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Wildlife Capture Guide

Updated: May 8, 2023

Do not take unnecessary risks!

ALWAYS use caution with wild animals, especially Rabies Vector Species such as skunk, fox, raccoon and bats. Never touch a wild animal with your bare hands.

Remember to prioritize your safety and well-being above all else. Contact an Authorized Wildlife Custodian for advice, as they can provide species-specific tips and guide you through challenging situations. If you do get bitten or scratched, seek medical advice from your family doctor immediately.

Wild animals, even when immature or incapacitated, can be dangerous when scared or stressed, trying to defend themselves or escape. Do not attempt to pick up a wild animal, even a small mammal such as a squirrel, chipmunk, or groundhog with your hands — even if you're wearing gloves. Instead, use an indirect method to contain them, which is the safest approach.


How to safely contain a wild animal

  1. Prepare a container, a plastic tub, laundry basket or cardboard box can be suitable provided there is adequate security AND ventilation​​

  2. Always wear gloves to protect yourself and the animal.

  3. Cover the animal’s head and body with a towel or sheet*. This will help calm the animal and make handling them easier.

  4. Gently place the animal in the prepared container. Scoop them up with the blanket or use a shovel, cardboard or plastic lid.

  5. Secure the container to ensure the animal cannot escape. Make sure they can breath. Remove the blanket or towel if possible to prevent suffocation or entanglement.

  6. Do not offer the animal anything to eat or drink!

  7. Record your exact location GPS coordinates or closest intersection. Animals must be released back the rescue site.

  8. Wash your hands thoroughly.

  9. Contact KWC or your nearest wildlife centre for further instruction

  10. Feel good about helping Ontarios wildlife!

Important Notes

*Porcupines have over 30,000 barbed quills covering most of their body. While they can’t ‘shoot them’ they will get caught on towels and blankets and it is quite painful when they are pulled out. Never use linens, towels or blankets with an injured porcupine. Place the container on its side and use the lid, a shovel, tree branch, or other implement to nudge it in. Remember — don’t use your hands! Birds of Prey like Owls, Hawks or Falcons have very sharp talons and powerful legs and feet that act as their main weapons and defence. Some may drop on their backs in order to stick their feet in the air when threatened. Be very cautious to avoid the feet and ideally use thick leather gloves. Water Birds like Herons, Loons and Grebes have very sharp and dexterous beaks used for spearing fish, amphibians and small mammals. They will use their beaks to defend themselves and often aim for the eyes. Wear protective glasses or goggles and secure the beak and head promptly.



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