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Wildlife help topics

Wildlife

What do wildfires mean for wildlife? Just like people, wildfires also impact wildlife. Wild animals have developed strategies to fly, run or bury themselves to escape from fires, but the change in habitat and food resources will have a lasting impact for generations. During wildfire season, or in times of severe drought, you can help wild animals:

  • Prevent forest fires – learn more about how you can prevent forest fires.
  • Don’t feed the animals – feeding wildlife does more harm than good, and can create dependence on humans. Wild animals can find food on their own, even in severe conditions.
  • Report injured wildlife – if you find an injured animal or suspect they need help, call our Provincial Call Centre at 1-855-622-7722.

Learn more about how you can help pets and other animals during wildfire evacuations.

Wolf walking among cut trees
Photo by Robyn Skobalski
Category: Wildlife

Seeing a bear from a safe distance can be a thrilling experience, but what do you do in a surprise encounter with a bear?

Bears are omnivores that eat mostly berries and fish. Their habitats often overlap with ours in places like parks, resorts, hiking trails, or simply our backyards. Bear attacks are very rare – most of the time, they are happy to go unseen by people and will move along on their own. They can lose their healthy fear of people if we’re not careful with our food and garbage, or they may feel threatened if people come too close to their babies.

If you run into a bear in the wild or in the city, remember to:

  1. Make yourself look big – stand tall, raise your arms and spread your legs
  2. Don’t make eye contact with the bear – they may see this as a threat or a challenge
  3. Make loud noises – yell, clap your hands, use a bear bell, or bang things together
  4. Back away slowly – don’t run, keep backing away until the bear is out of sight

Mother bears are protective of their young, so do not approach a baby bear, as mom will be watching from close by. Never try to out-run a bear or climb trees to escape.

Read more about living with bears in B.C.

Black bears vs. grizzly bears

B.C. is home to two kinds of bears – black bears and grizzly bears. Despite their name, black bears can be black, brown, silver, cinnamon or even white (called “Kermode” or “spirit” bears). They are adept tree climbers with large ears, short claws, a long nose, and don’t have a shoulder hump like grizzly bears. Black bears are the most common type of bear near B.C.’s largest cities.

Black bear with two cubs. Photo credit: Liron Gertsman

Grizzly bears are sometimes called brown bears, but they can also be black, brown, or blond. They have relatively small ears, long claws, a dish-shaped face, and have a distinct shoulder hump. Grizzly bears generally live in rural and remote areas of B.C. and thrive in undisturbed habitats.

Wild grizzly bear family mother with cubs walking along the water near a forest
Grizzly bear with three cubs. Photo credit: Cailey Hesse
Category: Wildlife

Cougars are found throughout much of B.C. and are also known as mountain lions or pumas. Cougars are generally very secretive and rarely seen. However, cougars may occasionally pass through urban settings, or when young cougars leave their parents, they start looking for their own sources of food and places to live.

Sometimes they end up in urban areas, parks or hiking trails. Although they are skilled predators, cougar attacks are rare. However, if you see a cougar in the wild or in the city, stay calm and follow these steps:

  1. Make yourself look big – stand tall, raise your arms and spread your legs
  2. Maintain eye contact and don’t turn your head – stay focused on the cougar
  3. Make loud noises – yell, clap your hands, use a bear bell, or bang things together
  4. Don’t leave until the cougar leaves – be sure the cougar has moved on before you leave

If you have small children or a dog, pick them up or keep them close in front of you. This may feel counter intuitive, but this way you can maintain control and face the cougar. A child or dog behind you may try to run away or divert your attention from the cougar. Act like you are bigger and stronger than the cougar so it will see you as a threat.

Photo credit: Gary Schroyen

Category: Wildlife

Feeding birds in the winter doesn’t appear to disrupt migration, but it does carry some risks. Feed birds only in harsh winter conditions, and follow these tips:

  1. Avoid window strikes – set up feeders far from windows and use window decals.
  2. Keep cats inside – collar bells will not stop cats from killing birds.
  3. Don’t feed other animals – bird seed can attract animals like mice, rats, squirrels, raccoons, deer or bears. Clean up spilled seed and make your bird feeder inaccessible to other animals.
  4. Prevent disease – clean up spills and clean feeders regularly using a 9:1 bleach solution.

