There are many reasons to be wary of wildlife in the state | News, Sports, Jobs

It’s not uncommon to see wildlife anywhere in Pennsylvania, from the forest to your backyard, especially as the denizens of our woods prepare to settle down for the winter. But before you try to befriend this animal, heed this advice from the Pennsylvania Game Commission: leave it alone.

When you encounter wildlife – be it deer, birds, raccoons or other animals – they appear to be deserted but usually aren’t.

Adult animals often abandon their young while foraging for food, but they do not go far and return. Wildlife also often relies on a natural defense tactic called die “hiding strategy”, where young animals remain motionless and “hide” in surrounding cover while adults divert the attention of potential predators or other intruders from their young.

“People of good intentions could step in to help a young animal that appears to be alone, unaware that its mother is nearby and doesn’t need help.” Matthew Schnupp, Game Commission wildlife management director, advises. “That’s one reason why leaving young wild animals undisturbed in the wild is usually the best solution when encountering young wild animals.”

It is best to resist the urge to disturb young wildlife or remove wild animals from their natural habitat. Such contact can be harmful to both humans and wildlife.

And whenever wild animals are handled, there is always a risk of people contracting diseases or parasites such as fleas, ticks and lice.

Except for those who hunt in accordance with state laws, it is illegal to take or possess wild animals from the wild. Under state law, the penalty for such a violation is a fine of up to $1,500 per animal. Under no circumstances should anyone illegally capturing wild animals keep that animal – only Game Commission-licensed wildlife rehabilitators are allowed to care for injured or orphaned wild animals with the ultimate goal of releasing them back into the wild.

For those finding wildlife that really needs help, visit the Pennsylvania Association of Wildlife Rehabilitators’ website,, for a list of licensed wildlife rehabilitators. If you can’t find a wildlife ranger in your area, call the Game Commission at (610) 926-3136.

And with hunters in the woods and the sun setting earlier, it’s also wise to be more vigilant on the highway.

Hunt safely. Drive safely. And for your own safety, stay away from wild animals.

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