Raccoons dominated wildlife calls for Monroe Animal Control last week, raiding garbages, spreading roundworm and in one instance police received an emergency 911 call for a report of a raccoon with a plastic bottle stuck on its head.
As the weather gets colder, Animal Control Officer Ed Risko said raccoons are targeting garbage cans and Dumpsters while foraging for food.
The park ranger reported that a raccoon was trapped in a trash container at the Great Hollow Lake side of Wolfe Park at 6:19 p.m. on Sept. 27. It was removed and released on the property. No exposures and testing was required.
For incidents in residential neighborhoods, police typically provide common tips on how to secure garbage containers and food sources, along with a referral to hire a Connecticut Department of Energy & Environmental Protection (DEEP) licensed nuisance wildlife control operator if residents want trapping.
Residential incidents included raccoons getting into trash containers at a house on Cherry Hill Circle at night, according to a Sept. 28 complaint. On Pastors Walk, raccoons got into a trash container inside a garage at around 2:15 p.m. on Sept. 30. Police said the animals were released without incident.
A raccoon was also seen in a Dumpster on Hidden Knolls Circle at around noon on Sept. 29, but an animal control officer could not find it.
Foraging through trash can have its drawbacks. One raccoon got its head stuck in a plastic bottle, leading to an emergency 911 call at 5:17 a.m. on Oct. 1. An officer removed the bottle and the animal was released without incident.
Raccoons can also cause concern when the animals are infected with rabies, but last week there was an incident of a woodchuck believed to have been infected with "Raccoon Roundworm".
A woodchuck seen in the common area at Great Oak Farm at around 2:56 p.m. on Sept. 29 ran into the woods and officers initially were unable to find it. However, after two more complaints the animal was found and euthanized on Oct. 2.
Animal Control Officer Ed Risko believes the woodchuck was suffering from "Raccoon Roundworm."
The raccoons is a host to the parasite and sheds millions of microscopic roundworms in its feces, according to a PSA on Raccoon Roundworm. The eggs can only become roundworms inside an animal's body, but the eggs are hearty and can live for years in soil, sand or water.
Animals who are not hosts, such as woodchucks, squirrels and birds can become infected. Risko said symptoms for a woodchuck can be tilting its head to one side and walking in circles.
Raccoon Roundworm can be deadly for humans. Risko said small children are most susceptible, because they are always putting things in their mouths. A few decades ago, he said people first started putting lids on sandboxes, to keep raccoon fecal matter from getting into the sand and on toys.
A Skunk Returns Home
A Greenlawn Road resident fed up over a skunk that was tearing up his lawn decided to live-trap it. Then on Sept. 30 he asked Monroe Animal Control to remove the animal from his property and relocate it.
Officer Ed Risko explained that it's prohibited by law to live-trap and relocate skunks. He said the animal was later released on the Pastors Walk property.
Risko said it was recommended that the property owner treat his lawn for grubs, eliminating the food source and preventing further damage from skunks, moles and raccoons.
A Bobcat Sighting
A Crown View Drive woman reported seeing bobcats in her yard — an adult followed by two smaller, younger cats — on Oct. 3. Police said normal, routine behavior was described and the homeowner was given a Bobcat PSA and hazing tips to keep the animals from coming too close to her house.
A Coyote Sighting
A Deer River Road woman reported seeing a coyote near a sheep farm on Fan Hill Road, close to Perry Drive, on Sept. 23, then again on Deer River Road at around 7 a.m. on Sept. 28.
Police said it is routine activity for this time of year. Common cautions and coyote hazing tips were given to the resident.
West Nile Virus
A crow found dead in a front yard on Pastors Walk on Sept. 29 is believed to have died from West Nile Virus. It was the fifth dead crow found since Aug. 5, according to Monroe Animal Control.
A Missing Cat
A black and white female cat, age five, was reported missing by its family on Old Newtown Road at 10:28 a.m. on Oct. 1.
Vehicle Hits Woodchuck
A Forest Road man told Monroe Animal Control that a woodchuck was struck by a vehicle across from his driveway on Sept. 28. Police said an officer could not find the carcass.