Wildlife in the City: What to Do if You Find a Wild Animal

As cities have grown and expanded over the years, many wild species have learned not only how to survive, but also how to thrive in urban areas. From skunks to coyotes, wildlife can be found in some of the biggest cities in the country.

While this fact may be impressive, it can also be dangerous for people, pets, and even the wild species themselves. That’s why it’s important for pet owners and anyone who cares about animals to develop a better understanding of how to safely respond when you find a wild animal.

Make No Assumptions: Baby Animals

In many cases, when an animal is found, it’s a newborn or very young, like a fledgling bird or fawn. In these situations, well-intentioned rescuers will interfere too soon or without cause, which actually leads to more harm than good.

If you find a baby bird or squirrel:

  • Leave the animal where it is for a few hours. Check in to ensure no other threat emerges, but maintain your distance.
  • If the animal appears injured, contact a wildlife rescue group or animal control.
  • If instructed (and ONLY if you can do so safely), you may find heavy duty gloves and a box with small holes for ventilation to transfer the animal to a rehabilitation facility.

If you find a baby coyote, skunk, possum, fox, fawn, or other mammal:

  • Do not approach, touch, or handle these species. Not only can they carry zoonotic diseases, but handling them can also lead to abandonment by the parent.
  • Contact a wildlife rehabilitator for assistance.

Call in the Experts

Handling or transporting wildlife is best left to those who have been trained and have the correct equipment for the job. Although there are situations in which a quick response is required (such as an injured animal on the roadway), it’s still wise to consult a wildlife rehabilitation specialist, animal control, or a veterinarian first.

Here are some helpful resources in the Beverly Hills, Michigan area:

Keeping Your Pet Safe When You Find a Wild Animal

If you happen across an injured or distressed animal while with your pet, the situation can become even riskier. Many dogs, when not on a leash, will attempt to investigate or harass the animal, which can expose your pet to disease and injury.

To protect your four-legged friend and the wild animal, keep these safety tips in mind:

  • Keep your dog on a leash and by your side.
  • Move a safe distance from the animal and call one of the aforementioned agencies for assistance.
  • Never let a dog chase or bark at wildlife.
  • If your cat is outdoors and you see a wild animal in the yard or neighborhood, bring your cat inside.
  • When you’re able, contact animal control to file a report.

Because many species carry diseases such as rabies as well as parasites that can harm your pet, make sure all vaccines are up-to-date. If you’re uncertain, please contact us for a wellness appointment.

While we all love animals, it’s best to exercise caution when you find an orphaned or injured wild animal. The best course of action for everyone is to contact a qualified organization for assistance.