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A Raccoon Infestation In A Run-Down Home in Texas Caused The Critters To Invade Neighboring Yards

Raccoons, opossums, rats and other critters are by no means rare in residential areas of Texas. This is especially true in Houston where the large and dense population attracts raccoons looking for human food sources and warm shelter during the winter months. As far as a raccoon is concerned, an abandoned home is the ideal winter shelter, as such a location is free of humans while also being located in close proximity to nearby houses where food can easily be accessed in garbage bins. Unfortunately for residents of a neighborhood in Houston, this precise scenario became a living nightmare.

Not long ago, residents of a Third Ward neighborhood were hassled by raccoons that made a home out of a run-down and abandoned house located within their usually peaceful residential enclave. The abandoned home, which is located near Texas Southern University, was infested with raccoons, bugs and even opossums. Initially, the home seemed to be infested with a few raccoons that did not cause problems for neighbors, but eventually, the house became infested with numerous raccoons and opossums, as the house was clearly a popular party spot for local wildlife. Once this large-scale infestation emerged, it was not long before the animals, mostly raccoons, started to invade neighboring lawns. Apparently, this infestation had been growing within the dilapidated home for several years, as one resident claimed that she began experiencing raccoon problems on her own property not long after moving into her home nine years ago. The infested property, and the hassle it caused for neighbors, soon made the local news. Reporters working for the news station managed to contact the owner of the problem home. The owner claimed that he had been planning on demolishing his house, which came as welcome news to the long aggrieved neighbors. However, it is unknown as to whether or not the owner made good on his claim.

Have you ever fallen victim to a wildlife infestation caused by the habits of a neighbor?

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Raccoons Can Behave Aggressively Toward Humans Even When They Are Not Infected With Rabies

While raccoons may prefer to nest within certain structures on residential properties, such as in sheds, garages and beneath decks, the nocturnal animals make every effort to avoid being spotted by nearby humans. This is why raccoons are rarely brazen enough to invade a home where their presence would become immediately noticed by a home’s occupants. Of course, raccoons sometimes manage to secure warm shelter within attics and storage spaces, but raccoons are relatively intelligent creatures, and they know that residents rarely venture into such locations. Despite this, on rare occasions, a raccoon, or several, will invade a home in clear view of the occupants. In these cases, the invading raccoon may be infected with rabies, as this infection negatively affects neurological functioning, causing raccoons to behave boldly, aggressively and in a manner that runs contrary to their instinct for self-preservation. Sadly, back in December of 2017, an aggressive raccoon invaded an inhabited home before brutally attacking a baby. Luckily, the child lived, but the raccoon was never caught.

While this unexpected incident is certainly tragic, the baby’s parents were not at fault, as they were unaware that a raccoon had invited itself into their home. Surprisingly, some people willingly bring wild raccoons into their home in order to adopt one as a misguided gesture of compassion. For example, during the spring of 2014, a two-week year old baby boy was attacked by one of the two raccoons that his mother had adopted and left alone in her son’s room. It did not take long before the baby began to scream. Upon entering her son’s room, she found the raccoon thrashing at her son’s face, drawing blood and leaving serious wounds. Happily, the boy fully recovered, but officials with the Texas Parks and Wildlife cited the mother for housing two raccoons without a license. In addition, police had also considered charging the mother with child endangerment as a result of the incident. The two raccoons were euthanized immediately within the home before they were sent to a lab for disease testing. It turned out that neither raccoon had contracted rabies or any other disease, proving that being infected with rabies is not a precondition for a raccoon to aggressively attack humans. This is why residents should always avoid meddling with raccoons no matter the circumstance; instead, a wildlife removal service can safely remove problem wildlife from properties.

Have you ever found a raccoon within your attack or garage?

