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Archive for the ‘Animal Control’ Category

Due To An Explosion In Louisiana’s Nutria Population, The Animals Are Now Showing Up In People’s Toilets

Many people living outside of the state of Louisiana have absolutely no idea what a “nutria” is, and most would probably assume that it must be a new health food product. However, anyone living in or around the bayou would be able to tell you that a nutria is a huge invasive rodent that has long been destroying the state’s coastline. Nutria appear to be huge rats, and most people who are unfamiliar with the animals assume that they are beavers or muskrats. But the fact that nutria are rodents would not be lost on anyone who has ever seen one of these critters. Nutria, also known as “coypu”, were introduced into Louisiana from their native South American habitat due to the high demand of their fur. Today, nutria are among the most environmentally damaging forms of wildlife in the United States, and unfortunately, their population within Louisiana is booming. Due to this population boom, nutria are quickly becoming pests in residential areas where they have been found within homes and buildings.

It is estimated that at least 25 million nutria are now inhabiting southern Louisiana, and this large mass of rodents is quickly moving north within the state. For several decades, invasive nutria activity was almost exclusively limited to the Louisiana coast where the rodents consume and uproot all forms of vegetation, resulting in accelerated coastal erosion. In response to their now unmanageable population size, residents of all ages and backgrounds are hunting and killing the rodents in order to preserve the environment and to prevent the critters from gaining a foothold in urban and suburban areas of the state. Animal control professionals are now eradicating nutria from sewers and canals within New Orleans. One pest control official in the state claimed that it is normal to find around 300 nutria infesting a mere two mile stretch of canal, which puts the rodents uncomfortably close to homes and buildings in the city. A New Orleans pest controller claimed to have removed nutria from toilets within residential Louisiana homes several times, and such infestations were unheard of 20 years ago.


Have you ever spotted a nutria in an urban or suburban area of Louisiana?


Government Officials Are Recruiting Members Of The Public To Help Animal Control Professionals Locate Live Specimens Of A Rare Skunk Species

Officials with the Tennessee Wildlife and Resource Agency are attempting to track down skunks of an extremely rare species in order to better understand the status of the species. This rarely seen species of skunk is commonly known as the eastern spotted skunk, and while the species is not currently listed as endangered, officials with the agency want to make sure that this skunk species remains active within its natural habitat. In an effort to collect as many of these skunks as possible, the agency is attempting to recruit members of the public to help with the search and trapping effort, but considering that skunks are notorious for their overwhelmingly unpleasant smelling spray, most people would never consider approaching one.

The eastern spotted skunk is notable for having a white polka-dotted design on its black coat as opposed to the white stripes that the common skunk sports. These skunks dwell within the eastern half of the country, just as their name suggests, but populations of eastern spotted skunks are dwindling rapidly, making them an incredibly rare sight even for nature-lovers and outdoorsmen living in the eastern US. There also exists a western spotted skunk that bears the same coat design as the eastern spotted skunk, but unlike its eastern counterpart, the western spotted skunk is a common site in western states.

Unlike common striped skunks that weigh between 10 to 12 pounds, the eastern spotted skunk is much smaller, weighing 1-1.5 pounds. By the 1970s and 80s, populations of the eastern spotted skunk basically disappeared in many states where they had been native, such as Wisconsin and Minnesota. By the 1990s, the eastern spotted skunk could no longer be found within any of the midwestern states. Tennessee animal control officials consider this skunk species to be in the greatest need for conservation and anyone who spots one of these skunks should notify their local animal control center.

Have you ever seen an eastern spotted skunk in the wild?





Do Wildlife Control Departments Clash With PETA Officials Over Wildlife Euthanasia Methods?

As the United States continues to expand existing urban areas and establish new towns and cities on the western side of the Mississippi River, more and more wild animals will be booted from their natural habitats, while a few, such as raccoons and opossums, will do their best to survive in the big city. Unfortunately, mass extermination programs are sometimes initiated to control wildlife populations once they become a threat to the safety of human inhabitants. Although such programs seem inhumane, there is typically little else that can be done to decrease the rate of dangerous encounters between animals and humans within urban and suburban areas. However, local government officials take great care to adopt extermination methods that do not entail suffering of any kind. Despite this unfortunate, but necessary, wildlife control method, officials with PETA, as you could guess, do not approve of any wildlife extermination programs at all, no matter how humane the methods.

