Ammonia, umbrellas can help first responders who encounter exotic animals

A crocodile found swimming in a creek in West Alexandria two weeks ago was shocking to the people who discovered it and those living nearby.

RELATED: ODNR: Highly unlikely other crocodiles in Bantas Fork Creek in West Alexandria

Tim Harrison, the director of Outreach for Animals, met with local officials and first responders Wednesday to teach them what they should do when they encounter an exotic animal where it’s not supposed to be.

“It was really eye opening in regards to what types of exotic animals are in this area,” said Mike Jameson, assistant chief Turtlecreek Twp. Fire/EMS. “Being in the state of Ohio, you wouldn’t think of large cats like lions and tigers and venomous snakes and things like that in this area.”

Harrison shared several tricks of the trade to help first responders in some of these situation.

New information to those in attendance is that ammonia can get a snake or tiger to release from a bite and back off.

“That and popping an umbrella in front of the big cats, having that as a barrier never, ever thought of anything like that,” Jameson said.

>> Edgewood Schools closed Thursday for student’s possible E. coli infection

Since July of 2013, the Ohio Department of Agriculture has dealt with 257 dangerous wild animals, half of those crocodiles. Harrison said he has dealt with far more exotic animals than that.

As a former public safety officer he said he enjoys sharing his knowledge with others, especially police and fire crews.

“Because they’re always the first ones on the scene, it’s going to be them, it’s not going to be the zoo, it’s not going to be anyone else. It’s going to be them showing up when that lion is loose and I want them to be safe,” Harrison said.

The Ohio Department of Natural Resources Division of Wildlife is still investigating where the 7½ foot crocodile came from. It was found Aug. 14 in Bantas Fork Creek on property of the Hilltop Equestrian Center.

About the Author