Orphaned Baby Animals
Do's and don'ts of baby wildlife rescue
Just some general rules before taking wildlife...
- Disturb nests- if a human is constantly hanging around, the parent will not return
- Take fawns- it is instinctive for a fawn to keep still and a parent is probably close by watching you
- Touch or handle raccoons, foxes or skunks...these are Rabies Vector Species and can possibly spread disease
- Assume young birds on the ground are orphaned right away... when birds are learning to fly, they spend a few days on the ground practicing their flight. A parent is usually nearby watching over the youngster and comes down periodically to feed.
Before rescuing, make sure the animal NEEDS your help
- Keep an eye on the young/nest – if the parent does not return within a couple of hours to 24 hours (depending on species), assume it is orphaned
- Watch for natural predators and move it to a safe place if in danger (ex. Roaming neighborhood cats, traffic, etc)
- Place baby birds back into the original nest – if the nest is unreachable or knocked down, make a fake nest and place it in a nearby tree
- Place an X of sticks across a disturbed rabbit nest – if a parent returns, the X will be removed from its position within 24 hours...if the X is not disturbed, assume the young are orphaned
If an animal DOES need rescued...
- Allow children or pets to play with the animal – animals carry disease and also stress very easily, causing death in many species
- Give water – birds, in particular, will drown if water is poured into their mouths
- Feed any food– not all birds eat worms! DO NOT feed bread! DO NOT feed milk!
- Carefully place the animal in a box or paper bag (wear gloves!) and place it in a dark, quiet place away from children and pets
- Keep the animal warm
- Call a licensed wildlife rehabilitator as soon as possible
Click here to learn more about Wildlife Rehabilitation
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