Some wildlife extermination methods that are condemned by PETA are actually illegal in most localities anyway. For example, it is illegal to drown wild animals in nearly all fifty US states. However, the use of traps and painful poisons is legally permitted in many states, but such practices are highly regulated in order to minimize the suffering that such methods can inflict on animals. For example, in California, only property owners can legally consent to the use of snap-traps on their property and such traps must be placed within 150 feet of the physical home located on properties. In some cases, local and state councils and even the federal government will approve of the installation of numerous traps to cut down on wildlife. This occured last year when the US Department of Agriculture installed snap traps in eastern Ohio in an effort to halt the spread of rabies-infected raccoons into the western part of the state. Surprisingly, according to the US Humane Society, the use of glue traps, which are considered to be the most inhumane wildlife traps that exist, have not yet been legally regulated in the United States.

Do you believe that mass extermination programs are necessary to control abundant wildlife populations once they become hazardous to the safety of the public?



Opossums Can’t Actually Choose When To Play Dead

Opossums are not the most beloved of wild animals. Most people consider them nothing more than giant mean rats. The trait they are most famous for is their ability to “play dead” when confronted with a predator in order to escape actual death. One would think this ability is something they can consciously choose to use or not use. However, this is actually far from the truth. They apparently have no control over this ability whatsoever.

When an opossum experiences the incredible fear of being possibly harmed by a predator, they don’t simply lay down with their eyes closed, peeking out every so often to see when said predator is gone. The intense fear they experience actually causes their bodies to seize up and flop “dead” to the ground. This comatose state can last for hours, with the opossum stuck staring blankly ahead and their tongue sticking out till the state passes. As much as people have been led to believe that this impressive defense mechanism is linked with the animal’s incredible acting skills, they have absolutely no control over what is happening to them. It is a completely involuntary reaction to the extreme stress they experience when in danger. They can’t simply wake up out of this comatose state whenever danger has passed either. They are basically stuck like that for as long as their body remains in that state. They can’t choose how long or even when their body flops into this “dead” state. This is a clever trick performed by their bodies, but is also accompanied by another involuntary action.

When an opossum goes into this comatose state, they also begin to emit a foul odor similar to that of a decaying corpse. Their body secretes this smelly substance from their anus when the comatose reaction is triggered. This putrid smell along with their “dead” state is what really drives the predators away. They don’t just look dead. They smell like they’ve been dead long enough to have started rotting, making them a meal that no self respecting fox or bobcat want to take home for dinner.

Have you ever seen an opossum “play dead” before? Did you detect the putrid smell they emit as well? Did that help to convince you they might actually be dead?

The Raccoons That Moved Oversees Long Ago

Over the centuries raccoons have been steadily moving their broods into more urban areas around the United States and elsewhere. Raccoons are native the North and South American continent, but there are plenty of different types of raccoons that, long ago, managed to sneak into foreign countries.

For example, in 1970s Japan, a television cartoon about a talking raccoon became popular in the country. The show was called Rascal the Raccoon, and it made the Japanese people so crazy over raccoons that many started importing raccoons from the United States in order to keep them as pets. However, the raccoon fad in Japan quickly died down as many homeowners did not know how to take care of an adult raccoon. That is when many Japanese citizens started letting their raccoons lose in the wilderness. Now, several decades after Japan’s raccoon craze, raccoons are a common sighting in Japan. Unfortunately, raccoons are being blamed for destroying eighty percent of the ancient temples that were located in Japan’s wooded areas. Since raccoons are not native to Japan, the raccoons were not held in check by any natural predators. This allowed raccoons to cause significant damage in Japan. Every year ten thousand raccoons are captured in Japan and taken from their forest habitat in an effort to decrease the raccoon population. Who would have thought that a children’s television show could cause so much damage?

Raccoons are also not native to Europe, but in Kassel, Germany there are one hundred raccoons per square kilometer. Kassel, Germany is known as the “raccoon Capital” of Europe. The locals are starting to become frightened by the abundance of raccoons in the area. And the locals should be scared because raccoons have grown to be twenty times larger than they were seventy years ago. This is due to the increased access to food that raccoons have enjoyed during the past several decades.

Have you ever spotted a raccoon while vacationing in Japan?

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