Some of the questions most commonly asked about wildlife are addressed by the following paragraphs. Please keep in mind that if any animal, baby or adult, needs rescuing, the sooner you get it to an experienced and licenced wildlife rehabilitator, the better the chances are for the animal's survival.
- Most baby animals are not abandoned even though you may not see the parents. Parent animals leave the nest to forage for food for the babies, and feed themselves, and can remain hidden in relatively little cover. Watch from a well-hidden place to see if the parents return. Please do not disturb the nest. Birds, for instance, will return to the nest to feed babies every 15 minutes to half hour if they do not feel threatened. Rabbits, on the other hand, only return to the nest twice a day. If you are not sure about a rabbit nest, sprinkle flour around the perimeter of the nest and leave it alone. The mother rabbit will leave tracks in the flour. Do not disturb her nest. If the mother rabbit does not return to her nest within 10-12 hours, or if a mother bird does not return to her nest within 4-8 hours, please contact a wildlife rehabilitator in your area from our Referral Directory, or contact DNR at 1-877-463-6497 for a referral.
- We were all taught as youngsters that a parent animal will not care for a baby after humans have touched the baby. This is not true. Approaching a wild animal's nest or offspring can cause a parent animal to leave the area. However, if you return the baby to the nest and leave the area, parents will return to care for the baby. The longer you remain in the area, the more likely you are to disrupt the normal behavior of the parents. If you are sure the baby animal is abandoned or lost, contact a wildlife rehabilitator in your area from our Referral Directory.
- If you know that a baby animal is orphaned because you have seen the parents injured or killed, and the baby animal's body feels cool to the touch, or the baby is crying loudly, you must act quickly AND CAREFULLY. Wild animals, even babies, can injure you. If you are willing to help, please place the animal in a box lined with paper towels with a source of heat, such as a hot water bottle or a heating pad. The source of heat should be warm to the touch but not hot. Please do not allow your children to play with or hold the animal. As much as your children would enjoy this experience, it is terribly frightening to a baby animal. Place the animal in a dark, warm and quiet place, and immediately call a rehabilitator in your area from our Referral Directory or call DNR at 1-877-463-6497 to get a referral. The sooner you get the animal to an experienced rehabilitator, the better the chances are for the animal's survival.
- Ducklings found alone should not be left alone. Mallard hens do not return to the nest once ducklings are hatched. Chances are they hatched after the hen and other hatchlings left or they fell behind. Do not try to introduce them to other hens and ducklings as the hen will undoubtedly defend her own clutch and may possibly try to kill other ducklings. Please keep the duckling(s) in a warm and dark box lined with paper towels, and please do not give them water to swim in. They can chill and drown in a very small amount of water. Please do not allow your children to play with or hold the duckling(s). Call a rehabilitator near you from our Referral Directory or call
DNR at 1-877-463-6497 for a referral. The sooner you get the duckling(s) to an experienced wildlife rehabilitator, the better the chances are for the duckling's survival.
- Baby mammals and birds do not eat cow's milk, eggs, or bread. Please do not feed any of these to any baby animal, bird or mammal. In fact, injured or chilled animals should not be fed at all. Again, keep it warm, quiet and isolated. Please do not allow children to handle the animal. Contact one of the wildlife rehabilitators in your area from our Referral Directory or call DNR at 1-877-463-6497 for a referral to a wildlife rehabilitator in your area.
- If you find an adult bird or mammal that is injured, please keep in mind that stress from capture and handling will jeopardize its chances of recovery. Place it in a cardboard box or kennel carrier lined with a towel or paper towels, cover the box with a towel to block light (it will still be able to breathe), and place it in a dark, warm, quiet, and protected place. Please do not try to comfort the animal by talking to it or holding it. It is very likely in pain and is most certainly terrified by contact with a human. Contact a wildlife rehabilitator immediately from our Referral Directory Again, the sooner you get the animal to an experienced wildlife rehabilitator, the better the chances are for the animal's survival. We cannot stress this enough.
- If you find an injured raccoon, skunk or fox, PLEASE do not attempt to handle the animal. It is possible that the animal could carry rabies. Please check our Referral Directory for an RVS permitted rehabilitator and immediately call them.