks and holes and ensure proper measures are taken to fix these deficiencies
  • Keep your home clean and organized, don’t leave opened packages of food out or overnight
  • Keep your yard tidy by removing all unnecessary items and debris. Mow your lawn, and rake leaves regularly
  • Ensure doors and windows are closed, as most wildlife are superior climbers
  • Screen entry points and maintain fencing

Our Approach to Toronto Wildlife Removal

While there are different approaches trained technicians can use such as no trapping, or lethal trapping; we like to use the One Way Door or the Live Trapping method at SOS Wildlife Control Incorporated. This method allows use to trap the wildlife to ensure successful captivity, but it also allows us to inspect the animals to ensure they are uninjured before releasing them back into the wild. If animals are captured at the time of birthing/nesting period, we place them in protected boxes and ensure they are located to a safe environment, no further than 1 km away from the location of captivity, as per provincial guidelines. We provide the Toronto and GTA residents, humane wildlife removal services.

Wildlife Fun Facts:

  • On the mammal IQ scale, raccoons rank higher than cats, and just below monkeys
  • Squirrels are extremely intelligent: they are known to put elaborate bogus food burying display to deceive onlookers. The purpose of this fake burial is to trick potential thieves: other squirrels
  • Skunks are nocturnal. They sleep during the day and look for food at night
  • Opossums have remarkable ability to find food and remember its source. When tested for ability to remember where food it, opossums scored better than rats, rabbits, and dogs. They can also find their way through a maze faster than rodents and cats.

At SOS Wildlife Control Incorporated, we provide superior Toronto Wildlife Removal services for residential, commercial, and industrial clients. Let us help you solve your wildlife problems. We easily be reached at 1-800-981-0330. Don’t wait and call us to schedule an appointment for a thorough inspection to help evacuate all your unwanted wildlife guests.

Raccoon Control – Ukraine’s Army of Raccoons

Raccoon Control – Ukraine

The Ukraine army are planning to train baby raccoons as sappers to find explosives and sniff mines. This all stemmed from last spring when an officer rescued a raccoon from hunting dogs. The unit decided to foster him and named him Hook. They soon found him a girlfriend – Alice and the couple now live happily in the unit. However what the raccoons don’t know is that their offspring will be trained from kits (babies) to search for explosives and mines. It’s a combat engineering purpose and an unofficial raccoon control technique, which I personally think is very intelligent as raccoons are quick learners, very crafty, extremely adaptable and expert problem solvers. But asking zoologists some says yes they are smart enough, some zoologists say no, too aggressive and curious. But the future will tell if these black bandits can become sergeants.

Raccoon Control Toronto

Waiting on the raccoon fate is similar to Toronto and the new green bins that are being issued to tackle our human-wildlife conflict. Toronto has it’s own army of wild raccoons that troop around our city, enter our homes as they wish, take siege in our attics and obstruct our backyards. And we cant forget our urban cowboy the squirrel who are as bad. Toronto has taken measures to tackle the human-wildlife conflict with the new green bins with a twist handle which should stop raccoons opening them. Hopefully this will work as a raccoon control measure and stop raccoons having a one stop shop for food. Although the repercussions of this could see raccoons breaking into our homes and eating from cupboards, but as I said the future will tell. Maybe we should take inspiration from the Ukraine army and think further outside the box to help with raccoon control. As it is illegal to kill these animals, ideas to train them to help in other areas just like we use dogs is an idea. I am not saying this is ideal as I am all about leaving wildlife to be wild but the human – wildlife conflict in Ontario needs to be approached on some level. The Ukraine Army training them is inspiring and highlights there are answers to our conflicts.

Not to quote Suits but there are always options. “When you’re backed against the wall, break the god damn thing down!” 🙂

For more information on Ukraine’s raccoon army check out he article – “Ukraine’s Army to Train Raccoons as Sappers“. Until Toronto can reach an answer to our raccoon control problem you can call SOS Wildlife Control Incorporated who can look after your wildlife needs, we remove all animals humanely from your property and they are taken a mile away and released back into the wild. Check out our raccoon removal page for more information.

Call SOS Wildlife Control Incorporated for Raccoon Control: 647.994.9453

Why Do Urban Wildlife Break In?

