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Christmas decor dangers lurk for wildlife, warns Greater Victoria rehab centre

BC SPCA Wild ARC offers tips to safe decor, where to go for help
During rutting season, bucks like this fella on Beach Drive in Oak Bay tend to rub their antlers on trees and bushes, and it’s not unusual to get tangled in Christmas lights, garden netting or other low-hanging strings. (Christine van Reeuwyk/News Staff)

In the wake of fall’s fake webs, wildlife continues to fall to the shiny baubles many a human hangs this season.

The BC SPCA Wild Animal Rehabilitation Centre (Wild ARC) reminds residents that some forms of holiday decor can be a danger to other species that share our space.

Fake spiderwebs and snow may look fun, but when stretched across bushes, trees and windows outdoors, birds and other animals getting stuck isn’t uncommon, the organization said in statement. Since the webs are Wild ARC gets calls about about, the organization offers some tips for wildlife care.

Anyone who does find a trapped bird should cut the webbing around the entangled area to free the bird without causing further injury to feathers and wings.

READ ALSO: Deer freed in Kimberley after antlers get tangled up in Christmas lights

During rutting season, deer tend to rub their antlers on trees and bushes, and it’s not unusual to get tangled in Christmas lights, garden netting, or other low-hanging strings. They recommend hanging lights high but if a deer does get tangled it often will resolve on its own as they shed the velvet from their antlers at the end of the season. They can however get caught up or have something tighten on their neck.

Wild ARC recommends calling Contact the Conservation Officer Service 1-877-952-7277 for any issues involving adult deer.

Netting, wire, plastic drink rings and fishing line are the year-round culprits Wild ARC hears about. Wary of further damage, staff recommend never trying to remove items Swallowed or embedded fish hooks may appear removed on the outside, but inside, anything that remains can result in severe injury. If feet or paws get tangled, the loss of blood flow can quickly cause injury. Even an hour is a long time for a little paw! Always get advice from a rehabilitator before trying to cut an animal loose.

The animal helpline at 1-855-622-7722 can also provide advice or connect with a wildlife centre if an animal is injured.


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