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Wild animals that come close enough to eat your pet’s food also come close enough to injure your pet, or pass on a potentially dangerous disease. With something as serious as rabies, it could take just one bite or scratch to condemn your pet, if it hasn’t already been vaccinated for the disease. In some cases, however, direct contact doesn't even need to occur at all for the disease to be passed on, such is the case with diseases such as leptospirosis and histoplasmosis.
If you leave pet food outside, any number of animals could come by and munch out. Raccoons, skunks, opossums, rats and mice are often encouraged to come closer by the passing waft of tempting food. When food is scarce or in high demand, most of these wild animals will happily fight back against your food-protective cat or dog. Food is too tempting an offer to turn down, even it means getting some slashes in the process.
Hedgehogs, foxes, coyotes, squirrels, porcupines, and more will all come in closer if they smell cat or dog food. This will even extend to livestock feed. Rats and mice are usually prolific enthuse areas, if land owners aren’t careful.
There is often a chain of events when an animal steals your pet food. Rats, for example, will move in after one has found a food source. They are very social creatures, so there will very rarely be just the one rat on its own, and once they get together in situations that are great, they’ll breed like something crazy. When there are plenty of rats (or mice, which are equally as bad), other predators start to take a closer look too. A rodent infestation could encourage snakes to come in, as that is one of their main food sources, and other scavengers might start to take an interest too — the larger animals.
The top 10 animals that are said to attack pets usually do so in a fight over food, and snakes, coyotes, raccoons, and squirrels are among the biggest culprits on the list. These creatures can usually overpower the pet quite quickly, if necessary, or can get away quite fast. Squirrels, for example, can usually scamper up a tree much faster than a cat can climb after it, and dogs won’t generally climb up after it. The same can be said for raccoons.
For more information, you may want to click on one of these guides that I wrote:
How To Guide: Who should I hire? - What questions to ask, to look for, who NOT to hire.
How To Guide: do it yourself! - Advice on saving money by doing wildlife removal yourself.
Guide: How much does wildlife removal cost? - Analysis of wildlife control prices.
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