(WGHP) — Officials with the North Carolina Wildlife Resources Commission shared four wildlife encounters North Carolinians should be aware of now that spring has sprung and tips for how to handle them.
It is not unusual for many species to leave their young unattended for long periods, so never assume a young animal has been abandoned or orphaned if you don’t see the parent nearby.
Wild animals will avoid getting close if a potential predator is nearby since they don’t want to draw attention to their young.
The best way to help young wildlife is to leave them alone so their parents can come back and take care of them.
Young squirrels fallen from their nest
Young squirrels may fall out of their nests due to windy weather during the nesting season.
Mother squirrels will search for their missing babies on the ground to carry them back to the nest since they don’t abandon their young easily.
If the whole nest falls out of the tree, a squirrel will build a new nest before retrieving her young. It’s important to give her the time and space to build a new nest.
Early in the spring, wild animal parents are looking for sheltered spaces to raise their young for the season.
Crawlspaces under buildings can offer a safe and comfortable nursery for foxes and skunks while their newborns are most vulnerable.
Climbing species like raccoons and squirrels may try to get in your attic. Bats and chimney swifts can also come in through your chimney.
You can make repairs to your vents, eaves and chimney caps now so no uninvited guests can get in.
Spotting snakes on the move
Snakes rely on temperature to move efficiently since they are cold-blooded. This means more of them will be out when the weather warms up, regardless of the time of year.
Early spring often means snake activity since most snakes found in North Carolina start to become active after several days with temperatures at or above 60 degrees.
The best way to handle an encounter with a snake is to give it space. Snakes only bite people in self-defense, so bites can be prevented by avoiding situations that force a snake to defend itself from you.
Never pick up or harass a snake and avoid surprising one by watching where you step or reach, especially in areas with thick ivy, leaf litter on the ground or piles of wood or rocks where snakes may be sheltering.
Contacts to help deal with wild animals
If you’re unsure how to handle a wildlife encounter, you should contact a wildlife professional, such as a licensed wildlife rehabilitator, before trying to care for or touch any animals.
A licensed wildlife control agent may be able to help. If you’re unsure of what to do, you can call the NC Wildlife Helpline at 866-318-2401 or visit the NCWRC website for answers to commonly asked questions.