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A Rabid Bat Fell Out Of A Student’s Pocket Amidst Public Health Warnings About The Presence Of Rabid Bats Around Texas

The abundance of bats within the state of Texas gives some residents the creeps, and this is understandable, as the airborne critters spread rabies to humans and they often appear within homes in the state. There exists 33 documented bat species inhabiting Texas, most of which do not dwell near human living conditions. However, of these 33 species, 11 are known for dwelling near human populated areas, and each one is known to transmit rabies to humans. Six bat species in Texas regularly inhabit homes and buildings, while four solitary bat species are known for roosting within manmade structures. It is not uncommon for Texas public health officials to issue warnings to the public when rabies-infected bats are thought to be prevalent within urban and suburban areas. For example, not long ago, residents of the Lakewood neighborhood in Dallas were put on alert when officials discovered two dead bats in the area that later tested positive for rabies.

Most human rabies cases are not transmitted by rabid bats, but during 2015, bats were the most frequently reported rabid wild animals in the United States, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Although bats are not known for aggressively attacking and biting humans, people can still acquire rabies from bats if they go far out of their way to disturb the critters. Last year, an elementary school student was lucky to have avoided a rabies diagnosis after a live rabid bat fell from his jacket pocket as he was violently twirling the jacket around in the air.

Immediately after the live bat fell to the ground from the boy’s jacket pocket, deputies were called to the school to handle the situation. Nobody could understand how a live bat wound up in the boy’s jacket, but the animal was “confiscated” before it was examined in a laboratory where it tested positive for rabies. The boy’s name and age was not released to media outlets and there was no word on how the live bat responded after falling from the pocket. Apparently, the boy was subject to some form of discipline for his actions, but he likely took the punishment in stride after realizing how close he came to contracting rabies.

Have you ever found a bat in your home that had been resting on the ground or in any other location besides walls and ceilings?

 

A Family Became Speechless After Finding Three Raccoons In Their Home After The Animals Crashed Through Their Ceiling 

Raccoons may be cute, but they can do more than simply spread trash around your lawn while scavenging during the late night hours. Of course, raccoons are well known for seeking shelter within uninhabited areas of a home, such as beneath decks, in garages and in crawl spaces. It is not uncommon for raccoons to inflict damage to homes and property while nesting and scavenging. However, the early summer season in Texas last year saw several incidents involving raccoons inflicting a significant amount of damage to homes that cost residents thousands of dollars to repair. More than one incident in the state during 2018 had raccoons breaking through the roofs of houses. In one case, a family was shocked upon finding three raccoons in their home that had fallen through their ceiling and onto their living room floor.

Fernanda Gonzales of Arlington had complained to her landlord about loud banging noises that seemed to be coming from the roof of her apartment unit. Unfortunately, the apartment manager failed to take action in the matter, as he dismissed the noises as being caused by harmless squirrels. However, upon returning home with her family on a Sunday night, Gonzales was startled upon finding three raccoons within her apartment unit. Gonzales also could not help but to notice a fairly large hole on her ceiling that led outside. Gonzalez quickly realized that her apartment manager was wrong about his “squirrel theory.” Understandably, an angry Gonzalez took photos of the damage before posting them to Facebook with some choice words for her apartment manager. Gonzalez specifically reached out for legal help concerning her apartment manager’s refusal to take her concerns over the safety of her family seriously. Gonzalez was particularly upset due to the fact that she had a baby at home that she was determined to keep safe from unwanted outside visitors. The raccoons were later released safely into the wild by police officers.

Have you ever heard of a raccoon inflicting extensive structural damages to a home?

 

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Texas Wildlife Experts Are Baffled by The Coyotes That Have Been Stalking and Attacking Residents

As we humans continue to expand our towns and cities, taking up more and more land that used to belong to wildlife, we also have to deal with these new wild neighbors and find a way to live them. Rapid development is great for humans, but not so great for the wildlife that live there. As what were once wild spaces are transformed into human homes, the wildlife that called those places home must either die, move to another location, or adapt their behaviors in order to coexist with us. As you can imagine, conflicts between this native wildlife and their new human neighbors will inevitably ensue. The state of Texas, with its many wide-open spaces and increased growth over the years, is having to handle these conflicts more and more as we humans expand further into places that have belonged to the native wildlife for a very long time now.

