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Wildlife

Living with Wildlife

In Southern Ontario, we are lucky to share our space with a diverse range of animals. These animals are incredibly important to the health and wellness of our environment, and many have learned to live with us in close proximity, thriving in cities and towns. This closeness means we must learn to coexist with our wild neighbors and prevent conflict through education and preemptive measures. Where there are people there is often garbage, compost, bird feeders and cozy nooks and crannies in attics and sheds! By identifying these attractants before they become a problem and effectively eliminating them you can prevent conflict with our wild neighbors! If you ever have any concerns regarding injured wildlife, or feel a wild animal is in distress don’t hesitate to call the Guelph Humane Society.

If you see a wild animal that you feel may be orphaned or in distress, please call the Guelph Humane Society at 519-824-3091. Do not approach the animal or try to handle it. Our staff will be able to assess the situation and walk you through the next steps.

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Racoons

Information

Did you know it is normal to spot a raccoon out during the day? Especially when they have young offspring that they need to feed! Being seen out and about during the day doesn’t mean they require help. However, if you witness abnormal behavior then the raccoon might need help.

For more information about living with raccoons please visit:

Identifying Sick or Injured Racoons

Some abnormal behaviors that can be seen in raccoons are:

  • Pacing or circling
  • Stumbling, weaving or staggering
  • No fear of humans/pets
  • Sleeping in high traffic areas or in the open during the day

If you encounter a raccoon exhibiting any of these behaviors, please call the Guelph Humane Society at 519-824-3091

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Eastern Cottontail Rabbits

Information

Rabbits can have 3-4 litters of babies, called kits, a year! Their nests are shallow indentations in the ground, covered in grasses and tufts of the mother’s fur. They are often out in the open and are common in lawns and gardens.

For more information about living with Eastern Cottontail Rabbits please visit:

What to do if you found a rabbit nest

Rabbits are very sensitive to human smell, it is highly suggested to not move baby rabbits

If you are worried the babies may be abandoned:

  • Using gloves, you can place two strings in an “X” shape over the nest
  • Check back in the morning to see if it has been disturbed
  • Mothers will generally only visit the nest twice a day to feed her young, usually at dawn and dusk
  • If the string has not been moved, please call the Guelph Humane Society at 519-824-3091
  • Any young that still have their eyes closed found outside of the nest require help
  • If your cat or dog has found the nest and disturbed it the babies may require help
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Birds

Information

We are pleased to be involved in the Cats & Birds Campaign! Please visit Cats and Birds for more information!

Every year the Guelph Humane Society gets numerous calls about baby birds found on the ground. Nestlings and hatchlings should never be out of the nest, but for fledglings, it’s normal to be on the ground!

Hatchlings and nestlings are young birds, either featherless or with the downy fluffy feathers, that still rely fully on their parents and cannot fly. Seeing a nestling or hatchling on the ground is not normal. If you can see their nest you can put them back in it. It’s a myth that the mother will smell you on the babies and abandon them! If you can’t see a nest please call the Guelph Humane Society.

Fledglings have feathers and generally hop out of the nest when they get too big to fit in it. They may not be able to fly yet but their parents continue to care for them on the ground and they generally learn to fly in a day or two. Seeing a fledgling hopping around with parent birds nearby is normal.

If you think you have found an orphaned bird, please contact the Guelph Humane Society at 519-824-3091 for further assistance!

For more information about living with birds please visit:

What to do if you find a baby bird

If you have found a baby bird, the first step is to find out if it is a nestling or a fledgling. Here are some clues to help you out:

Nestlings

  • Have little or no feathers
  • If they have feathers, they are fluffy
  • Should still be in the nest

Fledgling

  • Have feathers
  • They can hop and walk around, however may not be able to fly yet
  • The parents are usually watching from afar
  • It is normal to see them out of the nest- no need for intervention

If you see a nestling out of a nest, you can call the Guelph Humane Society at 519-824-3091 for further guidance.

If you see an injured fledgling, you can call the Guelph Humane Society at 519-824-3091 for further guidance.”

For more information on orphaned birds please visit OSPCA

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Ducks & Geese

Information

Ducks and geese have learned to thrive in our neighboring communities. In the Spring and Summer months, they might make their nests in public places. It is important to not disturb or relocate their nests. Under the Migratory Bird Convention Act it is illegal to disturb or move any migratory bird or their eggs.

If these birds or their nests are in immediate danger, please contact the Guelph Humane Society at 519-824-3091.

