Why We Only Rescue Tennessee Wildlife

Since Chattanooga sits on the state line, our local rehabbers often get calls about animals from outside the state. I can advise about wildlife first-aid, help identify unknown critters, and help find solutions for people who want to humanly repel “nuisance” animals, regardless of where the call comes from. But to actually accept an animalContinue reading “Why We Only Rescue Tennessee Wildlife”

What Happens When You Feed a Bear?

This story happens every year here in Tennessee, particularly in tourist-heavy areas like Gatlinburg. Bears— often nursing moms who are desperate for the extra food— will accept an offer of pet food from curious people who want to see them up close. The bear quickly realizes that pet food is a good snack, so sheContinue reading “What Happens When You Feed a Bear?”

How Dangerous are Wolves and Coyotes?

People live in fear of the Big Bad Wolf, and his smaller cousin the coyote, even though attacks on humans are rare and deaths are nearly unheard of. Most of the ten annual deaths from wolves are due to pet wolves turning on their owners, not wild wolves seeking prey. And, in all of U.S.Continue reading “How Dangerous are Wolves and Coyotes?”

We Want Them to Hate Us

One of the beautiful things I’ve seen among wildlife rehabilitators, is the deep, selfless respect for the wildness of wildlife. Although it can feel bittersweet when an animal you’ve raised from infancy snarls and bristles and hides from you, it’s also a sign of rehabilitation done right. The goal of wildlife rehabilitation is not toContinue reading “We Want Them to Hate Us”

Rabies Doesn’t Look Like Rabies

I specialize in rescuing wild animals that are categorized as “rabies vector species”— foxes, skunks, and raccoons. It’s been my experience that many people will either enormously over-react or under-react to the risk of rabies. For every person I’ve encountered who has shot a healthy animal for no reason at all, I’ve also encountered manyContinue reading “Rabies Doesn’t Look Like Rabies”

No Safe Litter

We’ve all done it at some point: tossed a banana peel, apple core, or sandwich crust out of our car windows. Many people believe this is safe because food scraps are biodegradable. Unfortunately, food waste has become a leading cause of death for wildlife. When you toss food out the window, it attracts hungry animalsContinue reading “No Safe Litter”

Bobcats: Black Panthers in the South

Believe it or not, it’s possible see wild black panthers, like this one here, naturally in the Southeastern U.S. Although most commonly applied to leopards and jaguars, the term “black panther” can refer to any wild cat with the melanistic (black-colored) mutation. This beautiful fellow is a melanistic bobcat. Only thirteen have been conclusively confirmedContinue reading “Bobcats: Black Panthers in the South”