One of the most common wildlife that is having to adapt to more urban environments are coyotes. North Texas has a very healthy coyote population, with urban coyotes thriving around the growing human population. It is even normal to spot urban coyotes in places like posh Dallas neighborhoods where they live quite peacefully amongst their human neighbors, with cases of them acting aggressive towards humans extremely rare. However, these animals have had some time now to adjust to their change in lifestyle. The wildlife in some of the cities that are currently under a lot of development and are rapidly expanding are dealing with this change for the first time, and some conflicts between the humans and coyotes have occurred.

The city of Frisco, Texas is having its share of problems with the local coyote population at the moment. Residents have reported a string of coyote attacks in its newer neighborhoods starting in October of last year. Coyotes are usually not aggressive towards humans and prefer to avoid us than risk an interaction. These recent attacks are unusual for coyotes, considered anomalies by experts. Passing drivers have had to stop coyotes from stalking joggers along Eldorado Parkway twice. One aggressive coyoted scratched a 9 year old child and even bit one woman on the neck. Following these attacks, two other women that were jogging were attacked and a coyote bit a dog that was walking through the neighborhood. Because of these attacks, Frisco officials have had to capture these aggressive coyotes and euthanize them. Oddly enough, none of them tested positive for rabies, but some were potentially “unhealthy”. Some residents are blaming this on the construction of new neighborhoods and apartment complexes, but this still doesn’t explain their aggression, according to Sam Kieschnick, one of the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department’s urban biologists. The odd case of these aggressive coyotes is drawing national attention from experts because it is so rare for coyotes to act aggressively towards humans.

For now, residents have been advised to be more watchful when outside in their neighborhoods. Many parents are now picking up their children from school rather than let them walk home and chance an encounter with one of these coyotes. In another attempt to keep citizens aware of the coyote population around them, an online system was launched by the city that allows residents to report coyote sightings as well as view where sightings have happened. This helps people see just how many coyotes are living among them and gives them a rough idea of where. The most common advice officials are giving people is to not leave their trash outside overnight, as coyote sightings peak on trash days, and a garbage bin left out in the open is a perfect chance to easily grab some food for opportunistic coyotes.

Have you seen many urban coyotes? In your experience do the ones you come across ever act aggressively?

 

 

 

New Year’s Opossum Drop Hit With Huge Criticism

This year has certainly started off with a bang, at least for one North Carolina town that was accustomed to ringing in the new year by dropping a certain marsupial pest at midnight instead of the usual glittering ball celebrated in Times Square. Oddly enough, I just learned of the tradition of dropping an opossum at the stroke of midnight not long ago. Now, that exact practice has recently received a massive backlash from animal rights activists, forcing the town to change their tradition slightly. They can still drop an opossum at midnight on the New Year, but it now must be a stuffed one instead of a live one.

The town of Andrews, North Carolina, one of many mountain communities that has practiced the cherished tradition of the opossum drop for decades, received a massive amount of criticism when they happened to choose an injured opossum to use in the celebration this year. Now, contrary to its title, the opossum isn’t actually dropped at midnight, but rather slowly lowered inside a plexiglass box. So, the opossum was not injured in the actual opossum drop, but was likely injured when it was cornered by a farmer’s dogs prior to its being chosen as this year’s opossum for the opossum drop. The farmer had called the organizer of the event and asked if they would like to use the opossum he had just found his dogs cornering on his property. Not realizing the opossum was injured, they decided to use the animal, since it would have likely died on the farm anyways if it hadn’t been chosen to be used in this year’s celebration.

