Often, we have more to worry about if we are affected by a natural disaster than what else is happening around us. Sometimes, though, in an effort to help out the world around us we decide to focus on things that are in front of us or in our control. During a disaster, not only pets and people are displaced, but so are wildlife. With Hurricane Harvey such a recent example of such an event, it is important to know some things about wildlife before you start trying to save wildlife.
- Healthy baby animals should stay where they are! Baby rabbits, for example, are visited by momma rabbits only twice a day to be fed—and at times of the day during which most people are not around. You may never see a mother rabbit visiting her babies if you’ve found a nest nearby—this does not mean they are orphaned, and if they are healthy they should stay put! If you are unsure if wildlife is sick or injured, call your local animal control or wildlife rehabilitator for more information.
- Animals (especially in Texas) that are high-risk species for rabies should not be handled except by trained animal control officers, trained veterinarians, or wildlife rehabilitators. These species include bats, skunks, coyotes, raccoons, and foxes.
- Do not try to rear or rehab wildlife on your own unless you are a licensed and trained wildlife rehabilitator. In many cases, it is illegal to do so! There are many great resources for finding someone who can care for sick or injured wildlife. In Texas, the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department lists wildlife rehabilitators by county and has extensive lists and contact information for rehabbers in the state!
Overall, it is important that you understand how to handle wildlife before attempting to rescue it. If you are interested in learning more, get in contact with one of your local wildlife rehabilitators and volunteer! There are always great programs in need of extra hands to keep our wild neighbors healthy and thriving.