Releasing Wildlife

Having trouble with wildlife visitors?
(Thank you to Jennifer, Vinnie's mom, who took these great coon pics!)

What do I do if I accidentally trap wildlife?

If you find a wild animal or any non-target animal in your trap, release it immediately in the same area which it was trapped. Do not transport the animal elsewhere or disturb the animal more than necessary. Do not surrender animal to an animal shelter or animal rescue organization because it may be someone's pet that you are displacing. Do not put your fingers inside trap or stand with your body touching the trap. Do not try to handle the animal. It will be frightened and may bite. Wearing heavy gloves (ski gloves, leather gloves, etc.) open the door as you tip the trap forward, pointing it away from your body. If the animal does not run off immediately, use a stick to hold the door open, by placing the stick through the wires (see image below). Leave the area so the animal can go on its way.


You can quickly prop open the door with a stick inserted between wires.

How do I release a skunk?

Be very careful when approaching any wild animal, especially skunks, not only because they stink but they also have one of the highest rates of rabies. To release a skunk, quietly approach the skunk, holding a cloth sheet in front of you to create a curtain. Drop the sheet over the trap, leaving the door uncovered. Release as above. Susan Greene of Spencer NY recommends talking to them as you approach to reduce the likelihood of getting sprayed. "Skunks are nearsighted and are less likely to spray if they know you are quietly approaching. If they stamp their front feet, give them a moment, while talking to them, and then continue." Susan also had this tip, "A cloth sheet is better than plastic. If wind comes along and rattles that plastic, especially in cold weather when it is stiff, startling the skunk — look out! It is also easier to wrap a soft sheet around the trap if you have to carry the trap a few feet to safely let the skunk go."

If your area is teeming with wildlife, a woman in Michigan has this very wise advice: before setting up the trap, tie a rope to the door so that you can release it from afar if necessary. She had a scary experience when a trap separated two young raccoons from their protective mama, and was thankful she had been prepared.

I keep on trapping raccoons and opossums, but not my cat! What can I do?

Try providing food nearby (not in trap) that a raccoon or opossum might like, but that your cat would NOT like. Perhaps whole grain (try C.O.B. consists of Corn, Oats and Barley with molasses), alfalfa pellets (these two can be purchased at a feed store for livestock or pet store), sweet fruit, or nuts. If wildlife fill up on fruit and grain first, they may be less likely to eat your cat food and trip the trap unnecessarily.

Additionally, try what Lyn and James did when luring their Libby: place food on a table. Wildlife may be less likely to climb up.

Tony, Vinnie's dad, invites Mr. Coon out with a game of golf.
. .. looks like he's game.
First, maybe a spot of tea.

Um. . .any dessert?

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