Common Wildlife Pests in Canada

Check municipal and provincial regulations before you disturb any wildlife. Here are the most common wildlife pests in Canada.

·        Mink

A mink has shiny fur that is chocolate brown or almost black in colour. They have a white spot on their throat and chin. Minks have a bushy and long tail and weigh 1 to 4 pounds. Males are heavier than female minks.

Minks can be found throughout Canada along creeks, rivers, ponds, marshes, and lakes. They primarily prey on muskrats, rabbits, mice, snakes, birds, frogs, and chipmunks. Minks also raid poultry houses.

Great horned owls, foxes, and bobcats are their predators. The pelt of minks is highly valued. Females give birth to three to six young in the spring. The young are born naked and blind. Minks live near water in deserted burrows. They relocate often.

·        Raccoons

Raccoons break open and scrape out watermelons. These animals rarely attack family pets, but they can be distressing for poultry farmers. Get rid of their food sources by keeping pet food in metal containers with tightly closed lids.

Secure garbage can lids. Install a 2-wire electric fence or a 5' to 6' fence. Live traps are usually effective. Repellents are temporary solutions.

Consult the animal control department in your area for more information. Observe caution when trapping raccoons because they can be vicious.

Raccoons are prone to various infectious agents such as viruses, parasites, and bacteria. One of the most common bacterial diseases in raccoons is leptospirosis. It’s caused by various species of Leptospira.

Other bacterial infections that may affect raccoons include tularemia, yersiniosis, listeriosis and pasteurellosis. Viral diseases reported in raccoons include canine distemper, infectious canine hepatitis, pseudorabies, rabies and raccoon parvoviral enteritis.

The most common viral disease in this animal is canine distemper. The histopathologic lesions and clinical symptoms in raccoons are similar to distemper that affect dogs. Raccoons usually contract pseudorabies virus through the ingestion of pig carcasses that virus infected.

·        Voles

Voles look like pocket gophers. These mouse-like rodents have short legs, partly hidden ears, short-furred tail, heavy body, and small eyes. They have coarse fur that can be blackish brown or grayish brown in colour.

Fully-grown voles are 5" to 8" long. Eastern meadow voles have short tails and small ears. Voles usually remain below ground inside their burrow system.

These animals are active throughout the day. Voles are usually found in areas that have dense vegetation. They dig a lot of short and shallow burrows and create underground nests of leaves, grass, and stems.

If you see a well-travelled, aboveground runway that connects burrow openings, it’s an obvious sign that there are voles in your property. The runways are typically concealed underneath a protective layer of ground cover or grass. These runways lead to several 1 ½" to 2" burrow openings.

·        Squirrels

Squirrels are reddish brown or greyish brown in colour. The fur on their belly is pale in colour. Squirrels are 17" to 27" long and have long claws that they use for getting nuts and climbing trees. Gray squirrels are greyish brown and have longer hair on the tail and a pale coloured abdomen.

Their long tail is silver in colour. Fox squirrels, on the other hand, have reddish-brown fur. Squirrels don’t often enter buildings. They usually inhabit trees outside.

When squirrels enter homes, their goal is to find food and shelter. If they find a spot to hide out in your house, they will become frequent visitors.

These animals pose a threat through their destructive behaviour, spreading health hazard and contaminating food. They may nest inside your home if they can access food and easily enter your food. This may happen within walls and in attics or crawlspaces.

Squirrels chew through materials such as wiring and insulation, which poses a fire risk inside your home. If squirrels access your food, they can contaminate it. They can also bring in fleas, ticks and other pests. The most common sign of a squirrel problem is hearing them crawling around.

When they start to nest inside your home, squirrels chew through your materials. To control squirrels, you should seal the exterior of your home to prevent them from entering your property. Close any gaps and cracks in foundation, wiring, siding, and venting.

You can call an expert pest exterminator to deal with your current pest problem. These professionals can also help prevent future infestations as well as keep your home and family safe from various kinds of pests.

·        Weasels

All weasel family members feed mainly on small rodents and insects, except the river otter. Their diet is composed of birds, bird eggs or whatever meat they can get. Weasels live off the yearly surplus of animals they prey on.

They capture animals with a low chance of survival like the sick, injured, young, or old. They also tend to prey on the most copious prey.

Weasels move on to another prey species if the number of the first becomes scarce, so they rarely jeopardize the long-term welfare of the animals they prey on.

Here are various ways to manage wildlife pests, but you should consider moral and legal issues before doing anything.

  • Traps – Traps used for pest control should be humane and permitted by provincial authorities. Permits may be needed to transport captured animals. You may also need to get a trapper’s license. The animal may not survive in its new environment.
  • Fencing – It’s often the best way to keep wildlife pests away from your property.
  • Shooting – Shooting is illegal in many areas. People who have a hunting license should follow hunting regulations.
  • Diseased or Sick Animals – You should report diseased or sick animals to the Fish and Wildlife department in your area.
  • Fumigation – It’s illegal to fumigate areas to get rid of animals.
Make sure you get to know the regulations in doing any of the abovementioned ways to get rid of wildlife pests in your area.