Feeding hummingbirds also has special considerations – read more about hummingbird feeders and how to make hummingbird nectar.

Close up shot of pileated woodpecker eating
Photo credit: Harold Vos
Category: Wildlife

Nectar feeders provide a food source for hummingbirds in winter, but they must be cleaned regularly to prevent fungal or bacterial growth.

rufous hummingbird sitting on feeder
Photo credit: Markus Hansen

Feeders often attract unusually large numbers of hummingbirds to one area – this can be a joy to watch, but also means any fungus or bacteria in the feeder will affect many birds. These infections can cause their tongues to swell and often result in death, a sad outcome for birds and bird lovers.

If you commit to winter feeding, you must commit fully. Non-migratory hummingbirds may come to rely on this food source and will suffer if it is interrupted. Don’t put hummingbird feeders out if you’re not prepared to clean and maintain them.

Clean feeders with a solution of one part white vinegar to four parts water about once a week. Change the nectar solution every few days, ensure it never freezes, and can be provided through the whole winter. Have a friend or neighbour check your feeder if you’re away. In harsh temperatures, you may need to bring your feeder in at night and defrost it if necessary.

To make nectar:

  • boil water for two minutes
  • mix one part white sugar to four parts water
  • allow mixture to cool before filling feeder
  • never use honey, sweeteners, molasses, brown or raw sugar
  • don’t add red food colouring or other products

While there are many different recipes available online, this is the only one we can recommend, and use at our own Wild Animal Rehabilitation Centre. White sugar is closest to the sugars they find in nature, other types of sugars or recipes could make them sick and die.

Read more about feeding birds and other wildlife (PDF).

Use a bright red feeder instead of food colouring. Photo credit: Michael Hammond

 

 

Category: Wildlife

If you, your dog or other pets have been sprayed by a skunk, combine:

  • 1 litre of 3% hydrogen peroxide
  • 60 mL (1/4 cup) baking soda
  • 5 mL (1 tsp) liquid laundry or dish soap

Clean the affected areas with this solution. Avoid using the solution in pets’ eyes. Rinse with water and repeat if necessary.

Any company can call themselves “humane” – but like many food-labelling claims, it doesn’t mean they are using animal-friendly methods. To help make your choice easy, the BC SPCA developed AnimalKind.

AnimalKind is the first-ever animal welfare accreditation for pest control companies. AnimalKind companies meet the BC SPCA’s science-based standards (PDF) and have to pass an audit before they are accredited.

Call an AnimalKind company to help you with rodents and other wildlife in your home.

If AnimalKind companies are not yet available in your area, make sure to ask the following questions before hiring a company:

  • “Do you trap and relocate wildlife?” A good wildlife control company prioritizes prevention and exclusion and only releases wildlife in their home range when exclusion techniques are not possible. In baby season, good companies will ensure all young are reunited with mom. Animals that are live trapped and removed from an interior space will be released within their home range.
  • “Do you use non-lethal techniques?” A good wildlife control company will control most wildlife non-lethally. However rodents such as mice and rats can cause significant health and safety issues and may need to be killed if prevention and exclusion techniques are limited, have been ineffective, or if the rodent population is a health and safety concern.
  • “If you kill rodents, what techniques do you use?” Never hire a company that uses glue traps or multi-catch traps that do not open for homes or offices. Glue traps cause significant suffering and often catch non-target animals. Multi-catch traps like the “ketch-all” do not open and there is no way to humanely kill the animals caught inside.
  • “What’s in the box?” Bait stations can hold snap traps, glue traps, or poisons or simply trap rodents inside without food or water, resulting in a slow death. Know what’s inside.

Find out when AnimalKind is available in your area

Category: Wildlife

Wild animals are easily stressed and may attack if you try to contain them. Even injured animals will try to bite or scratch.

Call our Provincial Call Centre at 1-855-622-7722 for advice on handling injured wildlife or finding a wildlife rehabilitator.

Read more about rescuing wild animals.

Category: Wildlife

A baby bird may be blown out of a nest by wind or rain, or even dropped after a failed predatory attack. If the bird isn’t hurt, you can place it back in the nest. Unlike mammals, birds have a poor sense of smell and will not reject babies touched by people.

