Wildlife Die-Offs & Animal-Born Disease
dead mouse in the grass

Wildlife Die-Offs

Wildlife populations can be impacted by animal-born diseases that lead to a die-off. This can occur in rural areas or within residential areas.

Use Caution Around Dead Animals

Coming into contact with dead animals can be dangerous because they can have germs that make people sick. Walk around your property before chores like mowing that could disturb dead wildlife.

If you find a dead animal, do not touch it. Keep your pets and children away from the area.

There are several animal-born diseases that cause wildlife die-offs in Boulder County and all of these can lead to human infection. The primary ones are:

Learn how to safely dispose of a dead animal.

Type of Animals Tested

The most common animals tested for animal-born disease are:

  • Rabbits
  • Prairie dogs
  • Rodents
  • Bats
  • Skunks
  • Foxes
  • Raccoons

Reporting Dead Animals

If you have found a dead animal that appears uninjured or you think you have found a die-off, you may choose to report it.

Deciding Which Dead Animals to Test

The Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment (CDPHE) makes the final decision on which animal specimens to test. This can depend on a number of factors including:

  • Location where the animal was found
  • Contact with people
  • Quality of the specimen

Please understand that often, dead animals will not meet the criteria for testing.

For the most accurate test results it is important to have a specimen that has only been dead for a very short period of time (up to 4 hours) and appears to be uninjured. If it is not known how long the animal has been dead, or if the animal appears to have been injured then it is best to dispose of the dead animal.

If CDPHE determines that a specimen does not need to be tested but an individual still wants the animal to be tested people may submit the animal to the CDPHE lab for testing at their own expense.

For more information, please contact:

Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment
Laboratory Services Division
8100 Lowry Blvd.
Denver, CO 80230
303-692-3090

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