Some tips to make Halloween decor less scary for wildlife

An owl who had gotten caught up in some decorative Halloween cobwebs in 2017 outside of a residence in Mill Valley, Calif.

Fake cobwebs and some other spooky, outdoor Halloween decorations meant as harmless fun can do real damage to wildlife.

Halloween spending has skyrocketed in recent years, and the National Retail Federation says Americans are expected to spend $2.7 billion on Halloween decorations this year.

Wildlife organizations say they also have seen an increase in animal visits to local rehabilitation centers for injuries related to the outdoor holiday decorations.

“The fake cobwebs are of particular concern,” said Lisa Bloch, director of communications for the Marin Humane in Novato, California. When they’re strung across bushes and trees, “wildlife can easily get stuck in these webs.”

The fake webs can trap animals, said Alison Hermance of WildCare, a nonprofit wildlife hospital and nature education center in San Rafael, California. Birds caught in them can damage their wings and claws. Chipmunks and other low-to the-ground rodents can also get caught and damage their paws.

If you observe an animal in trouble, always call a wildlife center before intervening, Bloch said.

Halloween lights and other items that dangle also can pose problems for wildlife. Deer and elk can get holiday lights, netting, clothing and other materials stuck in their antlers, said Jason Clay of the Colorado Parks and Wildlife’s Denver office. “We see it every year,” he said.

Be aware of what paths animals use in your yard, and avoid placing decorations there, Clay said.

Pumpkins and other food items should be disposed of promptly because they entice animals to come closer to your home than they normally would, putting them in contact with pets and increasing the risk of getting hit by a car, Hermance said.

Don’t leave any decorations up for an extended period, adds Bloch. “It’s good to be mindful and remove the decorations as soon as you’re done celebrating.”

Copyright 2019 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

(0) comments

Welcome to the discussion.

Keep it clean. Please avoid obscene, vulgar, lewd, racist or sexually-oriented language.
Engage ideas. This forum is for the exchange of ideas, insights and experiences, not personal attacks. Ad hominem criticisms are not allowed. Focus on ideas instead.
TURN OFF CAPS LOCK.
Don't threaten. Threats of harming another person will not be tolerated.
Be truthful. Don't knowingly lie about anyone or anything.
Be nice. No racism, sexism or any sort of -ism that is degrading to another person.
No trolls. Off-topic comments and comments that bait others are not allowed.
No spamming. This is not the place to sell miracle cures.
Say it once. No repeat or repetitive posts, please.
Help us. Use the 'Report' link on each comment to let us know of abusive posts.