Watch the nest for one to two hours to confirm the parents are coming back to feed the baby. If the parents don’t return, or the baby bird is hurt, call our Provincial Call Centre at 1-855-622-7722 for advice. Sometimes parents will reject baby birds if there is something wrong with them, or they are too weak.

In the spring and summer, you may see healthy-looking birds on the ground that can’t fly. These young birds are called fledglings. Birds at this age are just learning how to fly.

The parent birds are usually close by for protection, but will not feed the fledglings as often. This makes the young birds hungry so they hop out of the nest to explore.

Try to keep the area safe while these birds learn how to fly. Keep cats and dogs inside or on leash, and leave the area undisturbed.

If the birds are in an unsafe area, like a road or parking lot, call our Provincial Call Centre for advice at 1-855-622-7722. Read our care sheet found a baby bird (PDF) and find out more about what to do if you find a baby bird.

Read more about rescuing wild animals.

baby bird infographic

Gulls

Gulls often nest on the flat roofs of commercial or apartment buildings. Most times, the young gulls will fly off with their parents when they are ready. As the young gulls are learning to fly, sometimes they jump or tumble from the roof before they are able to fly well. When this happens, they often land in an unsafe location and are unable to fly to safety.

If a young gull is stuck in an area without food for more than a day, and you do not see adult gulls coming down to bring food to the baby, it might need to be rescued. In this case, call our Provincial Call Centre for advice at 1-855-622-7722.

Read more about rescuing wild animals.

Wild gull on beach with sea star in mouth

Category: Wildlife

A mother seal will leave her pup on a beach or rocks near the water while she hunts for food. A seal pup alone is not always an orphan. Healthy seal pups look plump with no skin rolls, and seem alert and aware.

Keep dogs on leash and away from the seal pup. Also, discourage people from approaching – although baby seals are very cute, this is very stressful for them as we appear as predators.

If the seal pup is injured, looks skinny or lethargic and sleepy, call our Provincial Call Centre for advice at 1-855-622-7722.

Find out more about what to do if you see a baby seal or download our brochure “What to do if you find a baby seal” (PDF). Read more about rescuing wild animals.

baby seal infographic

Category: Wildlife

If you have found a baby wild animal, call our Provincial Call Centre at 1-855-622-7722 for advice. They can advise you on how to return the baby safely, or how to tell when they need help.

You can also read more about what to do if you have…

Whether it’s a baby bird, squirrel, deer, seal, raccoon or skunk, a baby animal’s best chance for survival is with its mother. Finding a baby animal doesn’t always mean they’re in trouble – many times, you won’t need to do anything at all.

But if the baby is hurt or sick, or the mother is dead, they can help you find a wildlife rehabilitator right away. If it is after hours, please call your local wildlife rehabilitation centre.

Can I touch a baby animal?

Mammals have a keen sense of smell, and may be alarmed or even reject babies that have been handled by people. Birds have a poor sense of smell, and will not reject babies touched by people. This means you may be able to place baby birds back in their nest.

Before handling any animals, call our Provincial Call Centre at 1-855-622-7722 for advice on how to reunite baby animals with their mothers.

Should I feed a baby animal?

Never attempt to feed a baby animal, this usually does more harm than good.  Wild animals require professional care, and it is illegal for you to keep and care for a wild animal.

Read more about rescuing wild animals.

Want to receive more stories like this, right in your inbox? Subscribe to WildSense, our bi-monthly wildlife newsletter.

Category: Wildlife

Place the bird in a box large enough for it to extend its wings. Put the closed box in a safe, quiet and dark place. Do not give the bird food or water. Even if it becomes more active, do not let the bird go once you have contained it. Birds often have internal injuries after hitting a window, and will need help. Call our Provincial Call Centre at 1-855-622-7722 for further advice or to find a wildlife rehabilitator.

Visit our store to purchase window alert bird saver decals and find out more about how you can help strike out at bird-window collisions.

Read more about rescuing wild animals.

Wild purple hummingbird flying towards purple flowers
Photo credit: Alice Sun
Category: Wildlife

If you have found an injured deer fawn, call our Provincial Call Centre at 1-855-622-7722. They will help you assess the animal and find a wildlife rehabilitator.

