Spring brings wild animals out - police urge caution

April 28, 2016

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The Bruce Peninsula Ontario Provincial Police (OPP) has received a couple of calls regarding raccoons which been hanging around properties and concerned they may be ill. 

Police want parents and the public to be aware of the safety concerns when it comes to dealing with wild animals in residential areas. Here are a few safety tips to discuss with children when they see wild animals, as well as, knowing the signs of animals that may be ill.

Safety tips for children and wild animals:

  • Look but donít try to touch.

  • Wild animals may look cute, but they are not house pets.

  •  If a wild animal is approached they may try to bite out of fear, as they are not used to being close to humans.

  • Tell your parents, family member or your teacher if you see wild animals getting to close to other children.

  • Tell your parents, family members or your teacher, if you see wild animals acting funny or looking sick.

  •  Remember to stay far away and do not approach.

  • Tell your parents, family members or your teacher if you get scratched or bitten by an animal as it should be cleaned and treated properly.

  • Remember where it happened and what the animal looked like.

Feeding wild animals can cause many problems such as:

  • Wild animals do not digest human food property and can cause them to become ill or choke.
  • Animals can cause damage to personal property and can be hurt in the process by sharp items like recycling; or hit by moving vehicles.
  • Animals can lose their natural fear of humans and can become a nuisance and potentially dangerous in residential or recreational areas.
  •  Food handouts will encourage additional animals to re-attend for feeding. This will cause crowding, competition and eventually fighting due to natural territorial instincts. 
  •  Wild animals that become dependent on humans for food can cause injury or disease to domesticated pets, children or adults.

Facts about Mange:

  •  Mange is caused by parasitic mites that burrow into the skin and causing infection.
  • Animals carrying mange will show signs of itching, crusty spots on face or body, splotchy hair loss, weight loss and low energy. 
  • Fox, coyotes and domestic animals can be infected by mange.

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Facts Rabies:

  • Rabies is spread through saliva from a bite from an infected animal. It is rare humans will get rabies.

  • Rabid animals may be extremely excited, attack objects or other animals, froth at the mouth or bite.

  • Raccoons, skunks, foxes and bats can carry rabies.

  • A wild animal with rabies can infect domesticated animals

What to do if you suspect an animal is diseased and posing a risk to the pubic:

  • Call Animal Control for the Municipality of Northern Bruce Peninsula and for the Town of South Bruce Peninsula. They can be reached during office hours, and after hours at 519-534-1400 extension 143, or by calling 226-668-5601.
  • If you are concerned about diseased wildlife and there has not been any contact with humans or domestic animals you can call the Ministry of Natural Resources (MNR) Rabies Hotline at 1-888-574-6656.
  •  If you believe a diseased wild animal has had contact with humans and/or domestic animals, you should call the Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs (OMAFRA) at 1-877-424-1300 or toll free at 1-888-466-2372.  MEDICAL ATTENTION should be sought when a person has been in contact or injured by a diseased animal; wild or domesticated. Call the Grey Bruce Health Unit at 519-376-9420 or Toll free at 1-800-263-3456.

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Friday, April 29, 2016