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Wildlife Concerns

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We share our municipality with a wide variety of animals that have adapted to our changing rural and urban environment. When food and shelter are plentiful, and natural predators are limited, wildlife often choose to live near us. If we learn to share the environment with wildlife we can reduce problems by getting rid of sources of food, water, and shelter on our properties and we may find that these visitors can entertain us as they make their way to a more suitable home. 

The Municipality does not provide a service to deal with, or remove, nuisance or injured wildlife on private property. Calling Police about non-emergency wildlife issues can take them away from dealing with other important emergencies. On this page you can learn more information about the best way to deal with wildlife issues that may be affecting you or your property.

  • If you are in immediate danger, or if the animal is aggressive and may injure someone, call Police at 911; Protection of public health and safety is a priority.
  • If you have been bitten, or had direct contact with an animal, seek medical attention and report it to Grey Bruce Health Unit at 519-376-9420. Any human contact with an animal with rabies, dead or alive, should be reported to Grey Bruce Health Unit at 519-376-9420 as soon as possible.
  • If your pet or livestock have been bitten, or had direct contact with a wild animal, contact your vet.
  • If you believe your livestock has been killed by a dog or wild animal, please visit our 

    Wildlife Damage Claims page to contact our Animal Control & By-Law Enforcement Officer.

  • If your domestic animal has been in contact with a raccoon, skunk, fox, or bat that you suspect has rabies, contact OMAFRA (Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs) at 1-877-424-1300. Any human contact with an animal with rabies, dead or alive, should be reported to Grey Bruce Health Unit at 519-376-9420 as soon as possible.
  • If a wild animal has been in contact with a raccoon, skunk, fox, or bat that you suspect has rabies, contact the MNR (Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry) at 1-888-574-6656. Any human contact with an animal with rabies, dead or alive, should be reported to Grey Bruce Health Unit at 519-376-9420 as soon as possible.
  • If you wake and find a bat in your bedroom or sleeping area, or if your pet is playing with a bat, Grey Bruce Health Unit at 519-376-9420 as soon as possible.
  • Wildlife issues on private property are the responsibility of the landowner. Landowners can call pest control or animal control companies to remove wildlife from their properties.

Raccoons and Skunks

When we see raccoons and skunks near our homes, especially during the day, we can quickly become concerned. it is not necessary to become overly concerned with wild animals we see out during the day. Here are some tips to understand their behaviour so you can know what to report.

  • Never approach wildlife. Keep children and pets away from all wildlife. 
  • While raccoons and skunks are primarily nocturnal (they are awake at night and sleep during the day) they are often seen out during the day in the spring. During the day babies are usually sleeping and this gives mother raccoons and skunks a chance to look for food. 
  • Raccoons and skunks usually hibernate and sleep for the winter months. If we see them out during the day in the spring they may simply be groggy and disoriented as they wake from hibernation. 
  • When we have warm and mild winters, old or infirm animals are more likely to survive and we may see more unhealthy animals in the spring.
  • Be very careful around any animal that is circling, somersaulting, dragging its back end, or has discharge from its eyes or nose. These symptoms can mean the animal is suffering head trauma from being hit by a car, distemper, or rabies. Rabies can only be positively diagnosed by testing the brain of the animal. 
  • If you are having an ongoing problem with raccoons, skunks, or other wildlife, remove sources of food, water, and shelter on your property. 
  • For more information, or to report a concern, see the contact information above. 

Birds 

  • Baby birds "fledge" the nest and spend time on the ground, the mother bird is usually close by watching and feeding them. If you find a baby bird, place it up in a tree to avoid predators.
  • It is a myth that birds reject their babies if touched by a person. Birds generally have a poor sense of smell.
  • Baby birds, or fledglings, have a downy appearance on their body with some adult looking feathers on their wings.

Rabbits

  • Mother rabbits only nurse their babies once or twice a day, usually at dawn and dusk. Mothers run over to the nest, nurse the babies and then run off. These behaviours help to protect both mother and babies from predators.
  • Rabbit nests are commonly in short grass, like your lawn. Check before you mow.
  • Baby rabbits are independent at approximately 3 weeks of age. If you see baby rabbit hopping around, even if they are very small, they are okay. Let them be.

Turtles

  • When turtles lay their eggs, they return to where they hatched.
  • Turtles carry bacteria. If you handle a turtle, wash your hands
  • Always move a turtle in the direction it is heading, they are heading that way for a reason if you change that path they will just turn around and go back.
  • Snapping turtles are aggressive and are capable of serious injury. If you need to move one use extreme caution, keeping fingers and toes away from its mouth. Snapping turtles have long necks and can reach around to their tails; be careful, they can bite you quickly! Do not pick up a snapping turtle, use a shovel to push it along.