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Living with Wildlife in Manitoba


The raccoon is the most common furbearer involved in Manitoba's urban human-wildlife conflicts. Hundreds of raccoon-human encounters occur each year, a figure that is increasing steadily. Being extremely adaptable, the raccoon is able to live almost anywhere and its range continues to spread northward in Manitoba, its range continues to move beyond The Pas and towards Thompson. If you have raccoons damaging your property or believe your property to be at risk for raccoon damage, you can do several things.

Preventing Raccoon Problems

For raccoons or any wild animal, deny them access to attractants, which can be food or shelter. Keep all garbage and composters in secure containers or enclosures. In addition:

  • Supervise children and inspect their outdoor play structures beforehand.
  • Cover sand play boxes to prevent raccoons from using it as a latrine.
  • Do not deliberately feed raccoons
  • Do not leave garbage or pet food outdoors.
  • Protect outdoor fish ponds with metal screens or mesh
  • Clean acorns and fruits that fall from trees nearby.
  • Clean up after outdoor cooking or picnics, especially grease drippings from barbeques.
  • Block even the smallest access to attics, sheds, chimneys, or other potential dens and replace old wooden roof materials
  • Replace insulation in the attic and disinfect the area if raccoons have gained access, since the raccoon scent will linger and attract others to the attic.
  • Try strong-smelling repellents, such as oil of mustard, bleach, cayenne pepper, naphtha flakes/ mothballs, or ammonia around garbage containers and entrances to potential dens.
  • Install lights around garbage and compost containers.
  • Keep pets inside at night and closely supervise them during the day.
  • Remove over hanging branches to restrict their access to roof tops.
  • Vaccinate all your pets against rabies and other diseases, as your veterinarian recommends

Encountering a Raccoon

Raccoon eating birdseed In most cases the homeowner can do a number of things to help themselves when encountering a raccoon or other wildlife:

  • Do not feed, disturb or handle it.  Most importantly, do not handle any young, as the mother is usually nearby and can be viciously protective.
  • If it is causing a problem, inside city of Winnipeg limits contact a local authorized pest control company. Outside city of Winnipeg, contact your local animal control office. (Note: If the problem is preventable such as open garbage containers or fish ponds or involves raccoon faeces, Manitoba Sustainable Development will only provide advice to the property owner.)
  • Raccoons may not be kept as pets in Manitoba; people who do so risk injury from the animal and prosecution by Manitoba Sustainable Development.
  • If you are injured (bitten, scratched), seek immediate medical attention or call Health Links-Info Santé at (204) 788-8200 (in Winnipeg) or 1-888-315-9257 (outside of Winnipeg); if your pet is injured, seek immediate veterinary attention as raccoons are known to carry rabies and canine distemper.
  • Raccoon faeces should be cleaned up using proper materials to avoid personal contamination (shovels, disposable rubber gloves, strong disinfectants, etc); the faeces should be buried or sent securely to a landfill; treat contaminated areas and tools with disinfectant.
  • If immediate help is not available with a raccoon in a closed space (such as an attic, chimney), a property owner can:
    • Shoot or lethally trap it in a safe manner and subject to local firearm laws; you must report removal to a Conservation Officer within 10 days.
    • Place bright lights, a loud radio, and/or employ repellents in/near the den to drive the animals out.
    • If the raccoon is caught in a chimney/stovepipe, drop a rope down to allow it to climb out; bright lights and a loud radio in the fireplace will encourage the raccoons to leave; cap the chimney/stovepipe once the animal is gone.

Raccoons found inside the City of Winnipeg Limits FAQs

Canine Distemper FAQs

How can I keep raccoons away from my property?

Remove attractants like garbage, bird feeders, outdoor pet food bowls and water sources. Seal or restrict access to attics and shelters such as under sheds and place a screen over your fish pond. If raccoons are attracted to your garden, put fencing around to restrict its access and remove any tree branches over hanging your house.

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If I have taken steps to keep raccoons away but they persist, who do I contact to have them removed from on my property?

Please contact a licensed and certified pest control company. All certified companies must comply with humane wildlife care and use guidelines approved by the Canadian Council on Animal Care. 

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What do other cities do about nuisance raccoons?

Cities such as Brandon, Saskatoon, Regina, and Calgary either have their own animal control officers or refer public inquiries to private pest control companies.

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Why is Manitoba Sustainable Development no longer handling calls for raccoons found inside the city of Winnipeg limits?

The department is focusing on human-wildlife conflicts that require more complex actions in urban environments, such as conflicts with bears and deer.  This change allows private pest control companies to handle raccoons. This is consistent with other large communities including Brandon, Saskatoon, Regina, Prince Albert, Calgary, Ottawa, Kenora and Vancouver, where nuisance wildlife is handled either by city employees or private pest control companies. Information on how you can deal with raccoons can be found on this website or you can call an authorized pest control company to remove raccoons, and other wildlife from your property.

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Canine Distemper FAQs

What are the symptoms of canine distemper in raccoons?
Raccoons will act disoriented or lethargic, with crusted eyes, excess mucus coming from the nasal area, and shallow or laboured breathing. Humans are not at risk from this disease, but it affects dogs.

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What causes canine distemper?
Canine distemper is an infectious viral disease that can affect several carnivores including dogs. There are several closely related variants of the virus.

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What are the symptoms of canine distemper in domestic dogs?
Dogs that have been infected with distemper tend to suffer a progressive deterioration of mental abilities and motor skills. With time, they can experience severe seizures, paralysis, reduction in sight and become uncoordinated. Life-threatening symptoms usually involve a degeneration of the nervous system.

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How can I prevent my dog from contracting canine distemper?
Annual vaccinations for distemper are the best form of prevention for distemper and other diseases. The clinical disease is now rare among pet dogs. Dog owners that are unsure if their pets are adequately vaccinated should contact their local veterinarian.
As well, people should prevent contact between their dogs and wildlife.

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