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Contacts for Wild Life issues

Contacts for Wild Life issues

If you have found a wild animal that appears sick, injured or orphaned, it may or may not need your help. In many cases you can call 3-1-1 for help or information on what to do.

You can also call 3-1-1 to report a stray domestic animal, such as a dog or cat.

Here is a list of who to call depending on the type of wild animal you are encountering.

Small animals

  • Bat
  • Beaver
  • Fox
  • Groundhog
  • Rabbit
  • Raccoon
  • Skunk
  • Squirrel

Please call 3-1-1 if you find a small wild animal:

  • that looks dehydrated, or emaciated and is weak and not moving
  • that is bleeding, has open wounds or broken bones and is limping significantly
  • that has significant discharge from the eyes, nose or mouth (green or yellow)
  • that has not moved its position in over 24 hours
  • that is showing neurological symptoms such as seizures, head tilting, losing balance, walking in circles, disorientation
  • that is stumbling around with something over its head
  • that is caught in a leg-hold trap or a snare

Also, call 3-1-1 if you find a young wild animal that you believe may be orphaned because:

  • it is sitting or lying near dead adults or siblings
  • you have not seen an adult in over 24 hours
  • it appears friendly, is vocalizing, and/or following people or pets
  • it is by itself, has little or no fur, its eyes are closed, and/or it is cold

Call 3-1-1, if you find a bat:

  • outside in the winter between mid-November to late March
  • outside that is not flying in the summer
  • indoors in an area where a human or domestic pet has been sleeping

Remember never to feed an injured or orphaned animal. It could cause its death. All wild animals are unpredictable. It is strongly advised to exercise caution and good judgment when encountering any wildlife.

Do not call 3-1-1 if you encounter:

  • a sick or injured bird
  • a large animal (moose, deer, bear)
  • nuisance wildlife on your property such as squirrels in the eavestrough or attic, or raccoons in trash cans. Nuisance wildlife issues are the responsibility of the property owner to address.

Birds

Contact the Ottawa Valley Wild Bird Care Centre at 613-828-2849 or visit their website if you have wild bird issues such as:

  • a sick or injured bird
  • birds in your soffit
  • birds in your vents
  • birds in your chimney
  • birds on your balcony

Wild turkeys are generally not aggressive, but residents are reminded that all wild animals are unpredictable by nature.

Other animals and other issues

You can contact the Rideau Valley Wildlife Sanctuary or the Ottawa Carleton Wildlife Centre for information on many wildlife issues such as:

  • skunks or groundhogs under your shed, garage or steps
  • raccoons or squirrels in your attic
  • raccoons getting into your garbage or stuck in a dumpster
  • skunks stuck in your window well
  • your dog has been sprayed by a skunk
  • animals digging in your lawn or eating your garden
  • squirrels or other small wild animals caught/stuck inside your house
  • wild animals nesting in your chimney
  • trapping a skunk in a live trap instead of the animal you were trying to catch
  • small rodents such as mice, rats and moles
  • tree removal that could disturb a nest of raccoons or squirrels

Large animals

Bear

Contact the Ministry of Natural Resources Bear Reporting Line at 1-866-514-2327. If the bear is an immediate threat to public safety, contact the Ottawa Police Services at 613-236-1222.

Beaver

It is the property owner’s responsibility to deal with beaver problems humanely and legally, in view of drainage and other considerations. Contact:

Coyote

If you have specific concerns about a coyote in your neighbourhood (i.e., an aggressive, sick or injured coyote) contact the Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry at 613-258-8204 for information and tracking purposes. If the coyote is an immediate threat to public safety, contact Ottawa Police Services at 613-236-1222.

For more information on coyotes:

Wildlife Speaker Series: Living with Coyotes

Ontario Government: preventing and managing conflicts with coyotes, wolves and foxes.

Deer or moose

If you find a moose or an adult deer in an urban area and you believe it is unable to escape on its own, or if the animal is posing a life-threatening situation to itself or others, instead, contact Ottawa Police Services at 613-236-1222 .

Coyotes

Coyotes are remarkably adaptable and resourceful animals. They help to maintain the natural balance in landscapes where traditional predators no longer exist. Urban coyotes in particular provide a valuable service to us by helping to control populations of animals that might otherwise become problematic, such as rats and Canada geese. With greater understanding and mutual respect, we can coexist with coyotes.

Conflicts between coyotes and humans often revolve around food. Never feed coyotes! This can cause coyotes to lose their natural fear of humans (a process known as “habituation”), increasing the chance of conflict.

Aggression by coyotes towards humans is extremely rare and almost always involves habituated animals. It is not normal behaviour.

If a coyote approaches you:

  • stand tall, wave your arms and shout at it
  • do not make direct eye contact, which can be perceived as a threat
  • pick up small children (or small pets) to make them appear less vulnerable
  • do not turn your back or run – just like dogs, coyotes may chase you if you run
  • back away slowly while continuing to shout, wave.

Teach your children to react the same way, and to let you know immediately if they have seen a coyote (keep in mind that small children may not be able to tell the difference between a wild coyote and a neighbourhood dog).

Dealing with coyotes near your home

If you see coyotes near your home, make sure they have no reason to hang around:

  • keep pets inside or closely supervised, take down any bird feeders, secure your trash and other attractants (e.g. barbeque)
  • let the coyotes know that they’re unwelcome by shouting and waving your arms at them, clanging pots or pans, playing loud music or (if they’re close enough) and spraying them with water from a hose
  • homemade rattles made out of empty pop cans and pebbles may also be effective when shaken or tossed towards (not directly at) the coyote
  • let your neighbours know what’s going on, so that they can take similar steps
  • carry a flashlight when walking at night and avoid wooded areas, especially when there have been coyote sightings.

Coyotes and domestic animals

Coyotes are naturally aggressive towards dogs, which they typically consider either as prey or as competitors. Dogs that are smaller than coyotes are usually seen as prey, and may be attacked at any time of year. Larger dogs are mostly at risk during the coyotes’ breeding season (January-April) due to increased territorialism in defence of mates and pups. Keep dogs on leash when walking them near parks or natural areas, and supervise them closely when letting them out at night.

Who should I call when I see a coyote?

Aggressive behaviour by a coyote towards a human should be reported immediately to the Ottawa Police Service by calling 9-1-1.

If you have been bitten or scratched by a coyote, please call Ottawa Public Health, (or 3-1-1 after hours) to speak with a Public Health Inspector.

All other coyote sightings should be reported to 3-1-1, so the City can track the locations of the animals.

For more information, consult the following links: