Tyler animal rehab operator warns against taking in wildlife
TYLER, Texas (KLTV) - Each spring in East Texas brings thunderstorms and new life throughout nature.
During the summer, it’s not unusual to see young wildlife along our roadways, but the idea of caring for them usually isn’t a good one.
The rescue group 3R Meme’s Critters in Smith County sees a lot of injured or abandoned wildlife come to their care this time of year.
“We’ve been doing this for several years. We take raccoons, possums, we’ve had bobcats, which we get them all ready to release back to the wild,” says Animal Rehab Expert Towana Graham.
Another thing they see is ordinary people thinking they can care for an injured or baby animal.
“The animals are very lovable. You can pick them up, hold them, and that’s not a good thing. I’ve gotten calls to go pick up raccoons that people have tried to make pets. They’ve bit them or attacked them. I’ve picked up babies that have been fed whole milk, cows milk; it will kill them,” Towana says.
Cute and cuddly, it’s like having a kitten or a puppy. But make no mistake, once they grow up they’re still wild animals.
At some point, particularly with raccoons, their natural instincts will kick in as they mature, and that can be dangerous.
“Their teeth and claws will absolutely shred you. Very sharp, just like razors,” Graham says.
Aside from becoming aggressive, wild animals carry diseases.
“Some of the diseases they carry can cause heart problems,” says Towana.
Rehab experts understand how hard it is to resist wanting to help.
“It’s our joy to see them go back to the wild where they belong. It is hard because you get attached to them,” says daughter Patricia Graham.
Hard as it might be, Towana has advice if you see a baby wild animal.
“They really need to leave them alone. Give the momma time to come back and get them,” she says.
The rescue group rehabilitates wildlife with their own funds and has taken in over 100 raccoons, along with other wildlife, this season already.
Copyright 2023 KLTV. All rights reserved.