Beck Edwards: A Real Life Wild Kratt

After our coffee and conversation at Bridge City, I knew that TR readers needed to know about Beck Edwards and his business – Upstate Wildlife Rescue.

Beck is your go to person for nuisance wildlife situations – from snakes to possums to raccoons and to foxes and to hawks and to most all variety of creatures in between. (But skip the calls for bears and coyotes, that’s not his area. Bears and coyotes are under the jurisdiction of the Department of Natural Resources.)

He’s young and he’s enthusiastic and he’s passionate about animals and their welfare.

He even arrived in a uniform resembling the two main characters in the popular television show The Wild Kratts. And if you’re of even older generation, you might recall those same guys from their earlier show – Zoboomafoo! (The uniform was actually from his volunteer job with the Search & Rescue team, but the effect is the same!)

Despite his age, Beck isn’t new to this job. He’s been caring for animals and rescuing them since childhood.

And it’s not only nuisance wildlife he cares for. If you discover injured wildlife or you have a car accident with an animal, those are phone calls Beck is prepared to handle. Beck works to get the animals rehabilitated and back into the wild as quickly as possible.

Although he doesn’t handle the rehabilitation process himself, his connections are wide and he knows the right person and the right organization for the specific animal and its needs.

Believe it or not, snakes were his gateway animal. “My granddad used to kill any snake in our yard and I hated that,” he says. “I started picking them up and carrying them into the woods.” The news got out in his neighborhood that he was the one to call for unwanted snakes. “I basically started running a side hustle at sixteen doing snake removal from the neighborhood.” And this literally grew from word of mouth into an actual business – Spartanburg County Snake Removal.

Eventually he began receiving calls for other animals – such as an injured hawk. Beck contacted the proper channels, asking what the regulations were for handling hawks. He was instructed to get a business license and to handle it that way – which is exactly what he did at the age of seventeen. Since then he has undergone training, learned the laws, acquired insurance and purchased humane traps and tools for capturing the animals. “I won’t kill any animal,” he says, taking his role as a protector seriously.

Since those youthful beginnings, Beck and his family have moved to Travelers Rest and he works from here but the calls he receives take him across the entire Upstate and beyond – or wherever he can travel when there’s a need.

While there is a fee for his services, Beck’s mission is animal welfare and money won’t stop him from caring for animals in need. Although I referenced Wild Kratts, Beck says he grew up watching a different sow – The Turtle Man, a show featuring a man skilled in catching snapping turtles but also all other varieties of wildlife, much as Beck does now. “He charged people what they could afford and I like that philosophy. It might not always help me out financially – but I honestly don’t care about the money. I care about saving the animals.”

The most common animals Beck receives calls for are possums or raccoons. These creatures are often without a home from trees being cut down or a mom leaving babies on their own.

Next up for frequency of calls are raptors – hawks and vultures. “I’ve rescued an eagle and some owls,” Beck shares. For eagles, as a protected animal, DNR is required to be called and to be on scene. In fact, all birds of prey are federally protected under the Migratory Bird Act. Even songbirds are protected. When Beck is called out for a bird of prey, he usually ends up taking the injured bird to a center in North Carolina because there are very few locations for these animals. For injured songbirds, he heads to Columbia to the Carolina Wildlife Center. In fact, these long drives are the primary reason Beck asks for payment at all – to cover the costs of travel for the rescued animals.

Beck works throughout both North and South Carolina, servings more than thirty counties in both states, but he’d love to expand his territory into Tennessee and Georgia. He’s looking into the various laws in those two states to be prepared to help animals there.

Last year Beck rescued 57 animals. He keeps extensive records on each animal and works hard to honor the creatures he strives to save.

Add his name to your contacts – you’ll be glad you did when the raccoon shows up or the snake needs relocating.
Beck Edwards
Upstate Wildlife Rescue

You can find him here too:
Upstate Wildlife Rescue

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