Helpful Halloween Tips for Wildlife Safety

provided by the Clinic for the Rehabilitation of Wildlife

The spookiest holiday of the year is upon us! Halloween is this weekend and everyone has been preparing for the fun in a variety of ways. One of the most common ways to celebrate Halloween includes festive decorations and delicious treats. Though most decorations are set up for well meaning fun, commonly used decorations can be harmful and dangerous for wildlife.

Halloween and other holidays where people decorate the exterior of their house and place ornamental structures in their yards can prove dangerous to a variety of wild animals. At CROW, hospital staff will treat frequent entanglement cases. Most entanglement situations seen at the clinic are a result of improperly discarded fishing gear; however, decorative fun can be hazardous as well. The smells of sugary candy and increased human activity during the night hours at Halloween can put wild animals at risk.

Fake spiderwebs and other decorations made of entangling fibers can easily trap wildlife. Often, once they are caught or trapped in the material they will further injure themselves in the process of trying to free themselves. Those who have webbing hung likely don’t realize the threat it poses to wildlife. If webbing is a decoration one cannot go without, then try to encourage them to check it in the morning and at night for any nocturnal animals who may have been trapped.

Any decorations with loops or closed circles can entice foraging animals who may get their head stuck which could make them vulnerable to predators or potentially suffocate or strangle them so be cautious and alert! Overall avoid any decorations with dangling pieces or edible-looking parts. If you choose to decorate with pumpkins, corn, etc be aware that will attract wild animals to your yard! Please do not leave candy out where animals can get to it and properly discard candy wrappers!

To avoid post-holiday trick or treaters, properly dispose of your carved pumpkins which would be attractive to wild animals as food! During trick-or-treating be alert for nocturnal animals while driving. The unusual nighttime activity could drive animals from their safe spaces into the road. Try to avoid cutting through grass lawns or vegetative areas where wild neighbors could be seeking refuge. If you hang string lights, make sure they are out of reach of ground-dwelling critters and hung against the exterior of a building to avoid possible entanglement of flying animals!

Enjoy your Halloween weekend and thank you for keeping critter safety in mind.

THIS WEEK AT CROW (10/22-10/29):
There were 97 new patients admitted to CROW’s Wildlife Hospital including 18 eastern cottontails, nine Virginia opossums, seven northern raccoons, four laughing gulls, two red-bellied cooters, five double-crested cormorants, and two anhingas. Recent Releases include a magnificent frigatebird, a great blue heron, a gray catbird, a eastern cottontail, and a Mexican free-tailed bat. Check out a full list of CROW’s current patients and recent releases!

Wildlife doesn’t have health insurance! Your donations help cover the costs of medical and rehabilitative care for over 5,000 patients admitted to CROW’s Wildlife Hospital each year!

Want to learn more about wildlife rehabilitation? Stop by CROW’s Visitor Education Center at 3883 Sanibel Captiva Road.

About Clinic for the Rehabilitation of Wildlife (CROW)
Established in 1968, the Clinic for the Rehabilitation of Wildlife (CROW) is a teaching hospital saving the sick, injured and orphaned native and migratory wildlife of Southwest Florida and beyond.  Through state-of-the-art veterinary care, public education programs and an engaging visitor center, CROW works to improve the health of the environment, humans and our animals through wildlife medicine. For more information, or to plan your visit, go to If you find an animal that is in need of help, call (239) 472-3644 ext. #222.

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