Spring is here and so is the baby wildlife season. The first advice that Animal Control would like to pass on is “Leave it Be” and contact an Animal Control Officer or the Michigan Department of Natural Resources, so a trained professional can decide if the animal does indeed need help.
Unless the baby is in imminent danger, such as cars or predators, observe from a distance. Many times the mother is nearby and is still caring for her baby or the animal is old enough to be on its own.
Many baby animals are harmed in the process of a compassionate citizen trying to rescue them. Taking wildlife into your home is not only illegal but is dangerous and also can bring in diseases or parasites that can affect humans and pets. The State of Michigan has licensed rehabilitators that can handle orphaned and injured wildlife. A list of these rehabilitators can be found at www.michigan.gov/dnr.
This spring, Animal Control will receive hundreds of call about ducks nesting in a yard. This is a common event in the spring. The best thing a citizen can do is leave the duck alone. Animal Control asks citizens to not take pictures, harass, give water and especially feed that duck. The mother duck will take her babies to water once they hatch in about a month’s time.
Another call that Animal Control receives are baby rabbits. Citizens are asked not to handle the baby rabbits. Baby rabbits do very poorly once “recused.” Most of the calls that are received are that the mother is not around. Rabbits are mostly active from dusk to dawn and the mother only feeds the babies twice a day for about five minutes. Keep in mind that Animal Control cannot remove a nest of baby rabbits just because someone wants to cut the grass, hates rabbits, it’s in a bad location or they have pets and kids.
Animal Control also receives daily calls about chirping in the fireplace. This is a sign that there are baby raccoons in the chimney. Animal Control advises citizens to check their chimney caps at least twice a year to help prevent raccoons from making the chimney a den. Also, trim trees from your home to prevent a way for a raccoon to climb onto your roof.
If you do have raccoons in the chimney, don’t worry; the mother and babies will leave after about six weeks. Once the family has moved on, citizens need to have the chimney cleaned and a proper cap placed on the chimney. If the babies fall down into the fireplace, do not try to handle them. Call your Animal Control or a wildlife removal company so they can be safely handled.
Citizens must understand that wildlife do live among us and that we all can live in harmony with a little bit of understanding. If you have any wildlife questions please contact an Animal Control Officer or the Michigan Department of Natural Resources.
This Month’s Animal Control Pet Tip: For those pet owners who have dogs that inhale their food here are some suggestions. One is to place two tennis balls in the food bowl. This should help slow the dog down dramatically.Feed the dog in a muffin pan or an angel food cake pan. Also, stuff a Kong toy or a natural bone with wet food and freeze it. The dog will slow down and enjoy it more.
Becky Eicher and Laura Jensen are animal control officers for Woodhaven and Trenton.