Vertebrate Pest Conference Proceedings collection


Date of this Version

February 1962


Opossums at times cause economic losses, especially around poultry farms, truck crops and river bottom corn fields. Under such circumstances, control may be required.

When bats invade homes and occupied buildings to establish their roosts, they often become nuisances, necessitating some measure of control. Interest in bats has increased greatly during recent years due to the transmission of rabies to humans. Rabies virus has been isolated from over 20 species of bats in 36 States. Since 1953, five human deaths have been attributed, to rabid bat bites. More recently one field investigator has reported an experience which indicated that rabies transmission from bats might occur without a direct bite. Any bat acting in an abnormal manner should be approached with caution, particularly if found fluttering on the ground. Bat bites should be treated by a physician and the bat should, be captured without injury to the head so the brain can be examined by health authorities. Since bats are normally harmless animals and may even be beneficial because they feed largely on insects, they should not be needlessly destroyed.

Raccoons eat almost anything, but mainly insects, crayfish, mussels, fish, frogs, birds' eggs, grain, fruits, berries and nuts. They can be especially destructive to corn fields, particularly when the ears are in the milk stage. Where raccoons become so numerous that they are a serious pest to agriculture, their control is essential.

Skunks are usually beneficial to man since they eat many insects and mice. In cooler parts of their range they are valuable as producers of fine fur. Occasionally, however, they live too near houses or develop a taste for poultry. It then becomes necessary to remove the ones causing damage.