Unfortunately, wildlife rehabilitators can’t often help injured adult deer, as they are too high-stress to keep in a captive setting. Even when injured, they can be very dangerous because of their size and strength. If you can approach an injured adult deer and they don’t run away, they are likely too badly injured to survive.

Call your local RCMP or Conservation Officer Service to humanely euthanize an injured adult deer.

Read more about rescuing wild animals.

Photo by Tania Simpson
Category: Wildlife

Every year, wildlife rehabilitators care for healthy fawns that were thought to be orphaned. It is normal for a mother deer to leave a fawn alone for periods of time. They come back only a few times a day to feed the baby, who waits quietly while hiding from predators.

If you find a fawn lying quietly, and you are worried it has been abandoned, don’t disturb it. Check on it from a distance for the next 24 hours – the mother will likely return and move the baby to a new spot.

If the fawn has not moved after 24 hours, starts to cry, is wandering aimlessly, or looks injured, contact a wildlife rehabilitator right away.

If the fawn is in an unsafe location, move it gently to a safe spot very close by so it won’t get hurt.

Print our card on what to do if you find a deer fawn (PDF).

Read more about rescuing wild animals.

deer fawn lying down on ground
This deer fawn doesn’t need help – he’s hiding quietly until mom comes back.

 

Category: Wildlife

Yes, some school programs will give you credit for volunteering with the BC SPCA.

Practicums at Wild ARC are available for university and professional training credits.

Practicums at the Vancouver Branch are also available to university students if registered through the University of British Columbia.

High-school work experience may also be available at your local BC SPCA branch. Contact them directly for details.

Veterinary and registered animal health technologist externships may also be available at certain BC SPCA Hospitals and Clinics. Contact them directly for details.

Cats have bacteria in their mouths that can kill a bird if it is not treated with specialized antibiotics. Even if the bird doesn’t look injured, a small scratch or puncture can kill them. Do not try to treat the bird yourself. Call the BC SPCA Provincial Call Centre at 1-855-622-7722 for advice on bringing the bird to a wildlife rehabilitator.

Read our print out card about preventing problems between pets and wildlife (PDF).

Read more about rescuing wild animals.

Wild northern flicker bird flying away from berry branch
Photo credit: Tania Simpson
Category: Wildlife

Don’t try to take care of injured or orphaned wildlife yourself – it is illegal and can cause harm. Call the BC SPCA Provincial Call Centre at 1-855-622-7722 (1-855-6BC-SPCA) for advice on wildlife situations and to find a local wildlife rehabilitator.

Except for Wild ARC, BC SPCA branches do not rehabilitate wildlife. A local veterinarian may be able to help euthanize a suffering animal, but they do not have the permits or facilities to provide full rehabilitation services. Call your local RCMP or Conservation Officer Service if you see adult deer/elk/moose/bears injured on roads.

Read more about how to rescue wild animals.

Category: Wildlife

The best solution for urban wildlife is to prevent a problem before it starts. Make sure you’re not accidentally giving them food (like pet food, bird seed, fruit trees, fish ponds) or shelter. Make sure your garbage and compost is in wildlife-proof containers. Seal gaps or holes in sheds, crawl spaces, attics and porches before they become a comfy den.

If the animal has already moved in, encourage them to move along using mild deterrent techniques. You may also need professional help to evict them safely and humanely – call an AnimalKind company to help you with wildlife in your home.

Any company can call themselves “humane”, but AnimalKind companies follow the BC SPCA’s standards (PDF) and have to pass an audit to become accredited.

For species-specific information, read our documents for best practices on wildlife control.

Photo by Liron Gertsman

Find out when AnimalKind is available in your area

Category: Wildlife

Even small oil spills can harm wildlife. Report all oil spills to the provincial government at 1-800-663-3456. If you do not see a clean-up response within 24 to 48 hours, call again – the frequency of calls increases the likelihood of response.

Don’t try to wash an oiled wild animal yourself, always call a professional wildlife rehabilitator. Call our Provincial Call Centre at 1-855-622-7722 for advice or to find a rehabilitator.

For more information, visit our page on oiled wildlife spill response.

