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Wild animals move to urban areas in Los Angeles

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Opossum have move inland

With two years of wild fires, many animals that normally live in forests have lost their natural habitats. Since they no longer have the shelter and food, they need, they are now moving further into the city for survival. In an area filled with people, cars and domesticated animals, bustling Los Angeles County cities are now home to squirrels, skunks, opossum and raccoons. These animals, while interesting, are not the cute cartoon characters seen on television. Familiarizing yourself and family with their habits is very important.

It is not uncommon to see one of them eating and drinking from pet bowls that have been set outside for the household pet. However, approach them with caution and preferably, with a county wildlife expert if trapping is necessary. Their first instinct is survival and the wild animal may attack. They most likely carry rabies and rabies from these animals, except from bats, are usually fatal to humans.

This is especially true with raccoons and avoiding them is best because they carry rabies. They are also carriers of a number of other serious diseases. Please see http://www.ipm.ucdavis.edu/PMG/PESTNOTES/pn74116.html for information on their habits, diseases and management.

Opossum will stop whatever they are doing and freeze right where they are. Their next step is to play dead which takes them up to four hours to recover. They can attack but normally do not even if you surprise one. These animals are very beneficial to the environment, even your backyard. They eat rotting fruit, roaches, rats and snakes. However, do not try to raise one as a pet because they are transient animals and will only stay for a few days. If you find one and it is injured, call your local wild animal control. For answers to frequently asked questions about opossum, go to http://tinyurl.com/ylgsmug.

Skunks are nocturnal and mostly seen at night. They live under decks, porches, or beneath buildings in the city.  If one is seen during daylight hours and appears sluggish or appears to be tame, it is most likely rabid. It is extremely important to read http://www.ipm.ucdavis.edu/PMG/PESTNOTES/pn74118.html on how to get rid of them, for rabies information and general instructions on handling. A skunk can spray its foul scent up to 10 feet away! There are different cleaning methods for humans and pets. Neutroleum-alpha is the most effective solutions but do not use it on dogs or cats. Call your veterinarian for the recommended solution.

With the loss of green and peaceful living spaces for wild animals, our urban living spaces hare now shared with some unusual neighbors. It may be an interesting arrangement but it is not something we are used to and can handle. Proceed with caution and make use of professional wild life handlers and county agents to make sure you, your family and pets are safe.


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