Top 10 Animal Threats to Your Pet

But if you see two or more coyotes together, chances are they are on the hunt. So keep your favorite furry friend close.

Pet Biter No. 3: Raccoons

A raccoon may not be as aggressive as a coyote toward your family pet, but veterinarians say it's important to be extra vigilant around a raccoon bite.

"Bats, skunks, raccoons and foxes, depending on where you are in the United States, are the major carriers of rabies," said Ann Hohenhaus, veterinarian with the Animal Medical Center in New York City.

Hohenhaus recommended that pet owners try to track down an attacking raccoon to get it tested, and of course to keep pets up to date with the rabies vaccine.

The raccoon is found in most parts of North America, according to the Columbia Encyclopedia. Even city dwellers may come across the animal.

But despite the rabies risk, Rozanski said it's rare that a raccoon will attack.

"It's more likely that the raccoon will be attacked [and retaliate], than the other way around," she said.

"The one other thing to at least consider is bats," Rozanski added.

Bats get into many houses from open windows or chimneys. Even a housecat might try to eat a bat, which can bring risk even if the cat is not injured.

"You don't have to have a bite to get rabies because it can be carried in the saliva," said Rozanski.

Pet Biter No. 4: Squirrel

Many a suburban child has been wowed by the grace and beauty of a common squirrel scaling the bark of a maple tree, at least until Sparky gets maimed by the little rodent.

Squirrels cover most of the world, except Australia and Antarctica, and range in size from five inches, the African pygmy squirrel, to 3 feet long, the Indian giant squirrel, according to National Geographic.

But it doesn't take a giant squirrel to cause some damage. Their small size makes them a tasty treat for carnivorous house pets, but their agility and small but sharp claws make them a tricky meal to catch.

VPI reported that squirrels were the fourth-most common wildlife to attack pets.

But veterinarians treating animals were a little dubious.

"It doesn't make any sense to me. Most of my patients would rip a squirrel limb from limb," said Hohenhaus. "It may be that the dog starts to run after the squirrel and the squirrel hauls off and bites them."

Rozanski agreed.

"The only time we see squirrels bit anybody [is if] if they [a dog or cat] corner a squirrel, they may bite," Rozanski said.

Squirrels also have an especially keen group mentality, using a whistling call to warn others of incoming danger, which helps them avoid run-ins with pets.

Pet Attacker No. 5: Scorpion

Every single scorpion attack claim on VPI's database was in Arizona, so that may leaves the other 49 states (perhaps except Hawaii) to breathe easier.

"[With] scorpions, those aren't really anybody's fault," said Rozanski, saying stings likely are a pet's fault for pursuing the critter or a human's fault for letting a pet run wild.

Thirty to 40 species of scorpion can kill a human being with their poison, according to National Geographic. However, scorpion venom generally is tailored to its environment and can inflict serious damage on a range of curious domesticated animals.

These arachnids typically eat insects, but their strong survival tactics allow them live in a variety of conditions and environments.

Page
Join the Discussion
You are using an outdated version of Internet Explorer. Please click here to upgrade your browser in order to comment.
blog comments powered by Disqus
 
You Might Also Like...