Wildlife & Public Health

Good judgment and common sense will eliminate the chances of wildlife posing a health threat to people and their pets.

Rabies

Although all mammals are susceptible to rabies, the virus affects (in order of highest numbers) raccoons, skunks, foxes, coyotes, and woodchucks most frequently. Birds cannot contract rabies. Sick or injured animals can be unpredictable and dangerous, especially those susceptible to the rabies virus. If you find an animal, in either condition, stay away from it and do not attempt to handle it or move it. Contact your local animal control officer or police department and they will evaluate the situation and determine the next steps, including, whether or not the animal should be destroyed. The State of Massachusetts has mandated that these decisions be made by the local authorities. Learn more 

Histoplasmosis

Histoplasmosis is a disease caused by a fungus found in soil contaminated by bat droppings (guano). People can be infected by breathing dust containing the spores. It is rare to find the fungus present in hot dry attics in New England. More commonly it is present in the damp caves where thousands of bats roost. Always wear a dust mask when cleaning bat guano to prevent the inhalation of airborne spores.

Mange

Mange is a condition caused by mites (parasites) who attach themselves to the skin or bore just under the top layer of skin causing extreme itching. Sarcoptic Mange, the most affliction, is caused by a minute mite called Sarcoptes scabiei. There are a number of varieties of these mites each affecting different animal species, including: dogs, cats, foxes, squirrels, farm animals and humans.