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Wildlife Information
Please use the information below to learn about taking a responsible approach to living with wildlife. (This page is under construction ... In the meantime, Ontario SPCA factsheets are excellent sources of information.

White-tailed deer

- document: Living with wildlife - Deer

These graceful animals are abundant in the Ottawa area, often spotted around dawn and dusk in green spaces around the outskirts of the city. People usually enjoy sighting deer, however they pose a serious danger when crossing roads at night.

Deer and Driving - document: Living with wildlife - Deer collisions

If you drive at night outside the city, be alert as though you expect something might move into your path. Use highbeam headlights whenever possible and keep to a reasonable speed. A collision with a deer will not only kill or badly injure the animal, it will cause a lot of damage to your vehicle, may result in serious injury to the driver and passengers and may cause cars behind you or approaching you to add to the collision.

If a collision occurs and everyone is alright but a deer is injured, please contact the police or a wildlife rehabilitation centre. The animal should be euthanized (given a quick and painless death) instead of being left to suffer in fear and pain.

Deer and Gardens

People with homes on the outer limits of the city may have deer come to browse in their gardens. If these guests are not welcome, there are several ways you can keep them away.

Lee Valley sells a motion activated sprinkler that will scare away animals with a sudden spray of water, deer fencing and holographic scare tape. Deer Fence Canada supplies homeowners with easy-to-install fencing that is almost invisible so doesn't detract from your view.

Low cost alternatives include a scarecrow wearing clothes that smell like humans and hanging aluminum pie plates or old CDs from string so the wind will make them move and reflect sunlight.

Baby Deer - Fawns

Deer leave their fawns curled up in a safe place while they search for food. Fawns have no scent, so they do not attract predators, however, if a human touches a fawn, predators may be attracted to the human scent. If you find a fawn that looks healthy, admire it from a distance then quietly move on so its mother will return. If you are concerned, leave the area and return after 4 hours to see if the fawn is still in the same spot. Note, the mother will not return while humans are nearby.

If you know a fawn has been orphaned, contact a wildlife rehabilitation centre. Experienced wildlife custodians will know exactly what to feed the deer and how to raise it so that it will have the best chance of returning to life in the wild.

Raccoons

- document: Living with Wildlife - Raccoons

Raccoons often carry a parasitic roundworm that can be deadly to humans. It is transferred through contact with raccoon poop. Diseases such as canine distemper and feline panleukopenia (parvovirus) are common among raccoons in the Ottawa area. Raccoons can also carry rabies. Wildlife rehabilitators vaccinate raccoons against these diseases.

Enjoy watching raccoons but avoid contact with them.

Raccoon Babies

Raccoons are born in litters of 2 to seven. The newborns don't have teeth, their eyes are closed, and they weigh about as much as a chocolate bar. By the time they are three weeks old, their eyes are open, their teeth have started to grow and the familiar raccoon markings develop. After eight weeks, young raccoons start to venture out of their den to learn to search for food with their mother. They continue to nurse until they are about 4 months old and live with their mother until her next litter is born the following spring.

Some people who find baby raccoons decide to try to raise them, thinking raccoons are easy to feed. However, babies need the equivalent of their mother's milk for at least 2 months. An incorrect diet usually results in a pain and suffering for a young raccoon. Wildlife custodians have access to animal formulas that are nutritionally balanced for each type of baby. If you know of baby raccoons that have been orphaned, contact a wildlife rehabilitation centre.

Young raccoons are often left alone while the mother searches for food. Even though the young are alone does not necessarily mean that they are orphaned. If the young are in the den and appear healthy then leave them, the mother will most likely return later. Keep a watch on the den for the mother returning. If you find young raccoons with no mother or den site present, place the young raccoons in a box and keep it in a dark, quiet place, such as the garage, until the evening. Around this time place the box outside with the flaps folded over. Leave the box overnight. Do NOT feed the young raccoons. It is important that the young are hungry so that the mother hears their cries. Also, "human" food can make young raccoons sick. Check the box in the morning. If the young are still in the box take them to your local Ontario SPCA, affiliated Humane Society or licensed wildlife rehabilitator. Wild animals should not be raised as pets or kept in your home. It is illegal to keep wild animals in your home or to provide care for over 24 hours as they require professional attention.

Skunks

- document: Living With Wildlife-Skunks

Skunks are not aggressive animals and will always try to retreat from a human or other large enemy. Skunks eat many pests that ruin crops and are especially fond of grasshoppers, crickets, and insect larvae such as white grubs, army worms, and cutworms.

Squirrels

- document: Living with wildlife - Squirrels

Although they may eat or move your garden flower bulbs, squirrels habit of burying nuts helps to re-establish the hardwood forests that have been lost through human logging.

Squirrel Babies
- document: Living with Wildlife - Squirrels- 2nd Birthing Season

Baby squirrels are very fragile and are not fully weaned until they are 3 months old. If you find a nest of orphaned squirrels, contact a wildlife rehabilitation centre so that an experienced person can ensure the squirrels have the best chance of survival.

Porcupines

- document: Living with Wildlife - Porcupines

Porcupines feed largely on the inner bark of trees in winter as well as on a variety of other plants. In spring and summer, the porcupine will eat the leaves of herbs and shrubs, such as currant, rose, thorn apple, violets, dandelion, clover, and grasses.

Porcupine Babies

Porcupines are solitary animals and normally have only one baby at a time. The baby is born with its eyes open and teeth already exposed. Within hours of birth the quills harden and after a couple of days the baby porcupine can climb.

Rabbits

- document: Living With Wildlife-Rabbits and Hares Rabbit Babies

Pet cats are a serious threat to wild rabbit babies. Putting a bell on your cat can help warn wildlife that danger is near.

Foxes

- document: Living with Wildlife - Red Foxes

Foxes used to have a bad reputation as chicken thieves. On farmlands, however, they do perform the useful role of eating vast numbers of crop-destroying small mammals and insects, and they are now usually appreciated by farmers.

Fox Babies

Foxes find or build dens when they are preparing to have babies. The parents teach their young how to hunt and by the age of 3 months, young foxes are usually able to survive on their own.

Coyotes

- documents: Living with Wildlife - Coyotes - Part I
Living with Wildlife - Coyotes - Part II Living with Wildlife - Coyotes - Part III Coyotes in the City

Coyotes are often heard yipping and howling in the farmlands around Ottawa. When food is scarce, they may find their way into the city. They rarely pose a threat to humans but city officials should be alerted if a coyote is seen repeatedly in an urban setting.

Turtles

The Turtle S.H.E.L.L. Tortue centre (turtleshelltortue.org) does excellent work healing and rehabilitating injured turtles.

Turtles on the Road

During the summer, many turtles cross roads in search of mates, food and nest sites. Please take care to avoid running over turtles.

Turtle Species at Risk

Blanding's Turtle like the one shown above is a Species at Risk classified as Threatened. Snapping turtles are considered a Species at Risk in Ontario.

Birds

Birds Nesting

A Mallard duck will stop at frequent intervals to collect and warm her young. To protect her ducklings against a threat, she will flap and squawk across the ground, as if injured to lure the predator away.

Bird Babies

It is exciting to find a nest of baby birds, like these robins. We are fortunate in the Ottawa region to have the Wild Bird Care Centre to take excellent care of any orphaned or injured wild birds.