Animal rights activists have been trying to get the tradition of the opossum drop to be changed for years, and the use of the injured animal in this year’s celebration was simply the last straw. Beth Sparks, a co-director of the Opossum’s Pouch Sanctuary, Rescue and Rehabilitation, is now caring for the opossum at her small sanctuary. The opossum apparently arrived with a serious injury to one of its legs, which then had to be amputated, that likely happened while the animal was being trapped. When she took in the opossum and began posting pictures of the animal on social media the reaction was not good, and the backlash has now forced the tradition to be changed so that it no longer involves the use of live animals. Sparks commented, “They advertise that no ‘possum is harmed for the event, but even healthy ones are damaged physically by stress caused by the loud noises.” The opossum drop will be using a stuffed opossum for the celebration from here on out.

Have you ever seen this tradition or another similar one performed? What was your reaction to it?

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How One Man Became The Squirrel Whisperer

Most people think squirrels are rather cute, with their bushy tails, tiny hands, and big eyes. It is not uncommon for people to take a stroll or sit on a bench in the park and watch as the cute critters run around chasing each other up trees, stopping every once in a while to sit up on their hind legs and take a glance around while their tail fluffs out behind them. Squirrels have grown quite comfortable with being around humans because of this close proximity and our penchant for feeding the little rascals while we watch them. Most people tend to limit their interactions with these animals to simply watching and throwing them some food. However, one man decided to take his relationship with the local squirrels a bit farther, and has earned the nickname The Squirrel Whisperer because of it.

Ed Condon started out like most people, going to his local park and bringing peanuts to feed the squirrels that would run past him. But what began as a simple practice of feeding squirrels at a distance, quickly progressed to a much more up close and personal relationship with his furry friends. It began when one of the many squirrels that would run up to him to catch some food began to visit him everyday and slowly inch closer and closer to him when he fed her. Slowly but surely she began to hop onto his lap and eat straight from his hand. He was even able to eventually pet her like you would a dog or cat. After a while, the squirrel that he has now named Butters started coming when he called for her. You can imagine how strange this must look to the other people passing by when they see a man call for a wild squirrel and that squirrel actually responds as if she’s his pet. This behavior earned him the title of The Squirrel Whisperer in his local community.

However, before you start trying to tame a wild squirrel, be aware that this process was not without its initial issues. Butters wasn’t always so lovey dovey, and in the beginning actually bit him a few times. Luckily, Condon found out that squirrels rarely get rabies, and the small bites healed pretty quickly. Butters isn’t the only squirrel interested in this squirrel whisperer either. A second squirrel has started listening to him as well.

Have you ever fed squirrels in the park and were tempted to pet one?

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Raccoon Gets Head Stuck In a Jar 

Gerald Hill, the co-owner with his wife of Alling House Bed & Breakfast, along with a few of his guests emerged from their home Saturday morning only to come across the strange sight of a raccoon sitting in a tree with its head stuck in a jar. The concerned owners and guests tried all day to coax the raccoon down from the tree to save the animal. While they managed to get the frightened animal to climb down the tree several times, the raccoon got spooked when they tried to grab it and ran right back up the tree. It was clear the scared raccoon was not going to cooperate with their rescue efforts, so further action had to be taken.

By the time the day was approaching mid-afternoon, the would-be rescuers had only managed to get the raccoon to climb even higher up into the tree. Realizing that their efforts were futile, the group decided to call in the experts. They had actually tried to call in the fire department earlier, but were turned away and told that there was nothing they could do to help. Thankfully, when they called Ahopha Wildlife Rescue, help finally came in the form of wildlife rescue specialist Tom Scotti. Scotti managed to finally catch the raccoon in a net after some coaxing, and was able to remove the jar from the animal’s head and neck. After being manhandled with the net the raccoon wasn’t too pleased with its rescuer, making the process of getting the jar off a bit difficult, but in the end Scotti succeeded in freeing the poor creature.

Of course, after all of this manhandling the raccoon was not too pleased with its rescuer and began to come after Scotti, letting him know it was not pleased with the rough treatment. However, with Scotti slowly backing away and instructing the rest of the onlookers to do the same, the raccoon eventually calmed down and headed back into the woods.