Category: Wildlife

The BC SPCA can’t stop a cull happening in your community, unless the methods are inhumane under the law. If you witness an animal in distress during a cull, call our Provincial Call Centre at 1-855-622-7722. Document evidence by taking videos or photographs, but do not trespass on private property.

The BC SPCA is opposed to culling animals when there is no evidence to support it, or it can’t be done humanely. International and BC SPCA experts agree there are many steps that must first be taken to justify ethical wildlife control.

Deer culls

The BC SPCA recommends using non-lethal strategies to solve human-deer conflict. Communities should aim to prevent conflict by educating residents about co-existing with urban deer. Culling is only a temporary solution and should not be a default practice.

Read our position statement on urban deer.

Download our urban deer pamphlet (PDF).

Wild deer on dried grass buck and young deer looking at each other
Photo credit: Karen Guy

Wolf culls

Wolf culls in B.C. and Alberta have drawn significant criticism. Experts criticize the inhumane methods and lack of evidence that killing wolves will save caribou or other species. Culling can break up wolf pack structures and create an imbalance with other species in the area. Even with skilled shooters, shooting wolves from helicopters can cause stress and death may not be quick and painless.

Read our position statement on predator control.

Photo by Grayson Pettigrew

Wild animals sometimes get into trouble when they start looking for food and shelter in our homes. The best solution is to prevent the problem before it starts. Make sure you’re not accidentally giving them food (like pet food, bird seed, fruit trees, fish ponds) or shelter. Make sure your garbage and compost is in wildlife-proof containers. Seal gaps or holes in sheds, crawl spaces, attics and porches before they become a comfy den.

If the animal has already moved in, encourage them to move along using mild deterrent techniques. You may also need professional help to evict them safely and humanely – call an AnimalKind company to help you with wildlife in your home.

Any company can call themselves “humane”, but AnimalKind companies follow the BC SPCA’s standards (PDF) and have to pass an audit to become accredited.

For species-specific information, read our documents for best practices on wildlife control.

Wild red squirrel eating red berry on a tree branch
Photo credit: Tania Simpson

Find out when AnimalKind is available in your area

Category: Wildlife

Coyote sightings in the city are normal, even during the day. You can help prevent conflicts by respecting their space and being a responsible pet guardian. Feeding coyotes causes them to lose their healthy fear of people – keep your garbage secure and don’t leave food outdoors.

If you see a coyote, scare it away by yelling, stamping your feet and waving your arms. Make lots of noise and try to look big. This may feel silly, but will help the coyote avoid problems in the future.

If pets can’t be kept indoors, make sure they come in at night to keep them safe.

Report a coyote sighting in Metro Vancouver or read more about co-existing with coyotes. Call the Conservation Officer Service at 1-800-663-9453 to report an aggressive or threatening coyote.

Photo by Peter Murphy
Category: Wildlife

If you have an old fur coat, consider giving it a ‘second life’ by donating it to a wildlife rehabilitation centre like BC SPCA Wild ARC. These organizations will use them as bedding to provide warmth and comfort to the orphaned wild babies in their care. The fur can remind them of their mother, and helps to reduce their stress – a positive way to use these garments without encouraging their use in the fashion industry.

Category: Wildlife

Crows and ravens can be hard to tell apart, especially from far away. Crows are smaller than ravens – they have a wingspan of about 92 cm, compared to a raven’s 117 cm.

Northwestern Crow perched on branch
Northwestern Crow

Crows
Smaller, straight beak
Fan-shaped tail
Characteristic “caw”
~92 cm wingspan

 

 

Young Common Raven
Young Common Raven

Ravens
Large, thick, rounded beak
Diamond-shaped tail
Deeper “croak”
~117 cm wingspan

Category: Wildlife

When wild animals get into our yards and our homes, we sometimes call them “pests”. Rodents are the most common cause for pest control in our houses, but sometimes animals like raccoons, deer, rabbits and pigeons get into trouble too. Even “pests” deserve to be treated humanely.

The best solution is to prevent the problem before it starts. Make sure you’re not accidentally giving them food (like pet food, bird seed, fruit trees, fish ponds) or shelter. Make sure your garbage and compost is in wildlife-proof containers. Seal gaps or holes in sheds, crawl spaces, attics and porches before they become a comfy nest or den.

