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Archived - Who do you call when you encounter a wild animal?

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April 20, 2018
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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.

baby raccoons

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.


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


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. 


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

  • Department of Fisheries and Oceans: 613-925-2865.
  • Rideau Valley Wildlife Sanctuary
  • Ottawa Carleton Wildlife Centre


If you spot a coyote, contact the Ministry of Natural Resources 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 .

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 .


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