|Photo Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Urban_raccoon_and_skunk.JPG|
In recent years, skunks and raccoons have been associated with rabies, and therefore present a risk to us and our pets more than the nuisance or bad odor we smell when a skunk “sprays.” As in this picture, they are often attracted to cat food or dog food left outside, or drawn into homes through pet doors to such feeders. Although a skunk will be reluctant to spray initially (they have about 15cc stored up which takes about 10 days to make), they will not hesitate when confronted with an attacking dog, or cat, or person with a broom. However, being omnivores, they are attracted to all that our gardens and kitchens and garbage cans have to offer; Urban dwellers are increasingly common as well.
The best thing to do is to keep food from being readily available, and to check sheds and outhouses regularly to be sure animals have not taken up residence. Rodent baits are regulated now so that they can only be put out in closed bait traps to prevent pets and children from accidentally consuming them, but they are not entirely dog proof and extreme care should be taken when one choses this route. Several different types of “bait” are utilized, some of which have antidotes, and some of which do not. Some of the newer rat baits are neurotoxins and dose-dependent, others cause inability for the blood to clot. If your pet should accidentally ingest any rodenticide, it is important to know the exact ingredients and the quantity consumed. Emergency care should be sought immediately, and packaging brought with you as several types look similar to one another but are treated differently.
|Photo Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Raccoon_(Procyon_lotor)_2.jpg|
So before you decide to let that cute raccoon feed out of the cat’s outdoor dish, or let the mice and voles have the last of this year’s garden fruits, consider the risks and protect yourselves accordingly. Happy outdoor urban adventures!