Raccoons are one of the most common nuisance animals, as they are very adaptable and are able to get into a wide variety of homes by using their ingenuity. Since raccoons come into contact with humans so often, it is very important to understand what dangers may be involved when you are around a raccoon. There are many myths about the cleanliness and hygiene level of raccoons, so it is important to understand the truth, especially if you find a raccoon family in your attic. Continue reading to learn how clean raccoons are and whether they are safe to pet.
Raccoon roundworm is arguably one of the most dangerous raccoon diseases that can be spread to humans. The roundworm nematode can be contracted by humans coming into contact with raccoon feces in one way or another. In many cases, the roundworm will stay on a surface long after the feces have been removed, making this a very serious disease that could seem to come out of nowhere. Raccoon roundworm has the potential to do serious damage, potentially causing death. The most common symptoms experienced are tiredness, nausea, loss of coordination, loss of muscle control, liver enlargement, and potentially even blindness. One of the scariest parts about this disease is that there are no known cures for it. In order to prevent yourself and your family from contracting this disease, do not attempt to turn a wild raccoon into a domesticated raccoon, avoid petting raccoons, and do not contact a raccoon’s feces.
Though it is more often known for its role in food poisoning cases, salmonella is also a very common illness that is carried and spread by a wide variety of pest animals. Salmonella has some fairly predictable symptoms, such as fever, cramps in the stomach, headaches, vomiting, diarrhea, nausea, and a few others. While it is usually not that serious, it can lead to death in extreme cases. This illness is most often spread by humans contacting any areas where animals have been. Animals spread this illness through their saliva, droppings, urine, and even their fur. This is another reason why you should not pet raccoons, as they could very likely be carrying salmonella. One of the most serious scenarios that involve salmonella is when an infected animal contacts your food supplies or food preparation areas. This can lead to the illness being ingested while eating, causing a more acute case of the disease.
Rabies is likely the most commonly known disease that raccoons carry. Rabies is a viral infection that can eventually take over your nervous system and lead to death. Luckily for humans, there is a rabies vaccine that can be taken shortly after contact with a sick animal that will prevent your body from being taken over by rabies. While this is the case, it is still not wise to come anywhere near a rabid raccoon. For that matter, any raccoon could have rabies and just not be showing symptoms yet, so it is wise to avoid petting raccoons. While rabies can only be spread through bodily fluid, it is still a very present threat for anyone who is living around a raccoon or who attempts to pet one.
So, can I pet a raccoon?
Despite what the myths say about raccoons being a very hygienic animal, they are still nuisance animals that carry a wide variety of bacteria and viruses, so it is very important to limit contact as much as possible. While raccoons might seem like cute animals that would be fun to pet, there is a great chance that they will scratch or bite you, leading to some serious disease risks.
If there is a raccoon problem in your home or on your property, instead of petting the critters, it might be wise to get a piece of advice from an expert at theanimalcontrol.com. Expert wildlife removal services like these are able to get raccoons out of your home and can keep them out in the future with prevention services. Not only do these companies provide services, but they will also be more than happy to educate you on how and why you should limit contact with raccoons and other nuisance wildlife at all times.