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Top Three Nuisance Animals in Toronto

Updated on March 22, 2015

The Most Annoying Animals in Toronto.. That We Love Anyway!

Of the sixteen 'nuisance' animals listed below, raccoons, skunks and squirrels top the chart for property damage, and removal frequency.

Eastern grey squirrels
American red squirrel
Rats and mice
Stray dogs and cats
Foxes, mainly red fox
Rabbits, largely cottontail rabbits

European starlings
Canada Geese

They are only called 'Nuisance Animals' as a professional designation by the industry including the City of Toronto Wildlife Control in their legislative dealings governing the day-to-day operations and responsibilities of the city's independent wildlife control businesses.

Animal Removal Statistics (from mid sized Wildlife Control Co.)

# removals 2014
#removals 2013

Raccoon in a Tight Spot


Removing Raccoons in Toronto

Raccoons are the number one most destructive animal in Toronto.

They're also among the most successful wild animals to adapt to city living, largely because they're generalists, meaning the creature adapts easily to changing conditions. An omnivore, a raccoon eats just about anything — plants, small animals, fish and food scraps. The fact that they'll eat anything means there's always food about, and when compared to their country cousins, urban raccoons are usually larger and heavier, slower and braver. They have almost no predators in the city, except cars. Wikipedia raccoon page claims that distemper ( a viral disease) is the number one cause of modern raccoon fatalities.

Raccoons are mainly active at night throughout the year. They do go dormant during periods of extended cold, or in very deep snow conditions. Den sites include hollow trees, groundhog dens, chimneys, garages, under and inside sheds, attics, porches and under decks.

Raccoons are really clever and emotive. The have a unique ability to break into almost any enclosed space, whether trash cans, metal dumpsters or lofty attics. The Raccoons in Toronto City Hall in 2014 story showcased the animals on newspaper covers as masked bandits. The black patch of fur around their eyes helps them see better at night. They're prowlers. With large front paws that have actual fingers and resemble human hands, raccoons can expertly open jars or door latches and lift shingles on roofs,

SWAT Wildlife website has these amazing photographs of property damage in Toronto that Derick McChesney snapped because even he couldn't believe the impact just a few animals can make - the massive amount of damage these wily critters can do in houses, garages and garden sheds is unimaginable, until you see these pictures.

City Raccoons Destroy Weak Urban Roofs

Raccoons in the roof!
Raccoons in the roof! | Source

Raccoon Removal Process

Modern day raccoon removal experts commonly set traps and rig up one-way doors to catch or exclude adult animals from the property, but what about their young? In the springtime, wildlife control technicians must sometimes penetrate the burrows themselves to recover the animal's offspring nesting in the confined space. This is of course easier said then done, as it often involves excavating or opening walls to enable retrieval of 'the nest'. The damage is always repaired of course, and indeed the property must be upgraded - it must be raccoon-proofed immediately after the removal of the critters who, once released, will no doubt try to return.

A full scale raccoon proofing procedure must be conducted asap as these wild animals are not destroyed, but simply relocated, and will almost certainly return to the property and under the cover of darkness they will test the new security measures at their previous habitat.


Removing Skunks in Toronto

From Skunks are burrowing animals. Especially in the springtime, when they like to dig for grubs in the soft soil under residential lawns. The home owner knows they have a skunk when they see the holes in their backyard. These divets are about two inches round and a few inches deep in a random array near any type of decayed matter. An old tree stump, or a pile of dead leaves and branches are prime skunk magnets.

Here in Ontario, skunks breed from February to March, and after a gestation period of eight weeks, their birthing season is late May or early June. The female has four to seven offspring which are usually independent by August.

The best way to catch this animal is to trap it, and peanut butter is the food bait of choice here in Toronto because its cheap and somehow remains relatively pungent even when frozen solid in winter snow and ice.

With skunks, the animal control worker has to be more careful. Unlike other animals, skunks in cages can still spray the handler (depending on the cage size and design). The correct size trap encloses the skunk in a smaller space where it's unable to easily lift its tail to spray.

Skunks Can Live Inside Hollow Concrete Steps!

Skunk under the steps!
Skunk under the steps!

Mix Three Ingredients for Anti Odour Potion


Recipe for Homemade Skunk Odour Removal Shampoo

On MEDIUM, There's a Story About A Skunk Removal in Toronto which begins with a Labradoodle dog getting sprayed by the striped skunk seen in the video module below. The dog had emotional trauma, and the shock and smell of the incident left a lasting impression on its psychology. This is the recipe and the instructions for preparation that Derick recommended to the homeowner.


1 quart 3% Hydrogen Peroxide
1/4 cup Baking Soda
1 teaspoon liquid soap
(Dawn Dish washing Detergent is often recommended, but any dish soap will work)

Wear rubber or latex gloves. Mix the ingredients in an open container, a bucket or bowl as it will be fizzy. Thoroughly wet your dog with warm water, and try to use the solution while it is still bubbling. Knead it well into the dog's coat. Be careful to keep the formula out of the dog's eyes, nose and mouth; use a sponge to carefully wipe it onto his face. Let the solution stand for ten minutes before rinsing. Chances are, you will not get all of the smell off of the dog's face and will just have to live with that until it wears off, which will be in about a week.

Squirrels Are A Cute Nuisance

Squirrels are cuter than skunks and raccoons.
Squirrels are cuter than skunks and raccoons. | Source

Removing Squirrels From Attics in Toronto

Squirrels are difficult to keep out of old houses because they have small sleek bodies and are excellent climbers. They are also great jumpers and some can even fly. Squirrels chew wooden walls and can enter buildings through holes the size of a quarter. But the worst part about having squirrels in your attic is understanding why they are there... to raise their young.

Eastern gray squirrels can breed twice a year, but younger and less experienced mothers will normally have a single litter per year in the spring.

Backyard Wildlife animal control agents in Toronto report that in two thirds of squirrel removal cases, there’s a litter of 3-5 baby squirrels that also need to be removed. The most common reason for a squirrel to enter an attic and choose to live there, is to give birth and raise its young. The female usually gives birth shortly after penetrating and exploring the attic, within 1-2 weeks, and then she spends about 8 weeks nursing the baby squirrels. At about 6-8 weeks and beyond, the young squirrels start to run around the attic on their own, and that’s when homeowners really start to hear a lot of noise – one squirrel has now become five!

The presence of these young complicates the matter of removing squirrels, because if you trap and remove the adult female during the first 6 weeks after birth, the young are left behind. I’ve seen several dozen such cases: a homeowner uses some sort of trap to remove the mom, but the noise continues, and no more are caught. When I get called out to such homes, I crawl through the attic and find the babies, remove them by hand, put them in a sack, and remove them from the attic

Malodorous repellents can be effective deterrents. Chemical repellents from a manufacturer are sprayed by professionals according to label instructions, focusing specifically on squirrel nesting areas inside the attic. Home owners can also buy or request the technicians use a natural repellant made with predator urine. The most commonly used predator urine is fox spray, which can be purchased by itself from various hunting supply stores.

With all that in mind, most experts agree the only sure way to prevent against the furry creatures from penetrating your wooden structures is to completely and effectively block them using metal screens and tin sheeting inside and outside the building.

Squirrel in a cage

Squirrel in a cage.
Squirrel in a cage.


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    • legalissues profile image

      Piyush Sharma 3 years ago from New Delhi

      It's a nice and informative article.


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