A young fox is cute but potentially dangerous to handle. Photo from Wikimedia Commons

Recent reports of area wildlife that may be sick, young and abandoned, or otherwise out of the nest, or are simply a nuisance, have people asking in various forums what they should do to help.

In most cases, the answer is: Nothing.

While it’s tempting to try to rescue and care for a wild animal, it’s illegal in Maryland for residents to have most wild animals, including deer, raccoons and foxes, in their possession, according to the Maryland Department of Health and Department of Natural Resources.

It can also be dangerous. All mammals are susceptible to rabies or carry other diseases that can be transferred to pets and/or humans.

For that reason, the state advises residents not to attempt to feed, pet, rescue or try to relocate any wild animal.

In addition, “Attempting to ‘rescue,’ any young wild animal, even those that appear vulnerable or to have been abandoned, risks interfering with the animals’ natural adaptation to their environment and the development of their basic survival skills,” according to an MDH press release.

In addition to the county’s Animal Services Division, residents can report a sick, injured or nuisance animal to DNR between 8 a.m. and 4:30 p.m. Monday-Friday, at 410.260.8540, or the U.S. Department of Agriculture Wildlife Services at 1.877.463.6497. 

Mike Diegel

Co-Founder/Editor at Source of the Spring
Mike Diegel, a founding member of Source of the Spring, is a Silver Spring advocate who has been appointed by the county executive to several committees and task forces. He currently is a member of the Silver Spring Arts & Entertainment District Advisory Committee. His background is in journalism and he earned a bachelor of arts in communications from McDaniel College. He is self-employed as a communications consultant and is an active volunteer with Appalachian Great Pyrenees Rescue. He has lived for more than 20 years in Northwood/Four Corners with his wife Trish and multiple Great Pyrenees dogs. He is better known around Silver Spring as the Guy with the Big White Dogs.
Local Wildlife Can Be Cute, But Potentially Dangerous