What to do when coming across displaced animals after a storm

During and after a storm, some animals become disoriented and sometimes displaced. So wild animals can pose a danger.

Strong, sometimes even weak storms will knock animals out of their homes, and into yours and the surrounding communities. 

Humans can get out of a storm’s path — and some animals can sense a storm coming and flee — but there are a lot of animals that simply can’t get out of the way. 

During and after a storm, some animals become disoriented and sometimes displaced. So wild animals can pose a danger.

According to Animal Ethics, a public charity, larger wildlife move to avoid floodwaters, and this is when wildlife can start coming into conflict with people and communities.

Instead of interacting with or feeding displaced animals, even if they appear abandoned, it’s better to let them be, as they will typically return to their original habitat.

Keeping these general tips in mind will help you and your family if you encounter a wild animal inside your home or in your communities after a storm: 

  • Stay a safe distance away from all animals, even if they seem friendly.
  • Do not corner an animal. If an animal needs to be removed, call your local animal control authorities. Do not try to catch it yourself.
  • If you are bitten by an animal, try to keep track of it. Wash out wounds with soap and water, then go see your doctor immediately. The doctor will let you know if you need to take rabies shots to keep from getting the disease.
  • Don't leave garbage or pet food outside. It will attract wild and stray animals. Rats may also be a problem during and after a hurricane. If you must put garbage outside, be sure it is put in sturdy, metal cans with tight-fitting lids.
  • Remove any animal carcasses in the area by contacting your local animal control authorities.

Really be on the lookout for snakes, mosquitoes, and other insects as heavy rain and flooding can lead to an increase in the animals in community areas.

Snakes tend to seek drier ground after heavy rains and flooding. They can be found swimming in water or hiding under debris, and they should be avoided. The CDC recommends backing away slowly if you see a snake.

In the case of a snake bite, try to remember what the snake looked like. Call 911 or local emergency services, and keep the bitten person calm and still. According to the CDC, they recommend situating a person so their heart remains elevated above the bite wound.

And we may see this a lot in TV shows or movies, but do not cut the wound or try to suck the venom out. 

Mosquitos and other insects that appear in the aftermath of a storm will mostly be pests to you. You can ward them off with repellents that contain DEET or Picaridin, wear long sleeves and pants, drain any outdoor standing water, and don’t wear perfume or other scented products.

The CDC says after a disaster, like a hurricane, the number of rats and mice is often reduced. But they can still be attracted to food, water, and shelters such as garbage, dirty dishes, and debris inside your home. 

They can spread disease and harm property, so remove any potential sources of food or shelter and wash pans and other kitchen utensils as soon as possible before and after a storm. 

Also, if you come across displaced animals that are crowded together in a small area, they risk major outbreaks of disease and parasite infestations, so stay away.

The first priority is to stay safe yourself. Even if you come across an animal that’s injured due to the storm, it’s always recommended to avoid trying to handle an injured animal on your own unless you have had specific training. It’s best to call your local wildlife rescue organization.