Rabies Still A Danger In Connecticut, But Rates Stay Relatively Low

Rabies Still A Danger In Connecticut, But Rates Stay Relatively Low

Small, Occasional Outbreaks Of Disease Among Wildlife Common, Health Officials Say

February 26, 2012|By KIM VELSEY, kvelsey@courant.com, The Hartford Courant

Although the first few months of 2012 have been marked by a smattering of rabies cases around the state, including a notable incident in Enfield when a resident was forced to fend off a rabid raccoon with a stick, public health officials say that the confirmed cases — 19 so far — are well within normal fluctuations.

Rabies, a viral infection of the nervous system, is transmitted through animal bites or the saliva of an infected animal. In the early stages, it can be effectively treated with a series of vaccines. Enfield had one confirmed case of animal rabies in 2011 and none in 2010. Nearby Windsor Locks had two confirmed cases in 2012 and none in 2011 and 2010.

taken from http://articles.courant.com/2012-02-26/news/hc-rabies-trends-0227-20120223_1_rabies-cases-rabies-spread-contact-with-wild-animals

I found this while browsing the local news.  I have been confronted many times by sick animals. Raccoons and skunks are the most common animals we deal with that are obviously sick.  The signs of rabies can be easily confused with other illness. A “friendly” raccoon can be a rabid raccoon.  I cannot stress this enough do not approach, or feed a wild raccoon. Things can go wrong very quickly with a raccoon.  I would prefer to grab a full grown Coyote than grab a raccoon.  Raccoons are able to pretty much turn in their skin.  It seems that you can grab a raccoon by the back of the neck, and he can spin around and grab you in less than a second. 

2018 fall Squirrel report

Looks like this fall is going to be a busy season for squirrels. Flying squirrels seem to be becoming a nuisance early this year. The mild winter of last year and a good crop of acorns may be to blame. The same story can be told about the grey squirrels. 

If you are hearing noises in your attic, note the time you are hearing them. Gray squirrels are most active from dawn to dusk. Flying squirrels throughout the night. Mice can be anytime.

If you are unsure what you are hearing try hitting the spot you hear the noise. A mouse will usually freeze, squirrels typically will run. Flying squirrel droppings are easily confused with mouse droppings.

In these tough economic times more and more home owners are trying to tackle squirrel problems on their own.  The problem is that many fail to do the job correctly, and educate the squirrel in the process. A Grey that is educated can be a very difficult animal to capture.  Some home owners are successful with gray squirrels. I have yet to meet a home owner that has been successful with flying squirrels. My typical do it yourself clients have done battle with the flyers for two years before they call me. Flyers normally leave in the spring and return in the fall. The only way to remove them permanently is to close off all possible entry points into the home. They will chew in but tend to chew less than the typical Grays.

Finding nuts in your attic? Grey squirrels do not normally bring many nuts into the attic. Flyers on the other hand will have a cache of nuts somewhere. You may even here them dropping the nuts down a wall during the night. Sometimes these caches of nuts can be three feet deep in a wall cavity. White footed mice will also store nuts, yet not in such abundance.

Raccoon in attic removal CT step by step

     It all starts with a call. What was described to me on this call I was convinced that this would be a bat or squirrel job. When I arrived on the job I did a preliminary walk around the house. I noticed some vent damage which could be from gray squirrels, raccoons, opossums. I am still thinking possible gray squirrels, or bats let in by previous gray squirrels.

Vent damaged by raccoons

This is a attic vent damaged by raccoons.


     I head up into the attic by the time I got near the vent pictured I start hearing young raccoons.  At this point I leave the attic, I did not want to spook the mother raccoon to move her young into an inaccessible area of the attic.

I then head to the roof and get a closer look at the attic vent. Install a positive set trap (trap that is unbaitted that forces the animal into the trap in order to leave the attic)

Closer look at vent damaged by raccoons in CT

Closer look at attic Vent damaged by raccoons


The next day my client calls me telling me we have caught mother raccoon on the roof. I was already in rout being that the forecast called for temps in the upper 80s.

I removed the mother and then went inside the attic to retrieve the young. I retrieved the first within 10minutes of being in the attic. I searched the attic and could not locate anymore young. I was convinced their were more young and instructed the home owner to listen out that night.  The next morning I get the call that they did hear another raccoon. I went into the attic and made some raccoon calls. The next of the young showed himself. I retrieved him and did another search of the attic. No more raccoons were found or heard from. I sealed off all the attic vents completing the job.

Raccoon trap set for mother raccoon

Mother raccoon trapped

Mother raccoon waiting in trap the next day.

baby raccoon found in attic ct

Baby raccoon found in attic CT


Skunk Breeding season, Love is in the air

Skunk breeding season is upon us, and love is in the air literally.

