Toronto, Canada's largest city, is particularly affected by the invasion of raccoons. Indeed, this widespread critter tends to steal anything that suits its omnivorous diet and can sometimes be aggressive towards pets and humans. Toronto residents often find out the hard way how smart and annoying raccoons can be.
Hailing from North America, the raccoon (Procyon lotor) is an invasive species that has established itself in different parts of the world. But Toronto remains the world's raccoon capital. Raccoons are among the largest wild animals that live in Toronto. A male raccoon can weigh up to 28 kilograms.
Due to its large population and the long list of diseases in which it can participate, the animal presents a health risk that Toronto residents need to be aware of.
The success of the expansion of this small opportunistic carnivore is due to its great capacity for adaptation in various environments, high reproductive potential, the absence of natural predators, and its omnivorous feeding habits.
To successfully remove a wild animal from a residential or commercial property, it is necessary to possess a nuanced body of knowledge, skills, and experience.
The guest that nobody would want to have at home
Among the diseases with a risk of transmission by raccoons are Baylisascariasis, Ascariasis, Rabies, Salmonellosis and Leptospirosis.
Baylisascariasis is caused by Baylisascaris procyonis, a nematode known as a roundworm or cylindrical worm, due to the shape of its body. It is a disease that is expanding in different parts of the world. The female produces millions of eggs and infects chickens, turkeys, partridges, guinea pigs, rodents, rabbits, hares, etc. The raccoon is the definitive host. The disease, which can affect other animals and humans, is acquired through the ingestion of eggs deposited in contaminated water, food or soil. The larvae can travel to different organs, but above all, it can cause very severe eye and neurological injuries. The response to treatment is quite limited, usually leaving significant sequelae and resulting in many fatal cases. In the US, between 68% and 82% of these mammals have this parasite.
Ascariasis is caused by the Ascaris lumbricoides parasite (known as the intestinal worm) that most frequently affects children. Females can measure up to 35 cm and males about 25 cm. The contagion occurs by putting the eggs into the mouth from one's contaminated hands. Fruits and vegetables, contaminated when they have not been washed properly, can also be sources of contagion. Infected raccoons can spread parasite eggs in their habitat through fecal droppings.
There is also a risk of rabies transmission through raccoon bites. Rabies is a lethal infectious disease that causes inflammation of the brain and is accompanied by hydrophobia, fever, and hallucinations. Most of the time, people become infected with rabies from the bites of sick animals, such as stray dogs, cats, and other wild animals. In North America, rabies is distributed by foxes, skunks, bats, and raccoons. Among these animals, humans most commonly come into contact with raccoons.
Moreover, raccoons can be living carriers of the disease for a long time. That is why people are advised to beware of aggressively acting animals and when they discover strange behaviour, immediately contact the municipal authorities and wildlife control professionals.
Symptoms of the disease are slightly different in animals and humans. Especially with regard to the behavioural effects. While in people, it is characterized by paralyzing the person and placing them in states of anxiety and depression, in animals it is characterized by manifestations of aggression.
In some environments, it is estimated that up to 5% of Salmonellosis can be transmitted by pets. Salmonellosis is produced by a bacterium, which, being present in raccoon feces, can be acquired through contaminated hands, food or water. The disease in its milder forms involves diarrhea, fever, vomiting, general malaise.
The causal agent of leptospirosis is a bacterium that infected raccoons excrete, particularly through urine. The clinical picture in most cases presents with fever, headache, muscle, joint and bone pain. Some cases evolve into severe forms with liver and kidney damage, hemorrhagic manifestations, and involvement of the meninges.
The restriction of economic activities and movement due to the coronavirus appears to have had positive effects on the environment. What is really happening is that by reducing human mobility, the pressure on wildlife is eased. Wildlife becomes more visible, but this does not necessarily mean an increase in their numbers.
Animals themselves pose no threat. However, it is important to maintain some distance between ourselves and the wildlife. We also have to maintain a distance between our pets and urban wildlife.
It is a well-known fact that the contact between wild and domestic animals is one of the most significant causes of the epidemic disease spillover.
The raccoon is certainly not a suitable animal for pets. As a young, they are friendly, while as an adult they become very aggressive. In short, you don't want to share your house with a raccoon.
Some Torontonians think that they can solve their raccoon problems easily by buying traps from their local home improvement store. However, be aware that dislodging a raccoon is not easy, and can be very dangerous. You should call a pest management company when dealing with a large wild animal such as a raccoon. See our tips for choosing the right exterminator.
Toronto's raccoons damage tens of thousands of buildings in the city every year. Roofs are at a particularly high risk of being damaged by critters. Raccoons can get into attics, damage insulation and soil the premises.
If your Toronto home's roof is damaged by a raccoon or you suspect raccoon damage, the following tip sheet is meant to offer you some guidance on roof repairs and animal-proofing work that TSR Wildlife Removal can offer.
Familiarize yourself with raccoons and the kinds of roof and building damage they can cause. Learn to recognize the first signs of a problem and take steps to strengthen your roof. These roof maintenance tips can help strengthen your roof and prevent costly damage by making it more difficult for raccoons to damage your roof.
