Spring and summer's
when we all venture outside after a long winter.
We'll begin to see and may even encounter baby wild animals
and juvenile young.
important to remember that most of the time
these animals are
NOT in need of being 'rescued'.
difficult to resist that urge to intervene, but you need to use your head,
not your heart, when you
encounter wild animals.
Don't jump to an
immediate conclusion that it needs to be rescued.
That decision can cause
you to inadvertently kidnap that baby animal
and take it from it's mother.
That type of misguided reaction can cause it's death.
you intervene and pick that baby animal up...
to help you establish
animal needs to be brought to a
Are the eyes, ears,
nose, mouth and bottom end clear of any discharges or strong smells?
Does it look 'bloated'
around the abdomen or anywhere on the body?
split the animal in half - is one half noticeably different than the other?
any obvious wounds, puncture marks, scratches, lumps or swelling
Is it wet, or
oily/greasy looking? Does it have an unusual odour to it?
leg/limb 'crooked' in comparison to the other? Is it dragging a leg or
both back legs?
Is one wing
dragging or drooping? (It's normal for fledged baby birds to raise
their wings and flutter them begging for food, and some will sit with
both wings drooped.)
walking abnormally and not putting equal weight on all limbs or legs?
trembling, shaking or does it have it's head tilted to one side?
Is it walking
If the eyes
are open are they white?
Does it make a
'clicking' noise when it breathes?
Is it sneezing?
Is it gasping
for breath? (If it is tipping its head back and periodically gasping
hard for a breath, this is called agonal breathing and it usually signals
impending death. You will see this when it cannot hold up it's head or
support it's neck and then the entire body heaves for a breath. It is
starving for oxygen but there is nothing you can do as this is the end stage
of life. Take the animal to the nearest humane society or animal
control or veterinary emergency clinic if you should find one in this
dehydrated? Do a skin turgor test to determine this. (Never try this with any rabies vector species, you may get hurt
and wear gloves, regardless of what the animal is. Never handle wildlife
with bare hands!) Remember that some species do have wrinkly skin. Skin
turgor can't be determined visually.
Is it cold to
the touch, curled up in a ball, or shivering?
Is it crawling
with fleas, lice, ticks or mites? (Tick infestations in mammal ears begins
inside the ear passages, near the ear canal, and progresses outwards from there. As ticks multiply they will begin to
attach next to each other and resemble a reversed corn cob.)
maggots on it or in it's eyes, ears, nostrils or rectum?
Has it been in
your cat or dog's mouth? (Cat's saliva contains pastuerella bacteria -
untreated, it is a death sentence for wildlife. REMEMBER, cats belong
Is the bird sitting on the ground,
with its feathers fluffed up, itís head tucked under or near a wing and shivering?
You have put
the animal back where you found it and left it there (without hovering over
it every few seconds) and returned 24-48 hrs later and it's still there.
You put the
fawn right back where you found it, and have totally left the area, and when
you return 24-48 hours later, it's still there.
the litter where you found it, returning 24-48 hours later and only some of the
babies have been moved by the mother.
the litter of rabbits where you found them and covered the nest with twigs,
and 48 hours later, sticks remain untouched and babies are now cold.
with its siblings and/or parent and some, or all of them are dead.
It was found
in a swimming pool, under the hood of a car, or is stumbling around in the
middle of a roadway in an area where there is heavy traffic.
answered no to the above questions,
does not need any intervention from a human.
Check the mammal
and bird pages for more specific suggestions and to find out how to put it back
and give it a chance to rejoin its family or for the parent to reclaim it.
A few words in
general about folks who are unwilling
to put the animal back and attempt to
allow it's mother
to reclaim it because there are 'cats and dogs'
possibly other predators) in the area:
It is true that
a 'cat or dog' might get it. As a pet owner, and an authorized
wildlife rehabilitator, I understand the
importance of keeping my cats indoors at ALL times, and my dogs on a leash. I
see the damage inflicted on wildlife by feral cats and free roaming pet cats
on a daily basis.
It's the law for dogs to be on leash when they are off their owners
property, and for pet cats who are let outside, to be IN their owners yard
only, and it's also called responsible pet ownership. Domestic
animals are by no means considered to be a part of 'nature'. They are
not meant to live outdoors.
In spite of
the fact that the wild baby animal ~might be~ taken by a predator, an
attempt MUST be made to allow it to be raised by it's natural parent - not a
substitute human being. To be raised by it's own mother is the BEST
chance that animal has for survival.
to capture a wild animal who is acting aggressively, or is in an area where
your actions to rescue it, might endanger you. Call your local humane
society, animal control or police department for assistance. Do not put
yourself at risk for injury.
If ever you
feel that public health and safety is at risk because of a situation
involving an injured wild animal, call your local police to help you secure
the area and ask people to stay far back. Having a loud audience, some who
are trying to flash pictures at the scene, can badly frighten any injured
wild animal and cause it to panic.
Before you rush
out to 'rescue' any wild animal, please read this!
Definition of the
"To remove something (or someone)
from a dangerous or
When you find a wild baby animal, and you look around,
ask yourself precisely what is
you think you are
'rescuing' this animal from?
Where is the
real (not perceived) danger?
Where is the
real (not perceived) harm?
If you cannot identify a
REAL danger or harm,
then you are not
you are kidnapping that
wild animal from a natural parent.