Spring is arriving and with it brings back our hibernating wildlife. Dozy, hungry and sometimes sick. One thing you need to know is NEVER approach a wild animal especially if it seems sick. NEVER take care of it yourself. NEVER offer them food as they will become habituated to humans and not all humans are kind. Always call a wildlife rehabilitation facility like PROCYON Wildlife in Beeton. 705 729 0033 or google ONTARIOWILDLIFERESCUE.CA and click on WILDLIFE CENTRES to find the closest to you.

A lot of people are mistaking distemper for rabies. Since 2015 to now 2019 there have been 457 cases to date of confirmed rabies and they have all been in our more southern areas. Not here. MNRF has a program where they drop bait with rabies vaccine in it for the wild animals to eat therefor getting protection from contracting the decease. It’s been proven by the statistics to be working.  However a man was bitten by a raccoon recently and presumed it rabid and shot it in the head. If an animal is to be tested for rabies they need the brain intact. This raccoon was most likely distemper but no one will ever know. If an animal is cornered it will lash out to protect itself. That’s all it knows. You are its enemy, the biggest predator it has.  Rabies and distemper are very similar.

A wild animal that can get rabies is called a vector species. Including raccoons, foxes, skunks, and bats. Very important for you to keep your pets vaccinated to protect them and it is the law to do so.  I’m going to talk about raccoons because they are the animals we see most often. However it is not uncommon to see them out during the day as they may have babies to feed or have come out of hibernation and are hungry searching for food. They are a great rodent controller.

RABIES: it can be transmitted between animals only. Passed through saliva of infected animals.  They can appear lethargic, dehydrated, foam at the mouth, disoriented, appearing more friendly towards humans. Seizures and finally coma. However DISTEMPER is very similar which is why people always assume rabies and panic. Humans DO NOT get distemper, it is only transmitted between animals, and your pets should be protected if vaccinated properly. Runny eyes and nose, dehydration, laboured breathing, can get pneumonia, vomiting, again are friendly and may be seen curled up and disoriented, confused, and may have seizures.  Another disease is PARVO VIRUS. Symptoms, watery bloody foul smelling diarrhea, pour appetite, vomiting and dehydration. But with this one if caught early enough can be treated.

As habitat is disappearing at an alarming rate wildlife is forced to be amongst us. Keep them wild, keep them safe. This in turn keeps you, your family and pets safe. We can all co-exist. Just think, don’t panic, don’t approach, make that call. Get them help.

Jennifer Howard


Surviving in this Human World
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