If you are within the Columbus city limits and have questions or need assistance with wildlife, you can contact Columbus Animal Care Services at 812-376-2505
When to Call About Wildlife
Columbus Animal Care Services responds ONLY to calls about wildlife when a wild animal is in a person’s or family’s immediate living space or is injured or sick.
Encountering wildlife in Columbus is common and in many cases, there is not much we can do as an agency. Here are some tips to know when to make the call:
- Observe the animals: If you can’t immediately tell the animal is sick or injured, we ask that you observe the animal for 24 hours. There is no need to panic right away. If it does not move from the area within 24 hours then give us a call and an Animal Care Officer will come check on it. If the animal is inside your home give us a call.
- If the animal is inside your home– in your living space – give us a call.
- If the animal is in your attic, crawl space or inside your walls, you will need to contact a licensed nuisance wildlife operator. (Columbus Animal Care cannot respond to this call).
- If a wild animal is simply in your yard – that does not warrant an officer being dispatched.
- If the animal is in an outside building– open the doors and windows and let it leave on its own. If some time has passed trying this method and the animal does not leave – then call us.
Do not handle wild animals no matter the age of the animal.
For more assistance in wild animal issues please feel free to contact:
- A licensed nuisance wildlife operator
- A local wildlife rehabilitator
- Indiana Department of Natural Resources
Living With Wildlife
Because of shrinking habitats and human activity, there is a new reality. Wildlife and bird species have adapted to living in our cities and suburban neighborhoods. Much of what humans do is attractive to wild animals, and the best way to coexist with wildlife is to take a preventative approach.
It is important to keep in mind that wild animals and birds want what we want: food, water, shelter, and a safe place to raise their offspring. Preventing wildlife/human conflict goes a long way toward keeping everyone happier and healthier.
- Don’t feed wildlife! No matter how much you may enjoy it, feeding wild animals always ends badly for the animals. It draws them closer to humans, and neighbors many times may not appreciate the animals the way you do. Familiarity with people is undesirable in wildlife. People frequently panic when approached by wildlife, and they may harm an animal for fear of disease of aggression. “A fed wild animal is a dead wild animal.”
- Do not leave pet foods outside. Take dishes inside in the evening. Many people are surprised when wildlife is attracted to their back porch or garage. This is one of the leading reasons raccoons and coyotes come into residential neighborhoods.
- Vaccinate your pets, and don’t leave them outside unattended. Wildlife can transmit disease to pets, and vice versa.
- Clean up under birdfeeders. More than birds are eating at your feeders. Accumulated feed under feeders attract mice, raccoons, and things that eat mice like opossums, snakes, and birds of prey. This also keeps the birds healthier since old seed can develop mold which can harm them.
- Trim branches and vegetation near your house. Tree branches provide easy access for raccoons and squirrels to enter attics. Check soffits, vents, chimneys and roofs for potential openings into walls or attics. Patch or staple wire mesh over holes.
- Block access under sheds, decks and outbuildings. Dig down 1 ½’ around the outbuilding, and run wire hardware mesh around the out building in the trench. Attach the top of the mesh to the building, and bury the mesh.
- Teach children to respect and stay away from bird and rabbit nests. It is illegal to keep wildlife as pets, and most times wildlife does just fine without human help. Observing wild animals at a distance is a great learning opportunity for all ages.
Birds cannot fly when they leave the nest and mother birds continue to feed the babies for up to a week before they fly. Look and listen for the mother for up to 24 hours for baby birds with feathers. Baby birds with no feathers can be placed back in the nest, or in a basket near the nest and the mother will usually continue to feed them. Call the rehabilitator for guidance at Utopia Wildlife Rehabilitators, 812-546-6318
Cover the nest with a weighted basket or box, remove the cover at dusk for mom to feed. Replace in the morning. Young cottontail rabbits are capable of caring for themselves at a very early age. When you find a baby in the yard, fully furred, ears standing up, and roughly the size of the palm of your hand, it is fine. If the young rabbit is in harm’s way, place it in an area where there is lots of short grass and some bushes or cover to hide in.