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Health Hazards Posed by Wildlife Animals

Easy access to food and shelter make human properties attractive to wildlife animals. Their presence does not only affect structures and landscapes, it also poses health hazards to the people and pets living nearby. These nuisances carry along with them parasites, bacteria, and infectious diseases, which are transmitted through their droppings, urine, remains, bite, scratch or contamination.

The following are common health threats that wildlife species may transmit to humans and domestic animals. Becoming well-informed of the potential diseases and taking precautions to moderate exposure will significantly decrease the chances of becoming infected.

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Bats

Bats live in dark and humid places, which are ideal for mold and fungus growth. If their droppings and urine are left on your attic floor, it can become a place for harmful growth. Mold and fungus growth aren’t only detrimental to your respiratory system; they can also pose danger to your home’s structure. Moreover, bat feces contain Histoplasma capsulatum, a dimorphic fungus that can lead to Histoplasmosis ( a type of lung infection) when inhaled. Bats may look harmless when sleeping but don’t be fooled because they are quick to react and can be aggressive if they are alarmed or threatened. A bat’s bite isn’t that painful, however, they have rabies, which can be fatal.

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Birds

Birds can spread diseases rapidly since they can fly and travel great distances. Did you know that they can carry around 40 different kinds of parasite and can be a host to roughly 60 kinds of infectious diseases? Yes, there is more to the avian flu that you should be concerned about. What’s more alarming is that these diseases are airborne and can be transferred to humans just by being around their droppings. Common transmissible bird diseases associated with pigeons, starlings, woodpeckers, and house sparrows are Histoplasmosis, Candidiasis, Cryptococcosis, St. Louis encephalitis, Salmonellosis, and E.coli.

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Geese

Geese leave large quantities of feces daily. A single goose can defecate up to 1.5 pounds of feces every 20 minutes in a day, which contain a wide array of pathogens (Salmonella, Campylobacter, Escherichia coli, Listeria, and Chlamydia) and parasites (Cryptosporidium, Giardia, and Toxoplasmosis) that can infect humans and local animals. Apart from the pollution they cause to the bodies of water, their droppings can also increase the risk of personal injury resulting from falls as people especially kids lose footing on their slippery manure.

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Groundhogs

Groundhogs may likely have rabies that can be transmitted through bites or scratches. So, if you have encountered a groundhog that resulted in an injury, visit a medical professional promptly. They are also a carrier of bacterium Francisella tularensis that can cause Tularemia, a rare infectious disease that normally attacks the eyes, skin, lymph nodes, and the lungs. Furthermore, they are known to carry ticks and fleas, which spread Lyme disease to humans.

Moles

Though moles normally stay underground, if touched, cornered or confused, they may bite, which can transmit rabies. They also carry fleas and ticks that can cause diseases, including Lyme disease, anaplasmosis, Rocky Mountain spotted fever, and tularemia.

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Skunks

One can acquire rabies through skunk bites and scratches. Apart from rabies, there are various diseases that humans can catch from skunks, such as Tularemia, Leptospirosis, and Lyme disease; these are usually transmitted through a bite, scratch, urine and feces. Skunks may also carry canine distemper, which can impact your dogs.

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Raccoons

Although raccoons appear to be delightful and innocent, they also bring critical health hazards to humans. The most extensively known disease raccoons convey is rabies, which can be transmitted through a bite or scratch. A raccoon is a carrier of leptospirosis, Giardia, and Salmonella too, which can be spread through their urine and fecal matter. Fleas and ticks in raccoons also carry diseases, including Lyme disease. The parasites raccoon roundworms or Baylisascaris procyonis are also present in raccoons’ feces. If you unknowingly ingested roundworm eggs, you may suffer from liver complications, loss of muscle control, fatigues, and blindness if the eyes are affected.

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Squirrels

Though squirrels and humans coexist peacefully, one should not be comfortable petting them as they are carriers of rabies and tetanus, which can be passed through biting and scratching. They carry parasites such as fleas and ticks as well. These parasites will make their home in your carpet, furniture, and pets and can be hard to eliminate. Spraying urine and leaving droppings are squirrel’s ways of marking their territory and their urine contains leptospirosis while their droppings carry salmonella.

If you discover these critters in your property, contact a Wildlife Removal Professional immediately. They are skilled in approaching and handling wildlife animals and their products. Always keep in mind, avoid getting in contact with these nuisance and don’t attempt to do the trapping or removal by yourself.

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