Editor’s note: This post is a Care2 favorite, back by popular demand. It was originally posted on October 25, 2012. Enjoy!
Special Feature by Wild Care
For this Western Screech Owl, the Halloween decorations on a Novato home weren’t just scary, they were life-threatening. ”He was hanging upside down right outside the front door,” the homeowner said. “When we opened the door he just hung there and blinked at us!”
The Marin Humane Society was called in and the officer gently snipped away the fibers that tied the little owl to the porch, and brought him, panting with stress and still ensnared in web, to WildCare in San Rafael, California.
Screech Owls are small woodland owls that are common in our suburban neighborhoods. Despite their small stature, these owls have big personalities, and our Halloween owl was no exception. Despite his obvious stress and fear, he clacked his beak and tried to bite through the heavy gloves his handlers wore to protect themselves as he was gently sedated to allow removal of all the fake spiderweb fibers.
After removing all the strands, he was checked completely for any remaining fibers, x-rayed to make sure he hadn’t broken anything during his ordeal, and left to rest over night.
The following day we released him at the house where he was caught (now spiderweb-free) and gave the neighborhood children an amazing glimpse of a wild owl, and some food for thought when it comes to Halloween. See the video below of the owl flying free.
WildCare Cautions Halloween Lovers to Follow These 5 Tips:
- Don’t use fake spiderweb or other decorations made of entangling fibers. Wild animals can easily get trapped and not be able to break the material to free themselves.
- Avoid decorations with loops or closed circles. A foraging animal can inadvertently put his head through a loop or circle and choke himself.
- Avoid decorations with small, dangling, edible-looking parts.
- Make sure all candy wrappers are disposed of properly.
- Don’t leave candy out where wildlife may find it.
If you have an animal rescue story you’d like to share, please visit The Great Animal Rescue Chase today.