Native mammals are protected by state laws and it is illegal for the public to possess these creatures. It is imperative that any injured or orphaned mammals be brought to a permitted wildlife rehabilitator so that they can get proper care.
Leave the animal alone if…
- The parent is nearby. Parents rarely abandon healthy offspring. It is natural for some species to leave their young for several hours unattended (rabbits, deer) while eating, as to not draw attention the baby’s location.
- If the animal appears healthy, alert, bright-eyed and is not in apparent danger. Observation may be necessary to determine if the animal really needs to be rescued. Watch from some distance away, preferably from a window inside the house. Keep children and pets away so the reunion between mother and baby can be accomplished.
- The parent is known dead and the baby is too young to be on its own.
- The animal is weak, thin, and cold or appears sick.
- The animal is injured in any way, including cat or dog bite, hit by car or shot.
- There are flies, ants or insects on or around the animal.
- If the animal is in obvious danger, including problems with other animals, people or any life threatening situation that cannot be rectified.
Basic rescue rules
- Do not attempt to rescue the animal if you feel there is a danger to yourself. Call a rehabilitator.
- Never give water, milk or any food to the animal. Giving an injured or dehydrated animal food can kill it. Let the rehabilitator access the animal and administer the proper fluids.
- Place the animal in a cardboard box of similar size to the animal if possible, so that he can’t thrash around. You may put in paper towels or a soft cloth such as a t-shirt. Do not use terry clot, such as bath towels. Toenails can easily become entangled in the loops. Punch air holes and tape the box shut.
- Place the box somewhere warm, dark and quiet away from pets and children. If you have a heating pad, you can place it under the box on low.
- Handle the animal as little as possible and wash hands thoroughly. Do not allow children to handle the animal.
- Call a rehabilitator
In most states, it is illegal to possess a wild animal or bird. It is also illegal for a veterinarian to treat, neuter or give shots to wildlife unless they are working with a permitted wildlife rehabilitator.