Camping is a fun way to get some exercise and unwind while getting some fresh air into your system. This age-old practice is one that, when done properly, reflects the unity between humans and nature.
Ontario has thousands of options for the camping enthusiast, whether you’re into fully rugged camping or group camping, car camping or in a cottage.
Bonding with Nature Safely
If you’re a camping fan then you’re likely to also be a nature fan, which means that you won’t want your camping behaviour to negatively impact Mother Nature. Additionally, even the most passionate wildlife lover knows that it is best to keep wildlife at a safe distance when camping. This is important for your safety as well as for that of the wildlife creatures you encounter.
This is why expert campers advise that you reduce the attraction of wildlife to your campsite with the following steps:
- Keep the area clean. Do not store waste food or keep dirty dishes and utensils lying around.
- Refrain from feeding wildlife.
- Refrain from capturing wildlife creatures and taking them into your camping area.
- Reduce and eliminate all odours in your tent that may attract wildlife.
- Dispose of or store garbage far away from your campsite. If you drive you could lock it in your vehicle, or take it to the park’s main garbage collection site. You could also hang bagged garbage in trees some distance away.
- Feed your pet only what it needs to avoid pet food leftovers and if there are leftovers do not leave them out.
A Raccoon that Seems Tame…in the Wild?
If you meet a raccoon that seems unafraid of you, it is important for you to be extra cautious. Either the raccoon is accustomed to people, in which case the animal is not really wild or the raccoon could be infected by rabies. In the wild, it is unlikely that you’ll encounter raccoons that have had enough human contact to be unafraid of us so it is wise to assume that rabies or distemper could be the factor at play here.
Your furry little visitor could be suffering from distemper. Raccoons in parks like Algonquin and rural regions are less likely to suffer from the distemper virus than their city comrades but you should still be cautious. The good news is that many of these parks have their own wildlife animal removal teams or associations with teams that remain on call for situations just like this.
What to Do
Do not engage the raccoon. If you’ve taken your pet camping with you, keep it away from the raccoon. If your pet has already had contact with the animal, get in touch with a vet urgently.
Your immediate action should be to call the management of the camping grounds. They will, in turn, remove the animal (yes removal is necessary as both rabies and distemper are contagious) or contact a reputable wildlife animal removal service to handle the animal.