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Keeping Wild Things Wild!

One of the first things we have to understand is that wild animals are just that WILD! They aren't meant to be pets, no matter how cute some of them might be. People sometimes try and save a baby animal that they find by raising them as pets. This is definitely not a good idea.

Some of the reasons that it isn't a good idea to try and make a pet out of a wild animal are:

* as they grow up they can be very destructive

* they don't react like domesticated pets and they can "turn" on people very unexpectedly with little or no warning

* it is strictly against the law in most states

* wild mammals are subject to a disease called rabies that can be deadly to humans

It is a wonderful experience to be able to observe wild animals from a respectful distance there isn't anything quite like it. But remember, each animal has its own "safe" distance. You need to be further back from say a buffalo than you would from a cow bird. You should never feed a wild alligator or crocodile under any circumstances, but some zoos have petting zoos where you can feed the animals.

Here are some are some guidelines to help you remember to keep wild things wild:

1. "Take only pictures, leave only footprints."

2. Don't try and touch any wild mammals. This is especially true if they act sick, mean, or strange in any way!

3. Don't touch the carcasses of dead animals.

4. Leave baby wild animals where you find them; their parents may just be off gathering food. If you are still concerned tell someone in animal control or a ranger or other type of community officer.

5. If you see an animal acting strangely or one who is out of its element such as a snake or alligator by a swimming pool be sure and tell an adult or community officer right away. And, stay well away from the animal until it is removed!

Nature is a beautiful thing as are the animals in it. But, just like anything else in life, there are ways to enjoy it and other ways that can destroy it. Leave the wild animals alone to stay wild. Making them too comfortable with humans may cause them to have to be removed and/or destroyed by animal control because they become a nuisance or dangerous to humans.


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