Wildlife removal

Trapping and relocating wildlife is not a permanent or humane solution. Trapping in the wrong season can also orphan babies. If you have to remove an animal, call an AnimalKind company that gently removes them instead of trapping/relocating or killing.

If there are no AnimalKind companies in your area, find out how to choose a good pest control company.

Learn more about urban wildlife.

Photo by Liron Gertsman

Glueboards

Glueboards or glue traps are plastic or metal trays coated with glue designed to catch rodents. These traps are legal and can be found in stores, but they cause rodents and other animals to suffer tremendously. Birds, small wildlife and even pets can get caught in this sticky situation. Never use glueboards!

Lola the kitten was found stuck to a glue board in West Kelowna and, luckily, was saved. Photos courtesy of Rose Valley Veterinary Hospital.
Photos courtesy of Rose Valley Veterinary Hospital.
Lola the kitten was found stuck to a glue board in West Kelowna and, luckily, was saved. Photos courtesy of Rose Valley Veterinary Hospital.
Photos courtesy of Rose Valley Veterinary Hospital.
Lola the kitten was found stuck to a glue board in West Kelowna and, luckily, was saved. Photos courtesy of Rose Valley Veterinary Hospital.
Photos courtesy of Rose Valley Veterinary Hospital.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Rodent poisons and snap traps

Rodent poisons or “rodenticides” are legal and used widely, but they cause a slow and painful death. Rodenticides are also dangerous for owls, eagles and even cats that eat poisoned rodents. Snap traps cause a quick death for mice and rats, but can be dangerous to wildlife and pets unless they are kept in a locked box or wall interior. Call an AnimalKind company if you need help with mice and rats in your home.

black box for rodent poison glue board traps
Poisons and glueboards can be hidden in boxes like this

What is “humane”?

Any company can call themselves “humane” – but like many food-labelling claims, it doesn’t necessarily mean they are using animal-friendly methods. What does humane mean to you? A scientific poll of British Columbians in September 2015 found that the public interprets “humane” in different ways:

Vision Critical poll conducted for the BC SPCA in September 2015. Results have been statistically weighted according to current education, age, gender and region Census data to ensure a sample representative of the entire population of British Columbia (n=803, margin of error ±3.4%).
Category: Wildlife

Baby ducks and geese can usually make their own way down from a nest on a roof. But, they may need your help if:

  • The building is more than six meters (two storeys) in height
  • There is a barrier higher than 13 cm preventing them from hopping down
  • The ground below is concrete, cement or other hard material

In any of the above cases, call the BC SPCA Provincial Call Centre at 1-855-622-7722 to help you develop a rescue plan.

Wild canada goose with four cute goslings by water on the grass
Photo credit: Heather Marie Toews
Category: Wildlife

Ducks sit on their nest for three to four weeks before the babies hatch. To prevent the babies from hopping into the pool, cover the pool a few days before you expect the babies will hatch. The babies are small and don’t have waterproof feathers, so they can get hypothermia or drown if left in the water.

If a baby duck or goose ends up in your pool:

  1. Toss floating objects, like flutterboards, in the pool immediately to give babies temporary resting places
  2. Make a ramp using foam pool floats, patio chair cushions, or a wooden plank. You can use an empty pop bottle tied to the underside to help it float
  3. Use a pool skimmer to herd babies towards ramps, but don’t chase them. Chasing causes more stress and will exhaust the babies
  4. Open the gates to the pool area so the family can move out and find a better water source

If you need further advice on a nesting duck or goose family, call our Provincial Call Centre at 1-855-622-7722.

A Duck family

Category: Wildlife

After ducklings and goslings hatch, their parents walk the babies (who can’t fly yet) to nearby water sources. Sometimes the families get stuck at road medians if they try to cross a highway or busy street. This creates a tricky situation where both the animals and the rescuers might be in danger. Trying to herd the family can cause them to panic and run into traffic, and rescuers may disrupt traffic or risk their own safety.

The best way to help duck or geese families trying to cross the street is to contact local police for help stopping traffic. Once traffic is stopped, slowly and calmly herd the babies and parents to safety. Only try to capture the family if necessary for their safety. If the parents (or babies) panic and scatter, the rescue and reunion can become complicated.

