Wild Fermilab

 This adult snapping turtle suffered a fractured shell when it was hit by a car while trying to cross a busy road. Photo: Willowbrook Wildlife Center


This adult snapping turtle suffered a fractured shell when it was hit by a car while trying to cross a busy road. Photo: Willowbrook Wildlife Center

With all of Fermilab’s open spaces and natural areas, crossing paths with a wild animal is not unusual. Most of the time, these situations result in mutual observation and both parties part ways, uneventfully. Sometimes, however, creatures need a “hands-on” intervention.

This can occur if an animal takes up residence in a space that’s intended for people or equipment. At other times, we might feel compelled to help an injured animal or one in harm’s way. Other times, such as spring, when most animals mate, nest and raise their young, they can become a nuisance. This can happen particularly when animals conduct these activities in locations intended for people or equipment or when they get aggressive, such as during mating season.

Whatever the trouble, Roads and Grounds Manager Dave Shemanske advises employees and users to call Roads and Grounds at x3303 for help dealing with wild animals. Jim Kalina has a reputation as Fermilab’s animal control expert, but anyone on the crew can handle most situations. Roads and Grounds has traps for small- to medium-size animals such as chipmunks, squirrels, possums, raccoons, skunks and beavers. Sometimes Roads and Grounds uses a large net or adjustable pole with noose to secure an animal for transportation back to a remote area where it can be released. They use a mechanical extension hand grabber or a good pair of leather gloves to handle snakes.

No matter what you encounter, act carefully. Watch roads for killdeer anywhere there are rock-covered shoulders and for turtles around the Main Ring. If you come across a turtle in the road, Don’t attempt to handle the turtles. They can bite. Exercise patience, or, if you need it to move, call Roads and Grounds.