Wildlife Identification Assistance

Strange new plant growing in your flower bed? An odd, creepy crawly insect found scurrying across your basement floor? Unknown animal leaving night time “deposits” on your deck?

If you need assistance determining the source or identity of an unknown plant or animal found on your property, then we are able to help. But first, there a few guidelines on properly handling any unknown plant or animal you encounter, and a couple laws to be aware of.

  • Some plants and fungi are extremely toxic to consume or can cause allergic reactions by contacting bare skin… poison ivy is the most commonly encountered, but other examples exist. Be cautious when handling any unknown plant or fungus, and use gloves or other methods to prevent exposure if you decide to collect or remove a sample.
  • Live animals are known to defend themselves in any way possible. Insects can often bite or sting, and some (especially caterpillars) have stinging “hairs” that can cause severe irritation when handled. Reptiles, mammals and birds will often bite when cornered or contained, so take precautions if attempting to capture anything.
  • Ohio law prohibits the possession of “state-listed” species that are designated threatened, endangered, etc. If you think your plant or animal in question may be state listed, do not collect the individual. Two commonly encountered groups of animals that fall into this category are bats and freshwater mussels.
  • Human safety is the number one priority. Do not risk personal health simply to find out what something is.
  • Collected plants should be kept in a sealed bag or plastic container to prevent the spread of seeds or parasites off-site. Large Ziploc style bags are preferred as they allow for identification without removing the plant from the container.
  • Insects should be placed in clear glass or plastic jars, or a container with a clear lid. Live insects are generally easier to identify than dead ones. If you have to scrape it off the bottom of your shoe, chances are slim that a positive ID can be made.
  • Do not bring live mammals, reptiles or birds to our office or ID. Our Wildlife Specialist will arrange a site visit if necessary to identify the animal in question.
  • A majority of identification can be accomplished through a good quality photograph. Digital images that can be emailed are often all that is required for a positive ID.

Our Wildlife Specialist can make site visits or “house calls” within Fairfield County. Contact our office to schedule an appointment in case of specimens that cannot be collected for identification.