Even though we live in one of the most densely populated cities in the United States, wildlife still pose a threat to public health in Boston. If you watch closely, a diverse range of wild animals can be spotted in the city. This may include deer, coyotes, opossum, squirrels, skunks, raccoons, bats, and birds of all shapes and sizes. Although most wildlife will generally avoid humans, these animals are known to spread Rabies or other diseases to people and pets.
In the summer, people are much more likely to come in contact with a wild animal. As we spend more time outside, wildlife are spending more time foraging and moving around. If you encounter a wild animal, leave it alone and walk away. Contact Boston Animal Control at 617-635-5348 to report a problem animal or contact the Boston Public Health Commission at 617-534-5611 if someone you know is bitten by an animal in Boston.
Tips to avoid diseases from wildlife:
- Vaccinate your pets for rabies. Cats, dogs, and ferrets all need to be vaccinated by a veterinarian regularly.
- Do not keep wild animals as pets – it is illegal and dangerous.
- Do not feed or handle wild animals. Teach children that although a baby raccoon or skunk may look cute and friendly, they can be very dangerous.
- Do not feed or touch stray animals and avoid all sick or strange-acting animals.
- Pick up dead animals using gloves or a shovel.
- Cover and secure your garbage cans and never leave pet food outside.
- Ensure all openings in your home are closed and secure to prevent wildlife from moving in.
Find more information on wildlife in Massachusetts from the Massachusetts Department of Fish and Game.
Contact the Boston Public Health Commission at 617-534-5611 with additional questions.