Skunk breedin season

Pepe Le Pew

February – March is the breeding time of the skunk. You may have noticed that you have been smelling skunk for the past couple of weeks. Driving you may have noticed more skunks hit on the road. The male skunk will travel many miles at this time of year searching for a mate. Just like Pepe Le Pew, they are oblivious to all else but finding a mate. He will be traveling in areas that are foreign to him and may spend the day under your shed, or porch just passing through.  When they are breeding on your property you have probably been woken up in the middle of the night eyes watering, and coughing, or gaging because the smell is so strong. Now is the time to remove the skunks before she has a litter. Male skunks will sometimes fight to the death, and will spray each other for the right to mate. Female skunks will also spray suitors that are not up to her standards. They can be for the lack of a better term be trigger happy, and may spray you or your pet if you get too close. Finding a skunk sleeping out in the semi open is more common this time of year. The skunks can be wounded, or just plain exhausted from their night of fighting.  If you are brave enough to approach it be careful skunks can carry many diseases including rabies, and distemper. Relocating skunks in Connecticut is illegal.  Skunks  are a rabies vector species RVS and transporting one from one area to the next can spread rabies to that area. The animal may look and act healthy and still be infected with rabies. The typical signs of rabies appear in the later stages of the disease. If you require professional skunk removal in Connecticut give us a call 860-510-6313. Have a question about skunk breeding season, or any other wildlife question shoot off an email to Rich@rfwildlife.com

Baby squirrel in house

Baby squirrel in the house during the winter

Rf Wildlife gets a lot of calls about baby squirrels running around in houses during the wintertime. Almost all of the time the squirrel you’re seeing is not a baby it’s a southern flying squirrel. Flying squirrels are confused with baby squirrels because they are one third the size of an average gray squirrel. Their eyes seem to be overly large, they have flat tails and white bellies. Most of the time they will be found in the house at night. Flying squirrels are nocturnal, and it is very rare to have only a few of them in the house during the winter months.  The colonies are usually 10 – 40 animals. They normally gain access to the house from the upper levels. Flying squirrels will travel down walls and sometimes get into the living areas. They are not aggressive but rather tame.

Baby squirrels will be just about the same size as adults by the time winter arrives. The last litter of gray squirrels would have been born by September or October in most cases. This is not a hard fast rule for squirrels that are born in attics or other places in a house. Occasionally a female squirrel may have a late litter and their survival rate inside the human structure is much greater than if they were born outdoors. The baby squirrels from that litter may actually continue that same cycle. As you can see it is possible that you have a baby squirrel in the house.

Chipmunks in attic during the winter

Chipmunks in the attic is another common call also confused for flying squirrel problem. Flying squirrels look a lot like Chipmunks if all you get is a quick glimpse. They are the same size and shape when not in flight. During the winter Chipmunks will be in their dens in near hibernation, they wake up often to eat from their stores. When in a house Chipmunks will tend to be closer to the basement, rarely are they found in attics.

If the baby squirrels you found in your house looks like the animal in this picture you have a flying squirrels. Give us a call to set up an inspection. This is not a problem. You want to deal with by yourself. We remove squirrels from houses all over Connecticut and are experienced with flying squirrel removal one of the hardest animals to evict. 860-510-6313

Wintertime Pests Rodents


squirrel removed Branford CT
squirrel removed Branford CT (southern flying squirrel)

Rodent pests are the majority of pest control calls during winter. Mice, gray squirrel, flying squirrel are the top three.


Many people complain about hearing noises in their attic. When they call one of the first things they asked me is what is living in my attic. The following is a list of questions that need to be answered before I can identify the problem rodent species.

What time are you hearing the animal?

Gray squirrels you will hear them running around from sunup to sunset. Flying squirrels are active. Later at night until early morning. Mice can be active at any time.

How loud are they? Do they wake you from a sound sleep?

Flying squirrels can be very loud their colonies average 10 to 30 squirrels. They will wake you out of a sound sleep. You may hear flying squirrels dropping nuts and other seeds. Flying squirrels store food in their den. Dear mice will also store food. Gray squirrels do not normally do this. Mice you’ll hear chilling and scratching. Gray squirrels are much easier to rule out.

Are you hearing the noise in one location or multiple locations?

Gray squirrels you will hear leaving the nest and going to the entrance hole. Gray squirrels usually do not explore the full attic daily. Flying squirrels will explore the whole attic. Flying squirrels will have a latrine and may have multiple entrances. Flying squirrels do not make a nest like gray squirrels do. Flying squirrels will burro into the insulation. Mice will also burro into the insulation. House mice tend to stick to smaller areas. But you still may hear them. In multiple locations on bigger infestations.

How to determine between mice and flying squirrels?

A simple test is to bang on the wall or ceiling at the spot you hear the noise. Mice will typically freeze, but flying squirrels will run.

The following is a list of commonly asked questions.

Do electronic sonic rodent deterrent devices work?

Some people say they do and some say they don’t. I am undecided on their effectiveness.

Do mothballs work to repel rodents and squirrels?

The simple answer is no. You would need to put so many moth balls that it would be toxic for humans. I have personally seen gray squirrels use a mothball box as nesting material.

Do rodenticides (mouse poisons) work well?

Rodenticides are very effective, but they have a few downfalls. Some pest-control companies mislead  their customers by telling them that the mice are going eat the poison and go outside, looking for water and die.  Most of the time the rodent dies in an attic or wall.

What is the best way to fix this rodent problem?

The best way to fix the problem can only be determined after an inspection. Sometimes there are multiple animals. I have personally been in attics that had raccoons, gray squirrels, flying squirrels, and mice all at the same time. I normally start by trapping, followed by closing off entrance points so other animals do not move in.

For service give us a call 860-510-6313