Wildlife Concerns

The City of Bowie Animal Control Division receives many concerns about wildlife. Because of local urbanization, these animals are no longer people-shy nor do they restrict their travels to the nighttime in their search for food and shelter. We encourage residents to be more tolerant of local wildlife but not to approach them.

Call Bowie Animal Control at 301-809-3002 for wildlife displaying signs of illness, injury, or abnormal behavior, orphaned juveniles, wildlife within living quarters, and deceased wildlife.

Exclusionary & Preventive Measures 

The best way to prevent wildlife from entering your home or taking up residence in your yard is to be proactive and follow the suggestions listed below:

  • Wild animals are not pets. Do not feed them.
  • Use sturdy metal or tough plastic garbage cans with tight lids.
  • Screen all exterior accesses to buildings; including vents, chimneys, windows, doors, attic fans, dryer vents, and areas around rain gutters.
  • Repair holes around foundations, walls, and soffits. Keep vegetation away from the building foundation by at least two feet.
  • Trim tree limbs away from the roof.
  • Keep yard mowed and free of debris and yard waste. Fence off garden areas to keep wildlife out.

Nuisance Wildlife

In The Home
The City provides assistance in removing wildlife located within the living space of your residence. The City is not able to remove wildlife from non-living areas such as in an attic, wall, or crawl space. You may be able to eliminate your problem using techniques found below or a wildlife cooperator can be hired to remove the animals. 

How to select a wildlife cooperator

Outside The Home
The City recommends using exclusionary and deterrent measures to address nuisance behaviors such as getting into trash, eating plants, or taking up residence under a shed. The city does not recommend trapping for these issues because it is only a temporary solution. In addition, to trap healthy wildlife a permit must first be obtained from the MD Department of Natural Resources for most species. Anyone engaging in trapping must follow all applicable laws and should be aware that they are responsible for the well-being and disposition of any animal they capture. The City no longer rents traps for nuisance wildlife found outdoors; however, the City does have a limited number of humane deterrent devices available to residents. 

Additional trapping considerations:

  • Foxes, skunks, coyotes and raccoons (except healthy juvenile raccoons) cannot be relocated in Maryland. They must be released on-site or transported to the Prince George's County Animal Services Facility located at 3750 Brown Station Road, Upper Marlboro, MD 20772 for euthanasia. This is the responsibility of the person setting the trap.
  • For species that can be relocated, you must have written permission from the landowner and their contact information to release at that location.
  • Scrap the trap

The Human Society of the United States(HSUS) offers information and help on wildlife and wildlife problems:

MD Department of Natural Resources Nuisance Wildlife Hotline (877-463-6497)

Orphaned Juvenile Wildlife 
It's not uncommon to see young wildlife in our community. Well meaning humans sometimes find young animals alone and attempt to rescue them; however, the absence of an adult in the immediate area does not mean the baby has been abandoned. For example, rabbit mothers only visit their young twice a day, at dusk and dawn, to feed. A rabbit's nest may be little more than a divot in the grass. Should you accidentally uncover one, it is best to recover the babies if there is no evidence of injury. Similarly, a young bird hopping along the ground may appear injured, but in reality it is a fledgling that hasn't quite learned how to fly yet.

Signs that a wild animals needs your help

  • Presented by a cat or dog
  • Evidence of bleeding
  • An apparent or obvious broken limb
  • Featherless or nearly featherless and on the ground
  • Shivering
  • A dead parent nearby
  • Crying and wandering all day long

If you do not see one of the aforementioned signs, monitor the animal for a few hours to see if the parent returns. If the baby remains in good condition, be assured it is being cared for, even if you haven't seen the parent. Please refer to HSUS Orphaned Wildlife page for more species specific information and tips for successful reunions. There are a limited number of wildlife rehabilitators and these resources need to be reserved for those wild animals that truly need to be rescued. Additionally, please do not attempt to raise or care for a wild animal yourself. It is illegal to possess native wildlife without the proper permits, but more importantly, improper diet and care greatly lessens the animal's chance of survival and you could be exposed to zoonotic diseases in the process.

If you have determined that an animal is in need of help, please call Bowie Animal Control at 301-809-3002 or Prince George's County Animal Services at 301-780-7200. You can place a box or laundry basket over the animal to contain it. If you must handle the animal, do so only while wearing gloves. Keep the animal in a quiet, dark, warm place until Animal Control arrives or you are able to transport the animal to a wildlife rehabilitator