Common Animals in Lodi
Habits & Habitat
The opossum is a house cat-sized mammal (4 to 14 pounds) with a long and pointed face. Although they are very common, opossums are not often seen due to their nocturnal habits. They eat a wide variety of foods including:
- Pet food
Opossums are found in many different habitats from woodlands to highly developed residential areas. They have been found living in many places that offer protection, including:
- Under houses and decks
Opossums are attracted to urban areas by the easy accessibility of food, water, and shelter. Tight fitting lids should be kept on garbage cans. Pets should be fed during daylight hours and any leftovers removed immediately, water bowls should be emptied or taken in at night; gardens should be frequently harvested. Food should never be intentionally left out for wild mammals.
Close off any open vents to your home and repair any area that may provide an entrance either under or into your residence. This includes pet doors, which should be locked at night. The opossum can be kept away from roof areas by trimming tree branches 10 feet from roof and by keeping climbing plants trimmed away from eave areas.
It is a violation of California state law for any wildlife to be kept as pets. California Fish and Game Regulations prohibit the relocation of opossums and other wildlife without the written permission of Fish and Game.
Habits & Habitat
Raccoons are common throughout California and are medium sized animals weighing 12 to 35 pounds. The fur has a salt and pepper appearance with the black mask marking on the face. Raccoons are nocturnal (night-time active) animals. They will eat:
- Pet food
Raccoons den up in:
- Abandoned burrows
- Brush piles
- Drain pipes
- Hollow trees
- Homes and buildings
- Under decks and storage building
Raccoons may be kept away from roof areas by trimming tree branches 10 feet from roof and by keeping climbing plants trimmed away from roof and eave areas. The use of a watchdog may prove advantageous in keeping raccoons from your yard, but raccoons can be extremely vicious and have been known to attack pets.
Raccoons are drawn to the easily accessible food source around homes. Secure your garbage and never leave food out overnight for your pets. Raccoons causing lawn and turf damage may be encouraged to leave by controlling the grub worms or other subsoil insects that they eat.
It is a violation of California state law for any wildlife to be kept as pets. California Fish and Game Regulations prohibit the relocation of raccoons and other wildlife without the written permission of Fish and Game.
Habits & Habitat
Striped skunks are a house-cat sized animal that has white stripes down the back. Skunks are nocturnal, preferring to hunt at night for:
- Small rodents
- Nesting birds
- Pet food
Skunks will use any sheltered place as a den including:
- Wood piles
- Animal burrows
- Under houses
Odor & Rabies
Skunks have the ability to discharge a nauseating musk from their anal glands. They are capable of spraying their must several times with accuracy to about 10 feet. Confrontation with pets can result in the pet being sprayed or bitten.
Skunks are the primary carrier of rabies in California with approximately 65% of the skunks checked in the past five years tested positive for rabies.
Skunks are attracted to residential areas by the availability of food, water, and shelter. They can be encouraged to leave by reducing or eliminating these attractants. Remove unused pet food and water bowls at night, and keep tight-fitting lids on garbage cans. Seal up entry holes in and under buildings and decks. Keep pet access doors locked at night.
Live trapping can be used to remove skunks with a baited cat trap. When trapping skunks it is a good idea to cover the top, bottom, and side of the trap with heavy cardboard or plywood. This reduces the chance that the person picking up the trap will be sprayed. Do not place traps under a building or deck. This does not increase trap success, but it does greatly increase the chance of getting sprayed.
Almost any type of food can be used as bait, but to reduce the change of catching neighborhood cats, use the following rather than meat:
- Peanut butter
- Raw egg
Trapped animals will need to be released as soon as possible after trapping for humane reasons. Do not set the trap if you are going to be away from your residence for longer than a day, or if the Lodi Animal Shelter is closed for the weekend. If you have a trapped skunk contact the Lodi Animal Services to arrange for a staff member to take care of the animal.
Individual reaction to skunk musk ranges from mild irritation to a severe headache, nausea, vomiting, and burning of the eyes and nostrils. No diseases are known to be transmitted through the musk. Skunk musk on clothing may be neutralized by a strong detergent washing followed by the liberal use of vinegar or household ammonia and a final rinse. Airing these articles on hot, sunny days will also help.
Removing Musk on Pets
To remove musk sprayed on pets, first rinse the eyes gently with clear water, bathe with a "No Tears" shampoo taking special care around the eyes, then rinse with clear water. You may wish to rinse the pet with tomato juice or a diluted solution of vinegar and water. If you take this extra step, you must then shampoo and rinse the pet again. This treatment may need to be repeated. If your pet was bitten by the skunk, take it immediately to your veterinarian.
It is a violation of California state law for any wildlife to be kept as pets. California Fish and Game Regulations prohibit the relocation of opossums and other wildlife without written permission of the Department.