Call our Provincial Call Centre at 1-855-622-772 for help with wildlife issues, including advice on how best to help duck or goose families.

Category: Wildlife

Ever wonder how to tell ducklings and goslings apart? At first glance they look similar, but they have distinct differences in colour and size. Mallard ducklings are much smaller than Canada Goose goslings. Mallard ducklings have dark chocolate brown and yellow markings with a dark line through their eye. Goslings are an olive-green and yellow colour, and do not have the dark line through their eye.

canada geese and mallard ducklings together
Spot the difference – Canada geese on the left, mallard ducklings on the right

If you find a duckling or gosling wandering alone, with no adults or other babies nearby, it needs help. Contact our Provincial Call Centre at 1-855-622-7722 to find a rehabilitator.

Category: Wildlife

Classrooms are an unnatural and stressful setting for wild or exotic animals. Seeing these animals outside of their natural wild habitat does not provide educational benefits and will likely lead to their early death.

Also, wild and exotic animals can carry diseases that may be passed onto children, who are still developing their immune systems.

There are many ways to experience and appreciate wild and exotic animals in nature, online or through documentaries. Compassion starts young, so let’s keep animals in nature.

Read our positions on classroom pets, educational visits using animals, exotic pets and wildlife welfare.

 

Wild animals are indigenous to Canada, but exotic animals are wild animals from other countries. These animals can be captured from the wild or bred in captivity. Exotic animals are often sold in the international pet trade.

The BC SPCA does not support keeping wild or exotic animals as pets, due to their unique physical and emotional needs. These animals often suffer in care because of their specialized needs.

Under provincial law, it is illegal to keep certain wildlife and certain dangerous exotic animals like tigers, primates or crocodiles, as they are designated as Controlled Alien Species.

Many cities also have exotic animal bylaws that make it illegal to keep some or all exotic pets. Check with your local municipality for a list of banned exotic animals.

Read more about exotic pets.

 

It is illegal to keep or sell a wolf as a pet in B.C. Some dogs are sold as wolf-dog hybrids for thousands of dollars, but they are really just dogs and have little to no wild wolf in them.

The BC SPCA is opposed to keeping, breeding and importing wolf-dog hybrids as pets.

Cross-breeding a wolf and dog counteracts 12,000 years of domestication. These animals are difficult to train and contain, and often show aggression toward other animals and humans.

Wolf-dogs already kept as pets should be spayed/neutered, fully vaccinated, contained in secure runs or pens, and muzzled when not contained. These animals need a high level of care that is difficult to achieve, and they do not make good pets.

Read our position on wolf-dog hybrids.

Photo by John E. Marriott

It is illegal to keep wild foxes as pets in B.C. under the BC Wildlife Act. Exotic foxes like Fennec Foxes are also not allowed as pets under Controlled Alien Species Regulations.

The BC SPCA does not support keeping wild or exotic animals as pets, due to their unique physical and emotional needs. These animals often suffer in care because of their specialized needs.

Read more about the BC Government’s Controlled Alien Species Regulations.

Photo credit: Jeremy Leete

Raccoons may establish a toilet or “latrine” site in backyards. Raccoons are not carriers of rabies in B.C., but their poop may contain raccoon roundworm eggs that can be dangerous to people and pets. Try using motion-sensor lights or sprinklers to prevent raccoons from using your backyard as a toilet.

Avoid direct contact with the feces, and wear gloves and a face mask for protection. Scoop the feces up using a plastic bag or shovel, close tightly and place in the garbage. Use boiling water to destroy any roundworm eggs on every surface or item that touched the feces. If you can’t use boiling water on the surface or item, using a 10% bleach solution will dislodge roundworm eggs so they can be rinsed away.

If you need help getting a raccoon out of your house, call an AnimalKind company.

For more information on managing raccoons, read or print our best practices (PDF).

Cute wild raccoon sitting against tree trunk eating seeds
Photo credit: Martin Smart
Category: Wildlife

When young crows are learning how to fly, they may spend up to a week on the ground building up their flight muscles. The parents will watch from close by and try to protect their young – sometimes dive-bombing people who get too close. Unless the young crow is hurt or in a dangerous place, you can leave the crow alone.