Every day, your roof is put to the test. Sunlight can cause shingles to bend and crack, and an overheated attic can cause them to age faster. To keep airflow in your attic, install baffles to prevent insulation from blocking soffit vents. Rain and hail can also cause damage to shingles, and winds can rip them off and even blow up the underlying roofing. Over time, even a small roof leak can lead to costly repairs. All of these make your roof more vulnerable to animal intrusions. You can stop the damage before it starts by learning how to recognize the first signs of a problem and take steps to reinforce your roof. Call TSR Wildlife Removal for a detailed roof inspection to detect and identify potential or existing wildlife intrusions.
Inspect for missing, bent, hollowed out, broken, or cracked shingles. Check the gaskets for damaged or deteriorated materials.
Look for an excessive granular loss by looking down the gutters and vents. Manufacturers coat asphalt mix shingles with granules to block the sun's ultraviolet rays, but natural ageing will cause the granules to erode and expose the asphalt. Pellet loss begins during installation and occurs daily. Although this is expected to happen, an excessive loss may indicate a problem.
Keep the roof, joints, gutters, and downpipes free of leaves, branches, and other debris to allow for proper drainage. Water should not collect on low-slope roofs. This can be an indication of inadequate drainage.
Inside your home, you will need to have your attic inspected for potential animal damage. Among the most likely areas that animals will damage to get access to your building are around the chimney, vents, skylights, and gaskets.
Make sure soffit, ridge, gable, and roof vents are not damaged by animals. A loose or weak soffit and ageing vent cover are very easy for raccoons to damage. Contact TSR for a detailed building inspection to identify your Toronto home's vulnerable points that are likely to turn into a raccoon access point.
Even if they are pretty and we would like to pet them, raccoons will most probably turn your Toronto garden into a mess and take over your waste. Besides, since they are wild animals, they can get quite aggressive and harass your dogs and other pets. How do you prevent them from spending all of their time around your house?
Raccoons are destructive and can ruin your trash cans. You have to be creative and smart about preventing them from settling in your yard. The following tips will encourage raccoons to live elsewhere.
First of all, you should remove their food sources. Raccoons will eat almost anything that they can handle with their tiny paws. Raccoons love digging through trash left unattended overnight. You should try to animal-proof your trashcan as much as possible. Also, try to wash the garbage cans and bins regularly. Use bleach and soapy water to make sure your garbage is stored inside a container as clean as possible. Raccoons will not be attracted to the container if the surface does not contain small particles of food.
Did you know that raccoons like some other wild animals like swimming in bodies of water at night? They can go into swimming pools or even small paddling pools that are left on the ground overnight. So, if possible, you should avoid keeping a body of water accessible to raccoons. One customer of ours recently had her fish stolen from the fish pond by raccoons. Raccoons would come every night and take some of the fish from the pond.
Bird feeders and pet food can attract critters into your garden. Store these containers indoors overnight to make your Toronto garden less attractive to the nocturnal wildlife. Generally, raccoons are scouting for food and new nesting places at night.
Similar to skunks, raccoons can damage the lawn when looking for grubs to eat.
Give their nocturnal lifestyle, other deterrents that could work are motion-sensing reflectors or flashing lights. Indeed, raccoons do not like ammonia, cayenne pepper, and loud places. But such irritants are not strong enough to discourage raccoons from settling in your garden. Raccoons are quite lazy animals and will most likely not depart once they have chosen your garden or home as their residence.
The best and most effective thing to do when dealing with a raccoon nuisance is to call a professional for help. Raccoons are difficult and dangerous pests to deal with. A professional wildlife control company such as TSR Pest Control & Wildlife Removal has experienced and trained technicians who work near you. We will respond to your raccoon problems immediately and will deliver quick results within the shortest possible timeframe. Raccoons are intelligent animals and very easily adapt to any situation. Usually, it takes the experience of an expert wildlife removal company to overcome your raccoon challenge.
Much of the wildlife control work should be about prevention. A wildlife control professional will need to spend some time educating clients not to disturb wildlife. It is in the best interest of both residents and the wildlife for the public to carry out the necessary preventive work and mitigate the contact between humans and animals. Prevention is oftentimes the most effective method of animal control.
Structural pest control is aimed at combating pests that are inside or near a building. The pest control professional who targets building pests must be able to identify this type of pest and know its biological cycle, its habitat and the damage it can cause. This knowledge enables the pest control professional to determine a method of prevention and control and when it includes the use of control strategies, the pest management professional must ensure that they are used safely and effectively. When responding to nuisance wildlife, tolerance may be the best solution if the damage is minimal. Also, the unwelcome animal may only be passing through. A pest management professional will be able to guide homeowners and businesses on the proper levels of intervention and control needed to effectively respond to a pest problem.
