Is It Really Orphaned?
The most important question is: Does this animal REALLY need my help?
Around half of all animals that rehabilitators receive are animals that did not need to be rescued.
Animals are protective mothers and their babies are always better kept with them versus humans.
BIRDS are on the ground learning to fly. This is called fledging. Some bird species such as robins and blue jays remain on the ground for weeks. These birds look clumsy and injured. Unless you see a visible injury, please leave the fledglings to learn on their own. Mothers are often close by. Cats and dogs are the fledgling's worry. Please keep your cat or dog indoors during this time. If you see a fledgling on the street, gently place it under a bush in a cat or dog free area. Birds that have fallen out of the nest can be placed back in. These birds will have little or no feathers. If the nest is destroyed, then make a nest from a Tupperware type bowl with paper towel inside and vent holes. Please the “nest” back in the tree.
OPOSSUMS that are not injured and are over 7-8 inches long (not including tail) should be left alone. If they are less than 7-8 inches, please do not try to feed them as they do not have the ‘suckle” response and need to be tube fed VERY select formula. Opossums are prone to Metabolic Bone Disease due to diets. This can be fatal. ** If you should find a mother that is dead or hit by a car, check her pouch as more than likely, her babies are alive in there. They will need your help in order to live.
DUCKLINGS stay in groups, so if you do not see a mother around within a couple of hours, it needs rescuing.
RACCOON babies that have been seen for more than a few hours have probably lost their mother, since mother raccoons closely supervise their young and don’t let them out of their sight! You can put an upside down laundry basket over the baby (with a weight on top) and monitor for a few hours. Sometimes raccoon moms will wait until very late to retrieve her babies. Ask around to see if anyone in the neighborhood trapped an adult raccoon or saw one hit by a car. If you do not see the mother after a few hours, contact a licensed wildlife rehabilitator near you for assistance.
SKUNK babies do explore briefly at times away from its mother, yet it is more likely that the skunk has lost sight of the mother. Watch to see if the baby finds the den or if the mother retrieves him. You can put a plastic laundry basked upside down over the skunk to temporarily contain him while waiting for the mother to return. Approach the skunk slowly and talk softly – if the skunk gives a warning by stamping his front feet, then stand still or back off. You can approach again after the skunk calms down. As baby skunks get older, they sometimes come out to explore while the mother is away. Most of the time, however, they don’t appear without her – so if you repeatedly see the baby outside alone, he may be orphaned. If the skunk appears to be truly orphaned, contact a licensed wildlife rehabilitator near you.
SQUIRRELS should be taken indoors for the night if the mother hasn't come back and you can try again in the morning. Squirrels often have a secondary nest if one should fall out of a tree. The mom should come back to retrieve her babies when she feels it’s safe.
DEER will rarely be seen mother and baby together. If you should see a fawn lying down without its’ mother, leave it there until morning and if it has not moved, mom may not be returning and please do call. You may not see mom during he day, but she is probably watching you. Stay away from baby so mom will feel safe to return.
BUNNY nests can be repaired. Skewer sticks, thin string can be placed in a tic tac toe formation over the top of the den. If they are moved the following morning, the mother has come back to take care of them. If not, they need your help. If bunnies are over 5 inches long, eyes open, and can hop, they do NOT need rescuing.URGENT
ALL ANIMALS will avoid coming to retrieve their babies if humans are around. Please watch for signs of mom without being too close or animals seeing you.
As a general rule: If the baby is wandering around crying for an hour, it needs your help. If you do not know, place in a box close to where you found it. if the mother does not come back in 4-6 hours, it needs help.
Keep the baby or injured animal WARM and CONTAINED and QUIET. Put tissues or towels in the box or bag to keep it warm, and cover it. Darkness makes the animal feel more secure. Loud noises are scary, so keep that in mind when selecting a spot for the box. Keep it out of drafts and away from air conditioners. The box can be placed half on and half off a heating pad set on low. If the animal gets too warm it can move to the other end of the box. A water bottle filled with warm water taped (to prevent rolling around) to the inside of the box will work just as well.
If an animal or bird has been caught by a cat or dog get help immediately. Even if wounds are not visible, the animal or bird needs to be given antibiotics.
Please email if you need help