The city is warning residents after a sharp increase in attacks caused by raccoons in Toronto.
Torontonians reported 62% more bites and scratches from trash pandas between January 2020 and February 2021 compared to previous years, and COVID-19 has been named as one likely reason why.
In a press release published on Tuesday, the City of Toronto says one reason why attacks went up last year could be that more people are working from home and exercising in their neighbourhoods, increasing the chance of running into a raccoon.
Toronto Animal Services also received 13,712 service requests for sick or injured raccoons last year, far more than the 4,172 in 2019.
As a result of increased interactions between humans and their furry garbage-loving neighbours, the city is asking that Torontonians be more careful when it comes to raccoon contact.
While the risk of rabies is low, Torontonians should still wildlife-proof their yard, only put their garbage and recycling bins out in the morning and keep their pets vaccinated against rabies.
And the city says you should stay away from raccoons — even if they appear sick or injured — because they're capable of "unpredictable behaviour."