For more information on living with Ducks and Geese please visit The City of Guelph

What to do if you found an orphaned duckling or gosling

Ducks and geese do not leave their young until they are able to be completely independent- this could be up to a year. Therefore, ducklings and goslings should be with their parents at all times. If you see a duckling or gosling without a parent, please call the Guelph Humane Society at 519-824-3091 as they are likely orphaned.

For more information on orphaned birds please visit OSPCA

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Squirrels

Information

Grey Squirrels are a species that have thrived in cities and neighborhoods as we have provided them with lots of food and nesting sites! Baby squirrels are curious and active and it’s not uncommon for them to get into trouble and fall out of their nests. If you find a baby squirrel alone on the ground, please call the Guelph Humane Society as it may be orphaned, where we can assess and provide further direction.

Identifying Sick or Injured Squirrels

If you see a squirrel exhibiting any of these signs or symptoms, please call the Guelph Humane Society as it may be ill:

  • Staggering or weaving around
  • Missing large portions of its hair with red, scabby skin
  • Running in circles
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Skunks

Information

An encounter with a skunk can be an unpleasant one if you don’t heed their warnings! It is normal to see skunks out, especially around dusk and dawn. If you give them their space skunks are happy to leave you alone!

For more information about living with Skunks please visit:

How to Avoid a Skunk Spray

Skunks can give off warning signs before spraying

  • Stomping their front legs
  • Hissing and mock charging
  • Raising their tail
  • Aiming their hind end towards you

You can look for these warning signs to avoid that lasting smell!

Identifying Sick of Injured Skunks

Skunks may also exhibit abnormal behaviors similar to raccoons

  • Pacing or circling
  • Stumbling, weaving or staggering
  • No fear of humans/pets
  • Sleeping in high traffic areas or in the open during the day
  • If you encounter a skunk exhibiting any of these behaviors, please call the Guelph Humane Society at 519-824-3091
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Coyotes

Information

Coyotes are well adapted to life around humans. It is not uncommon to see them during the morning or evenings. They are curious but generally steer clear of people and dogs, however the  Guelph Humane Society and the City of Guelph are reminding pet owners to keep their pets supervised and on leash to avoid a coyote conflict.

If you spot a sick or injured coyote please call the Guelph Humane Society.

If you spot a coyote that poses a risk to public safety please call the Guelph Police Services at (519) 824-1212

Read more about coyotes in Guelph .

Report a coyote sighting in the City of Guelph

To learn more about Coyotes in our communities visit Coyote Watch Canada

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Wildlife Rehabilitation Centers

Information

The Guelph Humane Society works closely with local rehabilitation centers to help wildlife in our communities! Rehabilitation Centers are required to be licensed through the Ministry of Natural Resources or Canadian Wildlife Service. Individuals or organizations must be licensed as a Wildlife Custodian to have the authority to care for wildlife. Here, the wildlife will receive temporary care with the hopes of rehabilitating the animal back into the wild.

If you find a sick, injured or orphaned wildlife animal you can find an appropriate rehabilitator through Ontario Wildlife Rehabilitation Search or contact the Guelph Humane Society at 519-824-3091.

Rehabilitation Centers

Some common rehabilitation centers in our area include:

Toronto Wildlife Center
Toronto, ON
Animals: Bats, Coyotes, Foxes, Groundhogs, Possums, Rabbits, Racoon, Reptiles, Skunks, Songbirds, Squirrels, Turtles, Waterbirds

Hobbitstee Wildlife Refuge
Jarvis, ON
Animals: Rabies vector species, Herptiles, Small Mammals, Small Carnivores, Hoofed Animals, Semi-Aquatic Mammals, Birds.

SOAR (Songbird Only Avian Rehabilitation)
Rockwood, ON
Phone: 519-856-4510
Animals: Songbirds only

Stormhaven Garden Wildlife Rehabilitation
Guelph, ON
Phone: 519-400-3108
Animals: Small Mammals

Wildlife Haven
Waterloo, ON
Animals: Birds, Groundhogs, Porcupines, Possums, Songbirds, Squirrels, Turtles, Waterbirds, Weasels

Wayward Paws Wildlife Rehabilitation Centre
Ingersoll, ON
Phone: 519-485-1976
Animals: Birds, Mammals, Reptiles

Kawartha Turtle Trauma Centre
Peterborough, ON
Animals: Turtles

Procyon Wildlife
Beeton, ON
Animals: Coyotes, Deer, Foxes, Groundhogs, Porcupines, Possums, Rabbits, Racoons, Reptiles, Skunks, Squirrels, Weasels

For more information about living with wildlife please visit the following:

 

If you have a concern about healthy wildlife living on your property, please visit the following: