Wildlife & Your Safety
The SUNY Purchase campus is home to a diverse group of wildlife including but not limited to deer, rabbits, song birds, birds of prey, fox, skunks, raccoons and even the occasional coyote.
We ask that you respect and protect wildlife by showing them no harm and by refraining from feeding them. NEVER approach or attempt to pet wildlife. It is important for wildlife to remain “wild.” Please make sure your garbage is placed in trash bags and then in the dumpsters or trash cans. Wildlife in general are opportunistic feeders and will look for food in any place that someone leaves it!
- NEVER approach a wild animal.
- Just because an animal is cute does not mean it is nice and wants you to touch it, especially baby or juvenile wild animals.
- Animals we know to be normally active at night are now often seen during the day.
- Animals seen in the daytime are not automatically “sick.”
Animals may be out during the day for several reasons, some of which include:
- Looking for food; they are opportunistic feeders.
- During Spring / early Sumer, animals will come out when looking for food for their young.
- Animals are habituated to the environment and the people around them.
- They are simply going from one place to another.
Q: How do I know when an animal is sick?
A: Animals that are out during the day AND are acting abnormally (i.e. staggering, falling over, biting at the air, having a seizure, circling, you notice flies hovering above the animal, or generally “looking ill”) MAY need to be captured and humanely euthanized. Call University Police so that they can determine if an animal needs immediate attention.
Q: What do I do if I’ve been bitten by a wild animal?
A: If you come in contact with or are bitten by a wild animal, immediately wash the area with warm water and soap. Contact the University Police so that the animal may be captured and seek immediate medical attention via your private physician or if necessary, the emergency hospital. You should also contact the Westchester County Department of Health at (914) 813-5000.
Q: How do I know if an animal has Rabies?
A: There are other viruses that mimic Rabies in animals. The only definitive way to know if an animal has Rabies is to have it tested. Unfortunately, the only way to test an animal is to test the brain after the animal has been humanely euthanized. Although Rabies can cause an animal to act aggressively (“furious or aggressive form”), it may also cause a wild animal to behave in a tame or overly friendly manner (“dumb form”). An adult wild animal who comes up to you is probably ill while a baby animal may simply be confused or not yet afraid of people. In any case, DO NOT HANDLE the animal and resist any urge to pet it. Contact University Police so that they can assess the animal.
Q: Why would an animal act aggressively? Does that mean it is sick?
A: An aggressive animal is automatically acting that way as a result of being sick. Many things cause an animal to behave aggressively:
- It is defending its young.
- It is defending its territory.
- It just secured a food item and is protecting its meal.
- You startled the animal.
- You have missed the subtle signs the animal displayed in an effort to keep you away and it now feels threatened. Since you can’t know the normal behavior for each wild animal, it is best to LEAVE IT ALONE. For more information on Rabies: The Westchester County Department of Health and the The Center for Disease Control
Q: Will a sick animal be tested for rabies?
A: A sick animal will NOT be tested for Rabies unless it has come into contact with or has bitten someone.
Q: What if there is a bat in my room?
A: Any bat found inside a residence MUST be tested. Call New York State University Police so that they may contact a Nuisance Control agent to remove the bat.