Wildlife Home Invasions and How They Threaten Your Health

Rats and mice may not quite count as wildlife because they’re also common domestic pets. But rats and mice are typically seen as dirty disease-spreading rodents in the wild. However, these animals are rodents like squirrels and voles and are disease-carrying pests that make their homes in urban areas.
Besides these mammals, bats also carry diseases and can reside in private homes. Other common wildlife that threatens human health are birds and raccoons.

As much as these creatures have a right to live, they should do so in the wild. Because when they move into human territories, they, unfortunately, bring diseases.

How Wildlife Spreads Diseases

Wildlife spreads diseases through many means, such as bodily fluids, bites, and infected excretions. People and animals unknowingly touch or breathe in these germs, often generating devastating health consequences.

People and pets can pick up diseases from wildlife in several ways, such as:

  • Breathing in fungal spores or droplets of air from infected wildlife excretions.
  • Contact with their saliva, urine, or droppings.
  • Cross-contamination by touching areas where wildlife has been and then touching their faces, mouths, open sores, etc.
  • Bites or scratches.
  • Eating food and drinking water contaminated by wildlife.
  • Wildlife feeds on diseased prey like cockroaches, fleas, or ticks and then infect people through bites and contamination of items.
  • Fleas, ticks, mites, and mosquitoes that have fed on diseased wildlife can also pass diseases to people indirectly.

1. Rodents

Mostly, rodents like rats and mice make their nests in people’s homes because they offer warm, safe environments to build nests. Otherwise, voles can be a problem in people’s gardens. Even squirrel populations can grow to such an extent that the diseases they carry threaten human health.

People can pick up rodent diseases in various direct and indirect ways, so using a rodent pest control removal service is crucial to stay safe.

The table below contains a list of many infections spread by rodents. Not all rodents carry all these diseases. Also, rodents distribute many indirect diseases via vectors like ticks, fleas, lice, and mosquitoes.

Diseases Spread By Rodents

Direct diseasesIndirect diseases
Hantavirus (Sin Nombre virus)Anaplasmosis
Hantavirus Pulmonary SyndromeAngiostrongylus
Hemorrhagic Fever with Renal SyndromeBabesiosis
Lassa FeverBorreliosis
LeptospirosisColorado tick fever
Lujo Hemorrhagic FeverCutaneous leishmaniasis
Lymphocytic Choriomeningitis (LCM)Flea-borne (Murine) Typhus
MonkeypoxHymenolepis diminuta
Omsk Hemorrhagic FeverLa Crosse virus
RabiesLeprosy or Hansen’s disease
Rat-Bite FeverLeptospirosis
SalmonellosisLyme disease
South American Arenaviruses (Argentine, Bolivian, Chapare, Sabiá-associated, and Venezuelan hemorrhagic fevers)Moniliformis moniliformis
Sylvatic TyphusPlague
TularemiaPowassan virus
Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever (RMSF)
Scrub typhus
Tick-borne Relapsing Fever

2. Bat Diseases 

Another form of wildlife that enjoys hiding in dark areas in homes is bats. Nesting in homes means that bats can evade predation, but they can also become a problem. Typical signs of bats living in ceilings include squeaking sounds, foul smells from their urine, droppings, and rustling noises.

It’s vital to get expert help to remove bats humanely because they carry many diseases. They can transfer parasites, fungi, bacteria, and viruses to people, which severely impacts their health.

Some of the diseases that native bats transfer to people in the U.S. are the following:

  • Rabies
  • Histoplasmosis
  • Salmonellosis
  • Yersiniosis
  • External parasites

Imported bats also carry dangerous bacteria and viruses that can cause severe or fatal harm to people. These diseases are:

  • Nipah virus
  • Hendra virus
  • Ebola virus
  • Marburg virus
  • Sars coronavirus
  • Others

Another way to control bat infestations and diseases is to erect bat houses on your property. When you do this, you direct them away from your home. However, it will still be vital to maintain a reasonable distance between yourself and the bat house to avoid contact with their diseases. Pest control will also need to treat areas to limit the potential for infection.

  1. Raccoon Diseases 
    As cute as they are, raccoons are known as dumpster divers. They collect bacteria from these trash-diving habits and living in the wild. Consequently, they can transfer several infections to people, the worst being through their poop.

Because of this danger, you don’t want wild raccoons setting up a home near where you live. Raccoon diseases are particularly harmful (even fatal) for children and older adults. They also threaten the health of domestic animals.

Raccoon viral, bacterial, and parasitic diseases include:

  • Rabies
  • Canine distemper
  • Feline distemper/panleukopenia
  • Canine parvovirus
  • Salmonella
  • Francisella tularensis (tularemia)
  • Edwardsiella tarda septicemia
  • Leptospirosis
  • Roundworm
  • Giardiasis

We often advise our customers to take extra precautions to discourage raccoons from visiting or living in and around their homes. One tip is to ensure these animals cannot access your garbage containers. If you have pets, keep their food and water bowls inside. If raccoons don’t have the incentive to hang around your home, they can’t spread diseases.

  1. Bird Diseases 
    Several bird species also like nesting in home ceilings and rafters. Typical species that gravitate towards homes for shelter and breeding include sparrows, pigeons, crows, and grackles. Birds frequently carry harmful zoonotic diseases or can spread infections to people.

If you notice lots of birds congregating around your home or noises on your roof or in the ceiling, you probably have a bird infestation in the making. Bird infections include fungal, protozoal, bacterial, and viral types like the following:

  • Avian influenza or bird flu
  • Encephalitis viruses like the Eastern Equine Encephalitis, St. Louis Encephalitis, and the West Nile viruses.
  • Newcastle disease
  • Avian tuberculosis
  • Chlamydiosis or Chlamydophila psittaci
  • Salmonellosis
  • Colibacillosis
  • Cryptosporidiosis
  • Toxoplasmosis

Like bat houses, homeowners with substantial space can erect birdhouses on their property to help prevent birds from living on their home roofs. You can also call Safer Control to treat for possible pests in your ceilings and rafters before sealing these areas properly.

Control Your Environment with Safer Nature Pest Control
Safer Nature offers pest removal services, including humanely removing some wildlife. Speak to us about your pest problem. We will quickly advise whether we are licensed for the specific wildlife removal or whether the State requires its officials to relocate the wildlife.

Alternatively, some Massachusetts laws prohibit the removal of certain wildlife from private property, like raccoons. We will inform you of your options within legal parameters.

Whatever your wildlife pest problem, you will probably need a follow-up pest treatment for vectors like fleas, lice, and ticks. When that happens, email us online for a free quote or call us at (978) 325-1325. We will advise you on organic and traditional pest control options to restore a safe hygienic environment.