If you watch and listen, you’ll hear the young crows begging for food and see the parents come down to care for them.

Avoid walking near the fledgling crow, keep pets on a leash and warn others in the area. If you have to pass through, carry an open umbrella as an extra barrier. Don’t worry – the parents will leave you alone as soon the young crow can fly away with them.

Photo of black crow flying with spread wings

Category: Wildlife

Bats are the only wild carrier of rabies in B.C. and should never be touched or directly handled. Rabies can spread through just a drop of a bat’s saliva. Vaccinate your pet to protect them from contracting rabies.

If a bat has had any skin contact with a person, the bat must be euthanized and tested for rabies. If a bat has had contact with a pet, the bat may be sent for rabies testing. Contact your doctor, veterinarian or local public health authority immediately in cases of contact with a bat. Learn more about rabies transmission.

Bat populations are in decline, and injured bats can be rehabilitated. Call our Provincial Call Centre at 1-855-622-7722 for advice on safely containing bats and finding a wildlife rehabilitator.

Category: Wildlife

Small deceased wild animals can be buried or put in the garbage. For larger animals on private property, you may need to contact a waste removal company for help.

For dead animals found on public land, contact your local animal control or public works office for removal.

Dead birds

If you find a dead crow or bird of prey in summer mosquito season, contact your regional health authority. These birds may be tested for West Nile Virus research. If the bird has a leg band, record the letters and numbers and contact the Ministry of Environment at 1-866-431-2473.

Category: Wildlife

Don’t feed the wildlife. Wild animals suffer when they get used to eating human food instead of their natural diet. When people feed wildlife, the animals also lose their healthy fear of people. This increases their chances of being injured or killed. Some municipalities have bylaws against feeding wildlife.

Keep wildlife healthy and wild! Don’t share your food, garbage, compost or litter. Read or print our brochure: Don’t Feed the Animals (PDF).

What about birds? Read more about feeding birds and hummingbird feeders.

Two wild geese in murky muddy water
Photo credit: Paula Simson
Category: Wildlife

Birds and people can both get West Nile virus, but birds don’t give it to humans. Infected mosquitoes transmit the virus to people.

Although the virus isn’t transmitted from animals to humans, it’s best to avoid handling dead animals or birds with your bare hands.

Wild pigeons on wood post cuddling giving a peck kiss
Photo credit: Tracy Riddell
Category: Wildlife

Bats are the only known wild carrier of rabies in B.C. Like cats and dogs, raccoons, squirrels, coyotes and skunks are capable of contracting the rabies virus, but are not considered carriers in B.C.

In other provinces like Ontario, raccoons, coyotes, skunks and foxes are wild carriers of rabies. Learn more about rabies transmission between people, pets, and animals.

Wild fox near water behind long grass looking curious
Photo credit: Jeremy Leete
Category: Wildlife

It is typically illegal to disturb a bird’s nest with eggs or chicks inside. The best solution is to wait a few weeks until the babies grow up. If there is a nest in an area that causes problems (above a building entrance, in a vent) you may need a permit from Environment Canada to move the nest legally.

For species-specific information on managing birds, read our best practices. If you have more questions about a nest of birds, call the BC SPCA Provincial Call Centre at 1-855-622-7722 for advice.

Category: Wildlife

Under provincial and federal law, it is illegal to keep a wild animal, as designated under the BC Wildlife Act, as a pet. Very rarely, the provincial government issues permits for the personal possession of wild animals.

The BC SPCA does not support keeping wild or exotic animals as pets due to their unique physical and emotional needs. Both types of animals – those found wild in Canada and those exotic in Canada but wild to other countries – will suffer in care because of their specialized needs.

Under provincial law, it is illegal to keep certain dangerous exotic animals like tigers, primates or crocodiles as pets. Many cities also have exotic animal bylaws that make it illegal to keep some or all exotic pets. Check with your local municipality for a list of banned exotic animals.

Read more about exotic animals and the law.

If you are concerned about someone owning a wild or exotic animal illegally, please contact our Provincial Call Centre at 1-855-622-7722.

Wild northern pygmy owl hunting in snowy weather sitting on a wood post with a dead prey
Photo credit: Tania Simpson

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Photo by Tony Pace