When responding to a raccoon invasion in Toronto, Ontario, it is important to consult with an expert pest management professional. Plugging the hole is never going to be an adequate fix to the problem. Raccoons will tear the area apart to re-access their nest or to locate their cubs. The most effective method is to exclude all the raccoons together and seal the entire building to prevent raccoons from re-entering it. Contact TSR to discuss your options. We are one of Toronto's most trusted and professional raccoon removal companies.
Although raccoons are small, their strength should not be underestimated. They are among the smartest animals. At one point, the city of Toronto was suggesting that its residents should freeze disposable foods before putting them on the curbside for pickup by the waste management service. That may be a little extreme, but it shows how helpless some homeowners can feel when raccoons start frequenting their properties.
Most commonly made mistakes when encountering a raccoon problem.
The worst of all these mistakes is to try to harm a raccoon. Ontario's laws protect raccoons against cruel treatment and it is illegal to attempt to kill wildlife. In recent years, many Toronto residents were prosecuted for harming raccoons. For example, a resident of Bloor West in Toronto was arrested and charged with animal cruelty for hitting with a shovel a family of raccoons in his backyard. One of his neighbours witnessed the assault and called the police. There have also been numerous other instances of Toronto residents facing legal challenges because of cruelty against raccoons.
Raccoons are harder to remove once they have given birth to their cubs. In these circumstances, only the most experienced wildlife removal technicians can perform the work. Young raccoons are very difficult to extract from their hiding places and require extreme care if they are abandoned by their mother. A wildlife control technician needs to work diligently over many hours to ensure that a particular raccoon family does not end up separated. In all cases, an inspection by our wildlife removal technicians will determine the most effective path for a large raccoon family to be removed out of their den. You can learn more about the removal process by watching our numerous YouTube videos.
A particularly difficult case of raccoon removal is excluding animals from a chimney of a fireplace. You should never light a fire or throw anything, inside the duct. An adult raccoon can easily climb out of a chimney, but its cubs will not be able to leave. Also, bear in mind that, the dead animal removal will cost much more than the removal of alive raccoons.
More facts about raccoons that may help you understand how the animal behaves.
The English name raccoon derives from the Indian term arakun
which means to scratch with one's hands. Raccoons have a well-developed hand function, which allows the animal to easily climb trees and feed itself. For example, raccoons can spot and capture crayfish, insects and earthworms with their fingers.
The raccoon is a mainly nocturnal and crepuscular animal. It lives alone and only meets its congeners during the mating season. The gestation period lasts about sixty days, and raccoons give birth in March through May. The size of their litters, subject to large variations depending on the climate and food supply among other factors varies from two to eight cubs. Raccoons are solitary animals but females live in large groups that include their juvenile cubs.
Raccoons have adapted particularly well to agricultural areas where their populations are reaching record highs. In some parts of North America, the density of raccoons exceeds 200 raccoons per square kilometre. The size of a raccoon's territory is determined by the presence of three factors essential to its survival: water, food and adequate areas to establish a roost.
Raccoons are predators for some wildlife species. They love eating eggs and for that reason often end up destroying bird and turtle nests. Raccoons also occasionally consume young birds and turtles. Their damage to bird populations has been considerable in North America.
Raccoons also have an impact on populations of insects reptiles and amphibians.
In recent years, new cases of rabies raccoon have been detected in three Canadian provinces: Ontario, Quebec and New Brunswick. Public health units across Canada continue active surveillance and control activities to combat raccoon rabies. The threat of introducing raccoon rabies remains very real since animal movements, whether natural or not, contribute to the spread of diseases such as rabies. Control and surveillance activities usually involve vaccine-containing bait spreading campaigns and the testing of the roadkill. Vaccine-containing bait applications are usually carried out by plane and by hand. These operations make it possible to immunize raccoons against rabies and thus prevent a possible rabies outbreak in Canada.
Despite these efforts, Toronto residents should adopt safe behaviours with regard to wildlife and report any wild animal that appears to have rabies. This kind of cooperation on the part of the public will make a significant contribution to the safety of our city.
Vigilance and caution are required throughout the year. Rabies is a fatal and incurable disease in humans. When the first symptoms appear, it is already too late. However, the disease can be prevented by getting vaccinated soon after exposure to the virus. Whether vaccinated or not, one should never approach an unknown animal, wild or domestic, even if it looks harmless.
If there is a bite, scratch or any other type of contact with an animal's saliva, clean the wound, even if it appears minor. Wash the area of the body where contact happened with soap and water for 10 minutes and immediately contact the Public Health agency of your municipality. You should also get your pet animals vaccinated against rabies through your veterinarian. You should contact a veterinarian immediately in the event that contact takes place between your pet and a wild animal likely to transmit rabies. At all times, report dead raccoons to the local wildlife control agencies and get professional advice.
How can you tell if raccoons have made dens for themselves in your attic, porch, barn, or shed? There are some obvious signs, like paw prints on the ceiling, torn shingles and fingerprints. Your local wildlife control specialists at TSR Pest Control can take care of your raccoon problem so that you can continue to enjoy a pest-free home.
Service Areas & Locations
Vaughan & Woodbridge