Heckhaven Wildlife Rehabilitation CenterHeckhaven Wildlife Rehabilitation Center
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Not only do wild animals not make good pets, in most States it is against the law to cage or confine a native wild animal.

Most American wildlife is protected by both State and Federal laws. The mere harassing of certain wildlife is considered a felony crime and can lead to large fines and even imprisonment.

No matter what kind of animal or how young, even a baby orphan with the eyes still closed... eventually the instinct to turn wild will come out.

There are cases where a human raised animal will sometimes be "human imprinted." This only means that the animal will prefer humans to a member of its own species, not that it will be tame. The animal may allow you to feed it and even pet or play with it, but when it reaches between 5 to 7 months of age - sometimes sooner, sometimes later depending on the species, it will start to get aggressive. This does not mean the animal is turning "mean," only that it is developing the instincts that have been bred into it for thousands of years. It is turning "wild."

There is always someone that will say "I had one when I was a kid, it made a great pet." Ask them what happened to the animal? Did it just run off one day and never return, or did it get hit by a car? How old was it when this happened? If they had it longer than 1-2 years, was it just caged in the back yard; did they play with it, or just pet it through the cage wire? A pet is something you love and play with, not just something to say "hi" to at feeding time.

What To Do

A healthy wild animal, unless a newborn baby, will not let a human come near. If you find an animal that is sick or injured - DO NOT TOUCH IT. A SICK OR INJURED ANIMAL WILL ATTACK YOU OUT OF PAIN AND/OR FEAR. Call your Animal Control, Wildlife & Fishery, or State Park Ranger. These people have the equipment and ability to capture and take care of the animal.

Many diseases that an animal can get, can be passed on to humans - these diseases can make a person very sick, cause permanent physical and mental impairment, and can even be fatal.

Peregrine Falcon
Peregrine Falcon


The CENTER will take in any animal (except dogs or cats) that has been orphaned or injured. HECKHAVEN takes in over 1000 animals a year.

LOUISIANA is called the "Sportsman's Paradise." In order to keep this distinction and the tourism it attracts, we must protect and nurture our furred, finned, and feathered neighbors. Pollution, indiscriminate building and land stripping, and hunting overkill are their, AND OUR, worst enemies.
red fox
Red Fox
is a non-profit, non-government funded, totally self-supported Agency, relying on public donations and out-of-pocket contributions.

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