An analysis of thousands of animal bites has yielded some useful insights. In Houston, TX, 12,000 animal bites and attacks recorded from 2006 to 2011. Seventy percent were unprovoked and most victims were children. A Houston animal control supervisor said children should not be left alone with animals. Recently a four-year-old boy was found dead and canine mauling was suspected as the cause. The preliminary investigation indicated he wandered from home and somehow wound up in a yard full of pit bulls. Animal control workers also said dogs should not be allowed to roam freely, so they do not wind up on other people’s property where they might attack.
About 2,000 of the 12,000 documented animal bites in Houston were from wild animals. Most of these bites came from skunks, raccoons, squirrels and coyotes. Many of the victims were likely children unknowingly putting themselves in danger by getting too close to the wild animals.
It is not uncommon for humans to try and get close with wild animals by luring them with food. This practice is always a bad idea, because the result may be a bite, and the transmission of disease. Raccoons, for example, can carry rabies and are very agile, clever animals with sharp teeth. The animal undoubtedly will be blamed for the bite and if reported, might wind up dead after animal control is called. Squirrels and other wild animals typically stick to their own spaces and routines, meaning if they are left alone, they likely will not have too much interaction with humans.
The Houston research is telling us we need to be more aware of the true behavior of animals, and learn to be more careful and respectful, or the bitings and attacks will continue.
Image Credit: Rwc2118