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Use loud music to drive wild animals, like pesky raccoons, away from your building.
AP photo/HSUS
Use loud music to drive wild animals, like pesky raccoons, away from your building.

Don’t rush to ‘save’ baby wildlife

The Associated Press

Spring is wild-animal birthing season and it’s a worrying time for Laura Simon, field director of urban wildlife for the Humane Society of the United States.

Calls about seemingly abandoned baby animals are already coming in to the Humane Society, and she and other wildlife officials know that people’s mistaken concern may prompt them to do the wrong thing — and actually create orphans.

“They have a big heart and good intentions but when they see an adorable baby animal alone they assume it needs help and that may not be the case,” she said, speaking from her Woodbridge, Conn., office, where she also runs a national wildlife hot line year-round for the Washington, D.C.-based society.

The baby season runs from March to September. Simon’s advice if you see a baby animal alone is, first, caution: “Don’t move it. Watch and see if it’s really orphaned or can get back to Mother.”

For example: Fawns and baby rabbits are often left alone by the mother for long periods to avoid attracting predators — the babies are odorless; the mothers are not.

Some of Simon’s guidelines:

  • The animal’s vocabulary may tell you if something’s really wrong, if it’s vocalizing. Animals usually keep quiet.

  • If there are tics and fleas on the baby, that means mom’s not around.

  • If a bird on the ground is a real baby, without feathers, gently put it back in the nest. A fledgling may have left the nest normally, learning to fly.

    With animal families in the house: “We try to persuade people to evict rather than trap — if they trap parents, they may orphan a whole litter.”

    Her remedy for pesky raccoons and squirrels in your buildings: Ruin their peace and quiet. “Radio or loud rock ’n’ roll is your best weapon. Use it strategically to drive wild animals away.”

    More detailed guidelines to help figure out if there’s a problem are offered at a Humane Society Web site, www.wild
    neighbors.org.

    Finally, if you’re convinced something is really wrong, get in touch with a wildlife rehabilitator.

    Morgan County Humane Society, 778-9709

    Critter Control, (800) 274-8837

    Humane Society hot line, (203) 389-4411

    Copyright 2005 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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