You’ve seen their cute little faces peering in at you through patio doors, windows, and from the branches of trees. In fact, it can be downright tricky to resist the charms of this cute little masked bandit. So much so, you may be asking yourself, are raccoons dangerous? The answer to this question is a resounding yes. They are dangerous to humans and pets and cause an untold amount of property damage. This is especially true when they take up residence in your attic, crawl into your chimney or designate an area on your property as a raccoon latrine.
Raccoons and Humans
Are raccoons dangerous to humans? Yes. In fact, raccoons can cause serious health hazards to you and your pets.
Raccoons are prevalent throughout Maryland. This means that sooner or later, you’re likely to encounter one. They’re also more likely than most wild animals to be a carrier of rabies. Raccoons are, in fact, the second most prevalent wild animal carrier of rabies, accounting for 28.6 percent of all reported cases in 2017. Since it’s possible for you or your pet to contract rabies from a diseased raccoon, it’s important to avoid all contact with them. This is especially true of a raccoon that:
- Is foaming at the mouth
- Exhibits erratic or disoriented behavior
- Is lethargic
- Looks sickly
- Is overly aggressive
- Makes strange or odd noises
Any of these symptoms may indicate a raccoon has rabies. Don’t take any chances. Stay away from the animal and immediately contact a Maryland wildlife removal company or a wildlife control group trained to handle the situation. Seek medical attention immediately if you or a pet is bitten or scratched.
Humans and pets can acquire leptospirosis by coming into contact with the secretions or urine of an infected animal. For instance, if you touch a surface (such as a trash can) where an infected animal has deposited a secretion or if your pet walks through a raccoon latrine, the bacteria easily enter your home.
Raccoon roundworm, a parasite found in raccoon feces, may pose a more serious threat to humans than rabies. Although relatively harmless to the raccoon, raccoon roundworms may cripple, permanently blind, and even kill a human, as well as cause developmental delays in children. Pets and children can come into contact with it in your yard and bring it into your home. Seek medical attention immediately if you or someone in your home is exposed or suspected of being exposed. This parasite can also harm cats and dogs.
Raccoons who are infected with a microscopic parasite, the Giardia, can pass the parasite from their feces into the soil and water. Humans and pets coming into contact with infected soil or water may become infected and develop giardiasis, a diarrheal disease.
Are Raccoons Dangerous to Pets
Aside from rabies, leptospirosis, giardiasis, and raccoon roundworm, which we’ve already discussed, raccoons pose other threats to your pet.
Raccoons can carry canine distemper, which can spread to dogs who come into direct contact with the infected raccoon’s urine, droppings, or bodily fluids.
Ticks and Fleas
Raccoons can have ticks and fleas, which can be transferred to your yard, pet, and home. Maryland has a high incidence of Lyme disease, which the ticks can transfer to you if an infected tick bites you.
It’s unlikely that a healthy raccoon will pick a fight with a dog or cat. However, if a dog chases a sick/injured raccoon or corners a raccoon, especially a mother protecting her young, the raccoon will fight back. Although cats are unlikely to chase a raccoon, fights over food in your pet’s dish may occur, especially once the raccoon becomes accustomed to eating from the bowl. Raccoons like dog food, as well, and you know how diligently your dog will guard his food bowl. Although a raccoon can seriously injure a dog, it’s unlikely to be killed. A raccoon, however, can easily inflict severe wounds and even kill a cat.
Are Raccoons Dangerous
Are raccoons dangerous? Yes, and raccoons are one of the animals most likely to break into your home or set up housekeeping in your attic. The professionals at Mid Atlantic Wildlife Control will help you deal with any problems you’re having with raccoons. We can remove them from your home and identify where they gained access. Our trained technicians will humanely remove the critter, thereby, avoiding stress and harm to the raccoon. Give Mid Atlantic Wildlife Control a call at 443-417-3137 or contact us online.