Unexpected visitors can cause stress at the best of times, but if your uninvited guest has feathers, fur, or worse, scales, the situation can quickly become both dangerous and confusing as well as stressful. Even wildlife that looks cute and cuddly doesn't belong inside houses, and animals can become quite unpredictable and dangerous when they're put in a strange situation. That's why it's important to know what to do if you find wildlife in your home.
What To Do if You Find Wildlife in Your Home
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First things first
Before doing anything else, it is important to ensure that your family and pets are safe. The best way to do this is to remove them from the situation, and contain your unexpected guest as best as possible. This will usually take the form of enclosing the animal in a particular room. It is important to note, however, that you should also endeavour to keep an eye on the animal if it is possible to do so safely.
What to do next
If you can do so safely, your next step should be to remove the animal from your home and return it to the wild. This should only ever be done with animals that do not pose a risk to your health in the process (like a bird that has flown into your home), and sick or injured wildlife should never be sent away without first being checked by a professional. If your uninvited visitor cannot be safely removed, or they appear to be in less than optimal health, follow the tips below.
What to do if you find wildlife in your home
The first thing on your to do list should be to call your local wildlife emergency service. Depending on where you live, this may be an official organisation, group of volunteers, a wildlife vet, or even your local police department. The quickest way to find out who to call will probably be to Google "wildlife rescue (your location)" however, some councils include wildlife emergency numbers on the contact sheets they provide residents.
Your next step should be to take a photograph so you can show the animal to assistance when they arrive if you lose track of it. Ensure that your flash is off for this step, as you don't want to risk startling your guest.
From here, you'll mainly just want to observe the animal from a safe distance until help can arrive.
What NOT to do if you find wildlife in your home
Do not approach any animal that can pose a danger to you or your family. Snakes are the most obvious animal to point out here, although those living up north may encounter crocs, and even an animal as harmless looking as a possum can pose a threat to your health.
You should also avoid getting in the animal's way. This may seem odd advice as you obviously don't want your unexpected guest roaming freely in your home, but using your body as a physical blockade is never a good idea. If the animal cannot be contained with the use of doors or furniture, simply let it do its thing and focus on keeping your family safe. After all, belongings can be replaced, but people and pets cannot.
How to help sick or injured wildlife
It is important to seek professional medical assistance if you find an animal that is sick or injured within your home or on your property. Depending on where you are located, this assistance will generally come in the form of either a wildlife carer or a vet.
If it is safe for you to do so, it is always best to take the animal to an emergency vet as soon as you discover them, as this gives them the best chance of a full recovery. If this is not possible, call an emergency line to have the animal retrieved and provide water for them if you can do so without putting yourself in danger.
Regardless of the process that you follow to seek medical attention for injured wildlife, assistance will be offered at no charge to you, so please do not be put off by possible costs.
Important safety tips to remember
- Do your best to stay calm
- Never handle wildlife with your bare hands
- Do not engage with dangerous animals
- Always secure wildlife as quickly as possible, even if this simply means leaving the room and closing the door
- Even if an animal seems safe to relocate yourself, do not touch it or get close to it without guidance from a professional
- Do not physically block the animal
Finding random wildlife within your home can be quite concerning. By taking steps to ensure the safety of everyone involved and calling in the appropriate professionals, however, you can prevent the situation from escalating or becoming dangerous. In most cases, wildlife will be more scared of you than you are of it, so it's best for everyone if the situation is handled quickly and calmly.