Unwanted urban wildlife


Although city environments are generally thought to be inhospitable for wildlife, many small mammals still choose to live in man-made habitats. While most people would expect to see squirrels, mice and rats in our cities, it may come as a surprise to learn that raccoons, skunks, marmots, foxes and bats can also be found. However, the activities of these small city-dwellers sometimes cause problems for their human neighbours.

Plentiful resources

Urban environments offer a plentiful supply of interesting resources for "unwanted" wildlife. These animals do not appear spontaneously or by chance. They usually come because we provide them with food, shelter and safety.

  • Garbage cans and household waste serve as a year-round larder for wild animals.
  • The spaces under galleries, sheds and garages provide suitable dens for small mammals to give birth and rear their young, or spend the winter, especially as the large natural predators that prey on these animals are not found in cities.
  • Roof spaces and attics also provide shelter, and the animals that choose to live there may chew through electric wires or other structural elements.

Fortunately, there are several things we can do to live in harmony with urban wildlife. However, some species may carry diseases such as rabies that can be transmitted to humans, so it is important not to touch them.


If you are exposed to the saliva of a wild animal, clean the exposed area with running water and soap, and then immediately dial 811 to contact the Info-Santé service for a risk assessment by a health professional. You should also visit your vet to ensure that your pets are properly vaccinated against rabies. If a pet is exposed to the disease, you must contact the Canadian Food Inspection Agency immediately (1 800 442-2342).


Read more