Have you ever seen a raccoon stuck in a precarious position and had to call in help to rescue it?

One Raccoon Was Shot Dead By Police And Another Captured After The Animals Attacked A Baby In Her Nursery

When compared to some forms of wildlife, such as squirrels, birds and even opossums, raccoons are elusive creatures, as they are largely nocturnal and are cautious scavengers. This is one reason as to why the vast majority of wildlife experts claim that raccoons don’t pose a significant danger to humans. Although raccoons are, admittedly, fast-moving and fierce looking creatures that possess sharp teeth and claws, a raccoon has no reason to risk its life in a hasty attack on a human. However, as it happens, raccoons may not view human babies the same way, as one tragic news article from nearly a decade ago makes clear.

During the fall of 2010 in Atlanta, Georgia, a baby was brought to a hospital where she was determined to be in critical condition due to injuries sustained in an attack by two raccoons. Police officers wasted no time investigating the matter, as they were curious as to how the two raccoons were able to access to the nine month old baby while she was in her crib next to her sleeping mother.

At around 4:00 AM one morning, police officers received a call from a distressed mother, Melissa Cannon, who claimed that her daughter had just been attacked by two raccoons. Once the officers and paramedics arrived to the home, the baby was found with numerous lacerations on her face and other parts of her body. The clearly aggressive raccoons had reportedly attempted to literally eat the baby girl alive within her crib. However, before authorities made it into the house, one of the raccoon perpetrators aggressively approached one of the police officers before the officer shot and killed the animal in self defense. The other raccoon was detained by animal control agents and tested for rabies. Four other children in the home were not injured. Despite the neighbor’s insistence that the mother would never put her baby at risk, police suspected that the mother kept the raccoons as pets illegally, and therefore, criminally endangered her daughter.

Do you find it unlikely that the raccoons gained entrance to the home and then into the baby’s crib from the outside? Or did she likely keep the animals in her home illegally?

 

Waco Squirrel Control

A Mysterious Spate Of Squirrel Deaths In A Popular Cemetery Have Residents Seriously Creeped Out

If cemeteries are not creepy enough for you, then you can always checkout Mount Washington Cemetery in Kansas City, Missouri. Mount Washington Cemetery is just like any other cemetary, only it is mysteriously littered with squirrel corpses. Starting last April, visitors at the cemetery and nearbyresidents started to find several squirrel corpses within and near apothecary. What is causing all of these squirrels to die remains a mystery, but several residents living near the cemetery cannot help but to find the current situation to be unsettling. The secretary-treasurer of the nonprofit Mount Washington Cemetery Association, Julie Rimer, has volunteered within the cemetery for more than years, and nobody is more determined than she is to find the culprit/s behind this spate of squirrel killings, if there is a culprit, that is.

Considering Rimer’s more than 30 years of volunteer service within the cemetery, you would think that there is nothing that she has not seen, but Rimer claims that the squirrel corpses within the cemetery is unprecedented.For the past seven months, Rimer alone discovered 22 dead squirrels within the cemetery, and she knows of many others that were discovered by her friends that live nearby. For now, Rimer is attempting to determine if the squirrel corpses are limited to the cemetery. Rimer took to Facebook in order to ask nearby residents if they have noticed an increase in the amount of squirrel corpses being found, and one woman who lives fairly close to the cemetery claimed to have noticed more dead squirrels than usual, but Rimer was hoping for more responses.

Rimer took photos of the squirrel corpses to the Ohio Department of Natural Resources Division of Wildlife with the hopes that they could help. A spokesperson for the department claimed that the squirrels did not appear to die as a result of squirrel pox, but they did show signs of trauma that may have resulted from a dog or cat attack. The squirrels may also have been shot with a pellet gun or poisoned somehow, but she cannot be sure until another corpse turns up, at which point she will have an autopsy performed to better understand the cause of these mass deaths.

Do you think that the squirrels are succumbing to violent attacks by another wild animal/s?