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Nuisance and orphaned wildlife: what to do?

Posted on Friday, June 29, 2018 at 6:48 am

Courtesy Norm Steelman

Nuisance wildlife, whether it is raccoons, skunks, foxes, or any other type of animal will sometimes find its way into our backyards, garages, trash cans or even attics.  In the spring, this is common with wildlife looking for a place to raise young.    Usually, after the spring, summer sends wildlife away from the town areas somewhat, but areas still harbor wildlife within the city limits and they can become problematic at times.  During the summer months, animals have had their young and are usually looking for food, shelter, and water.  

We will start with the food.  Commonly on a person’s property, food for an

They are not future pets. Photo courtesy Missouri Department of Conservation.

They are not future pets. Photo courtesy Missouri Department of Conservation.

animal will come in the way of trash and bird seed.  Make sure you have a good locking type lid trash can and if you have bird seed, keep it picked up and take it in at night, or you might even have to take it in for a bit during the problem.   Rodents, such as mice, and other small animals can be food for animals as well, so make sure to rid your property of those as well if you find yourself having a problem with nuisance critters.

On shelter, look for anything an animal might be able to nest or den in.  Unfortunately, it might be on a property that little can be done about, if you do not own the property.  If you down the property, you can remove items that clutter the area.  If you see a snake in your yard, mowing the yard is a first fix, then spreading moth balls can also help.  Moth balls, cayenne pepper, and urine have all been used to some effect as an animal repellant.  

And finally, water.  All living creatures need water to live.  Do not leave standing water around your property.  This will also help your mosquito population around the area.  If the animal does not have these items, commonly they will move on, if not they may move on with some encouragement such as the clanging of pots and pans.  Wildlife are not always nocturnal can commonly be seen during the daylight hours.  During the summer months, several different diseases can be seen in wildlife, but are not transferable to humans.  Mange, distemper, and general malnutrition can be seen in wildlife.  If you believe wildlife may have distemper or mange, please keep pets away from them.  If they are acting odd you may call your local Conservation Agent, but do so within reason.  

As well as nuisance wildlife a person may come into contact with orphaned wildlife.  Please leave such wildlife alone and do not take it in to raise it.  Wildlife, depending on the type, will commonly leave its young in places where it believes is hidden from predators and other hazards such as people.  When the young are spotted, it will usually not run and hide, but try to hide in plain sight.  The adult will not try to make its self-known either and maybe watching.  So, prior to picking something up, think about the mother possibly watching and not doing anything.  If you are sure the animal is an orphan, wildlife has a natural fear of humans and when taken in as young can lose that fear of humans.  The phrase crazier than a pet raccoon is around for a reason; usually the animal will grow up and not be cute and cuddly any longer.  Please do not take wildlife and treat them as pets, such as letting your children pet them and hold them.  Leave them in the wild where they belong.

Along with that, licensed physician, ophthalmologist, or optometrist must be carried on person. 

 Along with fishing, a hunting season came back into season.  Squirrel season came back on May 26th.  The limit is 10 squirrels.  Early mornings are great to hunt, prior to the heat of summer taking hold.  If you harvest some, they make a great stew, or can be fried.  They are tasty either way.   

If you have any wildlife related questions or information, please call me, Norman Steelman Audrain County Conservation Agent at 573-473-8000.  You may also call the Operation Game Thief Hotline at 1-800-392-1111 if you have information regarding a violation of the Missouri Wildlife Code.  You may remain anonymous, and you may ask to be considered for a reward if you wish.