Numerous wild animals have adapted to living within human habitats, which often brings them into conflict with humans. Wildlife pests often damage homes, lawn grass, gardens, patios, and some establish nesting sites on residential properties. Several wildlife pests invade properties in order to scavenge for human food sources, often resulting in trash covered lawns. Most wildlife pests pose a public health threat, as raccoons, skunks, opossums, foxes and other pests are capable of carrying and transmitting rabies to humans. Most wildlife pests may attack humans in some circumstances. For example, foxes are territorial animals and they may attack anyone who approaches their residential nesting sites. The most frequently encountered wildlife pests on residential properties are raccoons, opossums, and skunks. Squirrels are the most abundant animals in urban and suburban areas, but most of the time they are not indulging in pest activity.
Five squirrel species can be found in Pennsylvania, but the grey squirrel is the most common, and the most frequently cited squirrel pest on properties. Sometimes, grey squirrels excavate yard soil in order to bury the nuts that they collect, and flying squirrels sometimes enter houses through attic vents after gliding onto roofs. Striped skunks can be found throughout Pennsylvania and they are most abundant in rural agricultural areas, and they are least abundant in forested mountain regions. Experts estimate that rural farmland contains 13.5 skunks for every square mile, while 13.5 skunks can be found per acre within their prime habitat. Due to their nocturnal and stealthy nature, skunks can inhabit urban and suburban areas for years without being seen by humans, but their presence is often smelled. Raccoons are one of the most common animals found in human-populated areas, and around 100 rabies-infected raccoons are documented each year in Pennsylvania, making raccoons the number one rabies carrying animals in the state. Skunks, foxes and bats are the second, third and fourth most common rabies carriers in the state respectively. Since hundreds of thousands of raccoons inhabit Pennsylvania, the animals are considered a public health threat. Amazingly, hunters kill hundreds of thousands of raccoons each year in Pennsylvania, yet their population numbers never seems to decrease.
Have you ever sustained a bite from a wild animal?