Common Diseases That Wildlife Carry

Fungi, bacteria, parasites, and viruses are all around us. When humans and wildlife are healthy, their natural defenses keep these organisms from causing serious damage. However, some pathogens can be present in fur, waste materials, and saliva, which can be dangerous to humans.


Rabies is considered a common wildlife disease because it can be transmitted by a large number of wild animals. In the United States, however, rabies is primarily transmitted by foxes, bats, and raccoons.

Both animals and humans can experience the same symptoms of rabies. Rabid animals exhibit  flu-like symptoms, confusion, and intense aversion to water. Rabies is very dangerous and can be fatal, making treatments as soon as possible following a bite absolutely critical.


Another disease that tops the list of the most common for wildlife to carry is histoplasmosis. Histoplasmosis is a fungal disease that  lives in animal feces. Once a sufficient amount of droppings has accumulated, spores of the fungus are released into the air. If inhaled, these spores can cause lung infection, which if left untreated can spread.

Both birds and bats can carry histoplasmosis, which can also be found in soil. If you notice bats or birds on your property, it’s important to leave droppings undisturbed and have them and this wildlife humanely and professionally removed.


A bacteria that’s found in the urine of skunks, squirrels, mice, and rats, leptospirosis (also called “lepto”) spreads when it reaches mucous membranes like the nose and mouth. This disease can also enter the body via an existing open wound or one caused by an infected animal’s bite. Contamination of water and soil can also occur.

Dogs are common victims of this bacteria due to their instinctive sniffing behavior. Should a dog become infected with leptospirosis, they may or may not exhibit symptoms of the disease, which include lethargy, shaking, fever, and muscle tenderness. Other symptoms include vomiting, diarrhea, and liver failure (indicated by jaundice). This disease can be treated with antibiotics.

West Nile Virus

West Nile virus has been found to affect hundreds of bird species, but corvids, which include ravens, blue jays, and crows, are known to be most susceptible to fatality from infection. West Nile Virus spreads when uninfected mosquitoes bite infected birds. The infected mosquito can then infect humans and other animals when it bites them.

Supportive care is how West Nile virus is treated in humans. Birds that have the disease exhibit symptoms from blindness and loss of coordination to weakness, tremors, and head tilt. Horses can also develop the disease. Both horses and birds can be vaccinated against West Nile virus.

Lyme Disease

Lyme disease affects many species, including chipmunks, raccoons, opossums, gray squirrels, mice, and white-tailed deer. Along with the wildlife that can become infected, humans and domestic animals including dogs and horses can also get the disease when bitten by an infected tick.

Lyme disease is spread when a tick bites already-infected wildlife. In humans, infection occurs when the tick bites them after biting infected wildlife. A tick must be attached for at least 24 hours for this bacteria to spread. Symptoms manifest in animals as lameness, joint pain, stiffness, and fever two to five months following a bite.

Humans range from zero illness to severe disease, with symptoms beginning between one and two weeks following a bite. Symptoms include a “bulls-eye” rash at the bite site, a stiff neck, a headache, body aches, and fever. Chronic arthritis can also occur weeks or months following a bite.

National Wildlife Health and Emerging Infectious Disease

In order to possess decreased vulnerability to the impacts of various diseases, a diversity of species, as well as high genetic diversity, must be present in an ecosystem. The health of an ecosystem will decline where invasive species, pollution, climate change, and habitat loss are present, leading to the higher probability of infectious disease.

Destruction of these invasive species and habitat preservation can preserve the health and diversity of ecosystems and lessen the instances of disease. Protective measures can also be taken.

For example, humans can prevent Lyme disease by ensuring the complete coverage of skin in forests and areas of high grass. Before letting dogs out of the home at night, conducting a quick scan for wildlife can help prevent infection.

How to Deal with Wildlife on Your Property

Having wildlife on your property doesn’t necessarily mean that you or your loved ones will become infected by the above common diseases. However, much care should always be taken when outdoors, and wildlife must be professionally removed if you discover roosts or nests in your home and other buildings.

The removal company you choose should be experienced at removing a wide range of wildlife. Following a thorough inspection of your property, a company should also be able to remove wildlife in a way that doesn’t harm the animal and ensure the removal is completed safely to prevent the transmission of diseases like histoplasmosis.

Finally, any wildlife removal company should be on time, every time, and be able to complete each task efficiently and without excessive interruption to the enjoyment of your property.

Safe and Humane Wildlife Removal Services

Animal Capture Wildlife Control possesses over two decades of experience with the safe and humane removal of snakes, bats, opossums, raccoons, squirrels, and other animals. Operating under a license from the Department of Fish and Wildlife, we serve Los Angeles and the surrounding areas.

Our experience includes humane trapping, as well as inspection and repair. We conduct thorough inspections of attic, crawl spaces, and animal dens and complete property inspections. We also specialize in the repair of property damage and the repair and installation of animal barriers like snake fencing.

Our 4-step process simplifies animal removal and gives you peace of mind. You don’t have to be concerned about wildlife on your property when you choose Animal Capture Wildlife Control. A growing number of clients choose us for their animal control needs. Visit us to learn more today.