Friday, June 29, 2012
Trapping wildlife during TNR
The other night Linda, working on TNRing in Bridgeport, trapped this opossum. Did you know that possums are North America's only marsupials?
What should you, a TNR person, do if you find yourself with a raccoon or a possum in your trap?
The short answer is to let it go as quickly as possible.
For the most part Illinois wildlife, including squirrels, are legally protected by the Illinois Wildlife Code. It is illegal to trap wildlife and release them elsewhere. If you trapped an animal while performing TNR, the responsible thing to do is to just let it go as soon as possible. Possums and raccoons are nocturnal and should never be left in a trap during the day. And don't forget that during the spring and summer you might have somebody's mommy in that trap.
This fact sheet from Flint Creek Wildlife Rehabilitation, I found an opossum, gives some helpful hints on how to deal with possums in general. This site also has excellent info on what to do if you've found a raccoon, bird, etc.
Here is an excellent site about living with wildlife in Illinois from the University of Illinois extension.
At all costs you should avoid being bitten. Be aware of your hands and your fingers. If you are bitten by an animal, do not release it from the trap. Contact animal control. They will (they should) remove the trap and the animal and have it tested for rabies.
But how do I get that thing out of my trap? Quick tip: FROM THE BACK OF THE TRAP!
Possums and raccoons will be attracted by your stinky baited traps. The most important tip is to never leave your traps unattended. If you are waiting with your trap, you will see the animal coming, and can make a loud noise or throw something near it. The animal will run away. Don't leave your baited traps out! Not only might you get a surprise animal in the morning, but the animal in your unattended trap (whether a cat or a raccoon) is helpless. Please attend your TNR traps and put them away when it's your bedtime, whether you've caught that wiley old feral you're seeking or not!
Happy and safe trapping, TNR folks!