Halloween decor can be deadly for wildlife
TORONTO -- Halloween can be a scary affair not just for children, but for animals as well.
Pet owners are typically aware of the risks around electrical wires and other chewing hazards: chocolate, raisins, sugar-free sweeteners for dogs; liquid potpourri and glow sticks for cats.
But wildlife officials are also warning homeowners to be mindful of the dangers some outdoor decorations can pose for wild animals, especially items like the popular fake spider webbing and nets that hang on trees and bushes.
“It’s often flying animals, birds, or insects that can end up getting kind of tangled up in it and unable to free themselves,” Stephanie Touzalin, a naturalist with the Willowbrook Wildlife Center in Glen Ellyn, Ill., told CTV News Channel.
There are reports of entanglements every year, Touzalin said, adding that homeowners have also sent photos, often when it is too late to rescue the animals.
“Anything we’re putting outside into their world, we want to think, ‘Could this be a hazard?’”
Be aware of the type of materials used to hang decorations as well. Fishing lines, for example, are very dangerous for wildlife, Touzalin said. Other dangers include items that are not secured against a wall or other surface, such as Christmas lights that hang loose in trees, which can be a source of entanglement as well.
There is one decor item that can be animal friendly, however: pumpkins. After Halloween, Touzalin suggests composting them, or leaving them out for wild animals to eat, as long as there are no glitter or other decor on them.
“Of course we don’t want to ruin everyone’s fun and not have any decor. But just being aware of what’s out there and keeping an eye on it and taking it down in a reasonable time,” said Touzalin.
“Try and think like an animal and look for these hazards.”