Last Updated: May 2016

Why do animals break in? It is very frustrating when wildlife enter our homes as they are messy, noisy and just plain annoying. Growing up we learn that urban wildlife are generally more scared of us than we are of them, but then why do they become unwanted house guests?
I believe that understanding why animals break in will help us solve this problem. If you check out our post How do animals get in you will find ways which will also help keep urban wildlife out.

2 main reasons for wildlife breaking into houses

  1. Adaptation
  2. Primal needs

1. Adaptation of urban wildlife

Raccoons, squirrels, skunks or opossums are constantly adapting better to urban life. As Toronto grows bigger wildlife have no choice but to adapt to the city, thus becoming less scared of humans. Many people feed raccoons or squirrels in their backyard or in the park, but this isn’t the best approach in dealing with wildlife in the city as they become less scared of us and they get confident approaching closer.

To help discourage wildlife from your property, do not feed them and when putting our your garbage, secure the bins. The new wildlife proof bins being introduced to Toronto should help this. If there are any wildlife animals in your yard, make large noises at them to leave. Inform your children to keep away from wildlife, especially when unsupervised, telling them not to feed them.

2. Primal Needs of urban wildlife

Raccoons, squirrels, skunks and other pests have basic needs that attract them to our homes. Their needs are similar to ours:

  • Shelter
  • Food
  • Heat
  • Nest

Animals are attracted to our homes as we have fulfilled these needs for ourselves, seeing it as a resource for themselves.


Raccoons, squirrels, opossums and skunks all look for dens not just during the cold weather but all year round. Raccoons, squirrels or any pest will take advantage of any weak parts on our homes. They will scratch or chew through wood or any small holes to gain entrance. To stop them gaining access to these areas it is advisable to cut away all tree branches near your home to reduce access and to assess you home several times a year to see if there are any holes or weak points that you should fix. I can’t advise wildlife proofing your home enough, a service SOS Wildlife Control Incorporated provide that is effective and is worth it. No matter how high a fence you put up to protect your property, many wildlife animals have very sharp claws and will burrow under it or find other means to counter-act it. Wildlife proofing includes putting a wire mesh under your fences or porch which restricts animals from digging down to go under. For more information on wildlife proofing please call us on 1800-981-0330


Wildlife are attracted to our homes because of fruit falling from trees, food in trashcans or in compost bins, BBQ leftovers and even pet bowls and bird feeders and more. It is important to clear out fallen fruit, have trashcans with tightly secure lids and take any precautions to ensure that food is inaccessible for wildlife. Soon we will have the new wildlife proof bins being released in Toronto in 2016. Lastly feed pets inside and don’t overflow bird feeders. Every little bit helps!


The heat escaping from holes in vents and open chimneys attract wildlife. It is important to check how efficient your home is, as it not only attracts critters but it is costing you money.

Below is a video of raccoons being chased by our team from the chimney flue. They are attracted to the heat.


Twice a year animals have babies but throughout the year wildlife keep an eye out for dens. However in baby season, Spring and Autumn, you will have a higher risk of finding wildlife in your homes as mothers are trying to find somewhere warm and dry to nest for a few weeks. If you do find baby animals in your home, do not touch them. Call SOS Wildlife Control Incorporated immediately as they need to be removed professionally and kept with their mother.

We will always have wildlife within our city environment, and we will have problems with these animals until we take preventative measures to keep them from homes. You can read our other posts on Toronto’s human – wildlife conflict and also Signs that wildlife are in your home already. Once the repairs are done and you begin a regular inspection of your home, we believe your wildlife problems will be over.

Wildlife in your home? How do wildlife get in?

Last Updated: May 2016

Do you hear noises in your attic, or hear scratching in the walls or chirping in your chimney? Then it is more than likely that you have wildlife in your home. In these cases the first step is to find out where exactly they are. The second is to figure out how they get in! Knowing what wildlife animal is on your property will help determine where you need to look.

Wildlife in your home


If you have mice on your property, then it will be tricky to figure out exactly how they are getting. Mice have the capability due to their size and dexterity to squeeze tiny entry ways. They are cunning creatures who find ways to enter through tiny cracks and holes. They dart in open doors and even in windows. Mice are good climbers and if you leave your windows open especially on the first floor it is possible they will enter in to your home.

