True or False: It’s okay to keep a wild animal in your home while it’s a baby.
Although many species are cute when they are young, wild animals are not pets, and should never be kept at home.
They actually perform extremely poorly in a domestic environment, and choosing to invite a wild animal into your house could lead to complications and dangers, for both you and the animal.
The first risk, when bringing something from the wild into an urban dwelling is germ transmission. Wild animals can carry many diseases, parasites and germs that both humans and pets are susceptible to. It goes both ways too, humans and domestic pets can transfer unfamiliar germs to a wild animal as well. Without the hygienic precautions taken in a professional rehabilitation clinic, these interactions just aren’t safe.
Beyond possible disease transmission, there are other safety risks. The behaviour of any wild animal is unpredictable in captivity, especially in an environment like a house where potential threats are all around. Confined wild animals may strike out in defense, and attack humans or pets, which can result in injury to all parties.
Outside of these risks, being raised in a domestic setting is detrimental to the development of wildlife. Without the proper diet, specialized care, or habitat, animals will be unable to develop the crucial skills they need to survive in the wild.
Predator species will not learn to hunt properly and prey species will not be able to excel at the skills they need to protect themselves. Even if the animal was released back to the wild after being raised in captivity, the chances of them surviving are next to none.
Animals who have imprinted on human owners, or have become habituated to being around people and eating human food, have an increased risk of being injured. Often, animals that seek out human contact are involved in conflicts that can result in the animal being put down.
What to do instead
If you find an orphaned or injured animal, immediately call Calgary Wildlife, at 403-214-1312, to seek expert advice.
If you are in a situation where you need to keep the animal secure while you wait for help, follow advice from a professional on what to do to ensure the safety of yourself and the animal.
Never touch wildlife with your bare hands and only initiate contact with a wild animal when you have no other option.