State officials: use caution when encountering wildlife - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

State officials: use caution when encountering wildlife

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DES MOINES (KWWL) - State officials are reminding people to keep a safe distance from wildlife after reports of a positive rabies test for a squirrel in the Iowa City area.

"No matter how tame a wild animal appears it is still wild and should be viewed from a distance and left alone," said Dale Garner, chief of the Iowa Department of Natural Resources Wildlife Bureau.  "We usually remind people in the spring when young animals are found seemingly helpless that people should stay away and not intervene because the mother is likely hiding nearby until the coast is clear.  That advice is relevant all year - use common sense and keep your distance."

According to the Iowa Department of Public Health, there have been 24 reports of wildlife, domestic animals and livestock testing positive for rabies this year.  Following these simple recommendations in respect to wildlife may decrease your chances of coming in contact with a rabid animal.   

  • Do not feed or handle wild or stray animals. Avoid sick animals or those that act strangely.
  • Do not touch or handle dead animals.
  • Cover garbage cans and keep pet food indoors, so not to attract wild animals.
  • Do not keep wild animals as pets, which is often illegal as well as dangerous.
  • Never handle bats. A bat bite or scratch may be small and go unnoticed. People who awaken to find a bat in the room or children awake or asleep with a bat in a room should consult their healthcare provider as they may require rabies treatment.

Online Reporter:  Bob Waters

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