Seal any gaps in your doors, cracks/holes on the outside of your home or any gaps between the window and the frame. Mice may also enter through vents, chimneys or around access holes created for pipes and cables. Sealing holes and cracks and putting screens on vents and chimneys is the best way to keep mice out. And don’t forget to keep your doors closed.


Although larger than mice, rats similar to mice can fit through very small holes. They can inhabit very small nooks and crannies inside a house, from walls to ceilings, crawl spaces and attics. Rats excretion as you will know is very dangerous, so it is vital if you have rats you have them removed and closely inspect for your house for their entry points. It is not always easy to spot entry points, but a brown grease marks is usually an identifier for it if used often. For rats, you may have to crawl into tight spots or in some cases dig which is why it is highly advised to hire a professional to get rid your rat problem.


Raccoons are extremely intelligent animals who have adapted to city and urban life in Toronto too well. Raccoons have different vision from humans. They are able to see the heat escaping from your home and approach that weak area and get inside. They might rip open a soffit or go through an open vent, tear a hole in the wall or even just climb through your pet door. Not only do they have great sight but they have a great sense of smell, so do not leave any pet food about as this attracts them and may lead the raccoons into your home. Below are common areas for raccoon entry. It is recommended to inspect these areas at least twice annually to make sure there are no holes or any weak areas that need to be replaced.


Squirrels, like raccoons enter through holes in the roof, rip soffits, go through an open vent, chimney or through a hole in the wall. Squirrels are usually more frightened of you than you are of it, so try making loud noises or play ongoing music or call a professional. Covering entry holes with metal mesh, capping chimneys and trimming trees back from your home will help keep them out. The above diagram shows entry points for raccoons as well as squirrels. These areas on your roof should be inspected twice annually to monitor and replace any weak areas.


Opossums are pests because they will do anything to break into your home. If a opossum learns you have food, in some cases they will return on a daily basis and cause havoc. Opossums will make a nest in your home by chewing through the exterior of your house to get into your walls, garage, attic etc. If opossums invade your home they can chew through wood, drywall, gnaw on electrics and rip up all insulation in your home. To prevent opossums from entering, remove all food sources, secure your garbage and put a wire mesh around your yard or house buried at a foot deep to stop them digging under it.

Always check for babies before removing an adult, and do not remove an adult and seal off the entry points as the babies will starve and die. The babies need to be humanely removed and reunited with their mother who will take them to another nest.

As explained, services and methods depend on the situation, the type of animal and how they get in. It is highly advised to wildlife proof your home, this involves sealing all vents and weak areas of your home with mesh. Surrounding your home with a foot deep mesh that will help prevent wildlife from digging under your home and gaining entry. You should check your home regularly throughout the year to see if there are any sign of animals trying to enter your home as the best method for wildlife control is prevention.

Animal Control vs Wildlife Control in Toronto

Last Updated: May 2016

Animal Control and Wildlife Control are terms that differ on many levels and are often mixed up. Understanding the difference between the two will help you receive the correct information and get in contact with the right help.

Animal Control handles mostly domestic animal cases, like dogs or cats

Wildlife Control deals with wildlife like raccoons, squirrels, skunks, bats etc. and are handled by private companies when on private property.

Animal Control

In Toronto and the GTA, animal control is handled by the city, who are responsible for preventing cruelty to animals, enforcing animal cruelty bylaws and housing stray animals.

They often provide the following:

  • Pet licensing
  • Animal Welfare
  • Unwated animals
  • Barking Complaints
  • Animals running at large
  • Adoption
  • Helping homeless, hungry or hurt animals

Here are several organization who can help you with animal services

For information on pet safety, food safety for pets, pet-proofing, and natural disaster prep for pet owners check out this great Pet Safety Guide by Expertise.

Wildlife Control

Wildlife control technicians handle animals who are generally seen in the wild and are not domesticated.

SOS Wildlife Control Incorporated provides the following services:

SOS Wildlife Control Incorporated does not handle geese. If you are experiencing geese problems, try Geese Management

For bears and other dangerous large wildlife, contact the police or the Ministry of Natural Resources (MNR).

Animal control and wildlife control differ in the animal species they manage, but they both promote and protect the health and safety of people and animals. Both animal and wildlife control organizations should be professional and humane; to be well versed and familiar not only with wildlife regulations and species conservation but also with laws, rules and regulations relevant to wildlife management.