By Cheryl Conley, TWRC Wildlife Center

Just as Hurricane Harvey displaced thousands of people. Harvey also displaced thousands of wild animals. Compassionate residents have brought birds, snakes, squirrels and even an alligator to TWRC Wildlife Center for care.

Although there is no way of knowing the actual number of animals affected, the numbers are, no doubt, very high. It is human nature to want to help these animals but in some cases, it is better to leave them alone.

  • DEER – Many deer were forced to move to higher ground. People are seeing deer in their yards, in the streets and other areas with dry land. It is for your own safety that you do not try to catch these animals. Make sure that gates are open so they have a way to exit your yard. Sadly, there’s nothing else you can do.
  • ALLIGATORS AND SNAKES – It seems silly that we would have to warn people to stay away from them but sometimes curiosity gets the best of people. Keep your distance. If you need help identifying a snake to find out if it’s venomous, call us and we can help. We can also refer you to a professional who can assist with the removal of snakes. For help with alligators, we recommend you call your Game Warden. To find the Game Warden for your area, go to the Texas Parks and Wildlife website.

It is baby squirrel season right now and in the case of these animals, your intervention may be needed. If you find a baby, you will first need to try to reunite the baby with its mother. You can do this by placing the baby in a small container near the area where you found it. Make sure the container is safe from dogs and cats. Watch to see if mom comes to get her little one. If, after a couple of hours, the mom has not returned, you will need to intervene. The most important thing is to keep the baby warm. You can accomplish by placing the baby in a box along with a soft cloth and place the box on a heating pad set to low. Do NOT attempt to give the baby food or water. Bring the baby to TWRC Wildlife Center as soon as possible.

Chances are very low that you will encounter any other wildlife babies at this time of the year. You may encounter injured adult raccoons, opossums and birds, however. We advise that you do not try to rescue these animals. Their intention is not to hurt you but they may bite or scratch because they are afraid.

If you have questions about wildlife, we are available from 10am to 2pm to help you. Before attempting to rescue an animal and before bringing it in to us, we suggest you give us a call first. After hours, our website can provide you with many answers.

Thank you for your support during this difficult time.