Sick or Injured Wildlife

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Although Waltham is a city, we are coexisting with wildlife most people do not even realize is out there! It is not until you have an issue with a raccoon in your attic or you see a coyote or fox out running around during the day that you realize they are, in fact, living among us.

Seeing a wild animal out and about during the day is NOT an indication that it is sick. It is very common during the warmer months for wildlife mothers to be out foraging at all hours of the day. Signs that the animal is sick can include appearing overly tame, seizures, circling, staggering, self mutilation, screeching or strange vocalizations, and unprovoked aggression. Call animal control or the police if you encounter an animal exhibiting such behavior. Otherwise, stay away from the animal and let it be, it should move along shortly.

It is also common during the warmer months for people to come across baby birds on the ground and assume they are orphaned. If the baby is uninjured and has feathers, but can not fly yet, it is not orphaned. These birds are called fledglings and spend their time on the ground where the parents bring food to them until they are able to fly. Leave the babies there! Mom and Dad are taking care of them.

The same is true with bunnies. If the eyes are open, the babies are hopping around and about the size of a tennis ball, they are old enough to be on their own and they should be left alone. If you disturb a bunny nest in the ground and the babies are uninjured, put the babies back in the nest and cover them up again. It is a myth that any animal will not go near it's baby if it has human scent on it!

Visit the Mass Wildlife website to learn about dealing with some of the most common types of wildlife you may encounter, from bats to woodchucks and everything in between! They also have a list of wildlife rehabilitators if you find injured or orphaned wildlife that need help, as we do not have the facilities here to deal with wildlife. The Animal Rescue League of Boston is also very helpful when it comes to rescuing injured and orphaned animals, both domestic and wild, and getting them to the proper care. The MSPCA is another great source to help you deal with conflicts with wildlife.