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BROWN: Raccoons are fluffy and cute — from afar

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A raccoon in the pool?!

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It’s all fun and games until someone comes down with Baylisascaris Procyonics.

Recently, a TikTok video of a raccoon at a Toronto swimming pool made the rounds on social media.

The footage was posted by a woman named Maddie (@miagothsboobs) and shows a dear little garbage panda calmly swimming in the woman’s swimming pool in the Forest Hill neighborhood.

Maddie said on TikTok she initially thought the raccoon accidentally fell into the pool, but then realized the animal really intended to take a dip.

“Turns out he just wants to swim,” she said in the video, which has attracted many thousands of views.

The animal appears to be healthy, but “we will I’ll clean the pool,” she said.

Maddie, who has received thousands of replies to her TikTok video, said of the furry intruder: “He’s very comfortable. He even went to our back door and tried to get to me.”

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That’s great, except raccoons are wild animals and — cute as they are — they’re potentially dangerous, destructive, and a health hazard.

Baylisascaris procyonics, the special roundworm they carry, can infect humans through improper handling of raccoon feces; If you have raccoons pooping in your yard or on your patio (or in your pool), be very careful when removing their droppings.

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gloves and mask? Definitely. This if from the City of Toronto website:

Material contaminated with raccoon droppings should be carefully removed and incinerated, buried or disposed of in a landfill.

Wear gloves and a face mask.

Treat decks, patios, and other surfaces with boiling water.

Always wash hands well with soap and water.

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Already fully booked? there is more

Raccoons rarely have rabies in Toronto because the city has done a good job with preventives — but rabies from the raccoon tribe was found in the Niagara area last year, so be aware.

And raccoons carry giardiasis, which if left untreated can lead to bloody diarrhea, weight loss and dehydration. You can also shed leptospirosis — a bacterium that can cause a variety of uncomfortable symptoms, including high fever, headaches, and vomiting — in their urine. They carry fleas, lice and mange, among other things.

At the onset of COVID in 2020, Toronto Animal Services received 13,712 service requests for sick and injured raccoons — compared to the 4,172 the city board received in 2019.

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While people were stuck at home during lockdown, they had more time to look around and many exercised more outside while gyms were closed.

As a result, they noticed raccoons much more.

Between January 2020 and February 2021, there was a 62% increase in reports of people being bitten and/or scratched by raccoons compared to the average for the previous two years.

Anyone who has ever had their dog entangled with a raccoon knows that canines are usually second best.

Anyone who has had raccoons in their attic — it cost a friend $40,000 to have men in hazmat suits remove the toxic raccoon droppings from their completely destroyed attic — knows how destructive the cute l’il fellas can be.

Another friend with raccoons in the attic found out they were there through the terrifying experience of the animals coming in through a ceiling fan.

The City of Toronto has tips on their website for keeping raccoons off your property.

Remember: never feed wild animals.

Start by securing your trash so the critters don’t eat in your home.

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