Halloween decorations can be the stuff of nightmares for wildlife.
“As far as Halloween decorations, the webs are the most dangerous to wildlife. We have seen birds, squirrels, chipmunks, and even bats tangled in them,” said Mark Naniot, Director of Rehabilitation at Wild Instincts, a wildlife rehabilitation center located in Rhinelander.
The impact of webs is grim for smaller creatures. Birds don’t see the material and once entangled, can injure themselves trying to get out or die of starvation. Cats and other animals will also find them easy prey since they are not strong enough to escape.
Even larger animals can have a hard time escaping. Squirrels and chipmunks that are caught can have circulation cut off to their legs, or panic and struggle to escape so much that they break a leg or foot.
However, it’s possible to have a festive yard while also keeping it safe for animals. “Most decorations are safe, but everyone should take a step back and look at what they are putting out and the potential hazard they could pose to wildlife,” said Naniot. “So many things we do as humans affect wildlife and we don’t even realize it.”
With birds and other small critters in mind, leave the unexpected traps for the trick-or-treaters.