|Raccoons are most commonly
associated with distemper and rabies. Other viral
diseases of raccoons include raccoon parvoviralenteritis,
infectious canine hepatitis, tularemia leptospirosis,
listeriosis and a host of parasites including round
worms, tape worms, fleas, ticks and mites.
Raccoons are the most frequently reported animal species
with rabies in the U.S., specifically in eastern and
southeastern parts of the country. They can become a
problem when they start raiding pet food on porches,
garbage cans, bird feeders and chicken coops. They can
take up residence under porches, in chimneys and attics.
They can become aggressive when confronted and can kill
become a nuisance with their burrowing.
They dig extensive burrows under houses, porches,
patios, concrete slabs, retaining walls, even swimming
pools. They can make house foundations unstable.
Groundhogs can gnaw through electric wires creating a
fire hazard. They can also seriously injure
livestock when horses and cattle step in an unseen
groundhog hole. Groundhogs carry fleas and are
susceptible to mange and rabies, although it is not very
Skunks are passive by nature
but can attack if provoked. They have a fairly high
incidence of rabies, accounting for almost
one-third of rabies cases in the United States. They
also may carry parasites that can vector diseases.
Foxes are generally not a
threat to humans unless they have rabies. They will
sometimes den under porches and out buildings. They are
famous for raiding chicken coops. Red and Gray fox are
both susceptible to rabies and distemper and also carry
fleas. The Red fox can also have mange but the Gray
fox seldom does.
Coyotes have become a real
problem in Virginia. They can damage and kill livestock,
crops and will kill cats and small dogs. Coyotes can
have distemper, hepatitis, parvo virus and mange. Rabies
and tularemia also occur and may be transmitted to other
animals and humans. Coyotes harbor numerous parasites
including mites, ticks, fleas, worms and flukes.
Muskrats damage ponds by
burrowing into dams and banks to make dens.
The damage to banks around ponds and dams can be
extensive where they undermine earthen dams and dikes.
They also can damage swimming pools by attempting to
burrow into the "bank" (liner).
Beavers burrow into dams and banks, cut trees, and plug
outlet tubes. Their work is conspicuous and they are
extremely persistent. Bank dens are 12-18 inches in
diameter and will be present whether a dammed lodge is
present or not. In fall and winter, a pile of fresh
cuttings will be evident near the lodge or main den.