Wildlife FAQs

Q: I found an animal that needs help, what do I do now?

Do not handle the animal.  Call the Wildlife Center at 330.477.0448 for instructions or follow the voicemail instructions.

Q: How can I get rid of an animal in my attic/under my porch or shed?

Put a radio in the attic or pointed under your porch/shed.  Leave it on a hard rock station (just loud enough to have a constant sound) for three days and three nights. On the fourth day if the animal is gone, close up any holes to deter more unwanted visitors.

Q: What do I do if my cat/dog caught an animal?

Cat saliva is full of bacteria and can be very harmful to wildlife. Dogs can cause unseen internal injuries if they catch an animal in their mouth. Call the center to bring the animal in to get examined.

Q: I found a bat in my house, what do I do?

If the bat was found in a bedroom overnight with a sleeping child or adult, please call your local health department. Otherwise, close off the room that the bat was found in and open a non-screened window at least two inches. It will find its way out after dark. If this is not an option, wait until the bat is motionless to a place box, coffee can, or similar object over the bat. Take a piece of cardboard and slide it between the object and the surface the bat is on containing the bat. Take it outside and lift the container while holding it about five feet off the ground to allow the bat to fly away. Do not release a bat during the day or during cold/bad weather.

Q: Can I keep a wild animal as a pet?

No.  Wild animals are protected by federal and state laws, making it illegal for anyone to possess them without the proper permits.

Q: Can you help with nuisance animals and trapping?

We can offer a variety of tips to help deter nuisance animals.  Remember that if wildlife do not have suitable shelter or a food sources, they will probably not inhabit an area.  Give us a call for safe solutions!

Q: Can I release an animal at Stark Parks?

No.  Animals cannot be released on park property.

Bats
Opossums
Deer
Bats

Bats are nocturnal so any bat that is down during the day will need help. Most encounters will be with adults unless it is late May through July when babies are born. Injuries are usually due to predator attacks such as hawks, owls, and cats.

Although they are considered rabies vectors, rabid bats usually live only a short time after becoming infected. If you discover a bat inside a room where a person has been asleep, capture it and take it to the local health department for testing.

 

Injuries

            A bat will need to be brought to a rehabilitation center if:

  • It has severe visible and/or incapacitating wounds
  • It is not able to move
  • It is not able to fly. Note: Bats are not able to fly off of a horizontal surface. They must be vertical.
  • It is grounded
  • It is extremely lethargic
  • It has been perching in the same spot out in the open for more than 30 minutes
  • It has been caught by a cat or dog

 

Orphaned or not?

            Leave the bat alone if:

  • You find it perching in the woods
  • Baby bats can be re-nested if you are able to find their roosting site. Place the bat as close to the roost as possible. Check back at night fall to make sure the bat re-joined the colony.

 

A bat may need to be brought to a rehabilitation center if:

  • You find a baby bat and are not able to find the roost.
  • You attempt to re-nest the bat and upon checking on it after night fall, it is alone in the same location you left it.

 

If you choose to capture a bat for treatment, protect yourself from bites by using thick gloves and avoid direct contact. Wait until the bat is motionless, then place a Tupperware container over it and slide a piece of paper between the container and the object it is perching on. Once in the container, put on a lid with small holes for air. If you are transporting a baby, add supplemental heat via a warm water bottle or hands warmers covered by a thin towel or paper towel. Be sure to secure the water bottle so it does not roll over the baby during transport.  NEVER attempt to give an animal food- inappropriate food or feedings can severely damage or kill wildlife.

 

Uninvited Guests

            What to Do if You Find a Bat in Your House

  • Leave a window open for it to leave during the night. It will find it!
  • Using thick gloves and avoiding direct contact, contain it by placing a Tupperware container over it and sliding a piece of paper/cardboard between the container and the object it is perching on. Once in the container, put on a lid with small holes for air. Take outdoors and place container on a vertical surface such as a tree and let the bat attach.
  • If you find a bat in a room where someone was sleeping, the bat will need to be taken to your local health department for testing.

 

How to Deter an Unwanted Colony from an Area

  • Make their living environment uncomfortable with noise and light
  • Set a radio near the colony and play it constantly on a hard rock station for three days and three nights. It must be loud enough to be heard throughout the area.
  • Flood lights can be left on constantly for the three days illuminating the area create a light disturbance in addition to the noise
  • Once the colony has relocated, be sure to patch up any holes or possible entryways
Opossums

Injuries

Leave the opossum alone if:

  • It is out during the day but appears to be healthy and otherwise acting normal
  • The opossum has its mouth open wide, is showing all of its teeth, and is drooling excessively- this is simply a defense mechanism and does not mean the animal is rabid. If it otherwise appears to be healthy, leave it alone.

An opossum will need to be brought into a rehabilitation center if:

  • It has severe visible and/or incapacitating wounds
  • It appears disoriented/unstable
  • It is an adult that is unable to flee from you
  • It is extremely lethargic
  • It is covered in flies, maggots, or other parasites
  • It has been caught by a cat or dog

If you choose to capture one for treatment, remember to protect yourself from the opossum’s sharp teeth and claws.

 

Orphaned or not?

Leave the opossum alone if:

  • It is about six inches long (not including the tail) or bigger and appears to be healthy

A baby opossum may need to be brought into a rehabilitation center if:

  • It is furless and without its mother
  • It is found inside the pouch of or crawling on a dead mother
  • It has fur but is smaller than six inches and without its mother
    • Do not disturb the area and keep all pets and children away and give the mother a chance to retrieve it. If the mother does not immediately return, it will need help
  • It appears to be sick, cold, weak, injured, or covered in parasites

Keep the animal in a warm, quiet, dark location where it will be protected until you can bring it to a rehabilitation center.  Young animals should be given a heat source, especially if kept overnight.  Baby opossums should have a source of both heat and humidity- place a warm, wet sponge or cloth in the box as well.  NEVER attempt to give an animal food - inappropriate food or feedings can severely damage or kill wildlife.

 

 

 

Uninvited Guests

How to Deter Visiting Opossums

Opossums usually only come around when there is a readily available food source. 

  • Try to determine if there is something attracting them there and address it
    • Secure or bring in all trash cans at night
    • Pick up any outdoor pet food
  • General deterring tips:
    • Use Critter Ridder (available at TSC or garden supply stores) around perimeter of area where you don’t want the animal to be
    • Place vinegar or ammonia-soaked rags or fox urine (available in hunting supply stores) in the area. These may have to be refreshed several times a day.

How to Evict an Opossum Living under the Shed/Porch/Deck

Opossums are nocturnal- wait until he is out for the night (anytime between midnight and dawn) and seal the entrance.  Secure outbuildings with heavy-duty hardware cloth or poultry wire.  For woodpiles place a vinegar or ammonia-soaked rag near the entrance. 

Deer