Any animal that is obviously injured or ill needs to be rescued.
You can tell a juvenile animal is injured or ill if it is:
Cold and still
Covered in flies and/or maggots
Has open wounds or a fractured limb or wing.
Cannot use one or more of its legs.
Recently been in the mouth of a pet dog or cat.
Determining if a juvenile animal is orphaned can be difficult to tell at times, especially in species such as Eastern Cottontails and Fox Squirrels. Remember, an baby's best chance of survival is with its mother! Please do NOT attempt to raise an orphaned animal by yourself. Baby animals need raised with specific housing, handling, and diet plans in minds. If an a baby animal can no longer be with its mother, the WCC has trained staff that are well equipped to give orphaned wildlife their best chance for a successful release back in to the wild. There are some obvious indications that an animal has been orphaned, in which case they will need brought to a licensed rehabber for continuation of care. If it is after the WCC's on-call hours, refer the information below for how to determine if the baby is orphaned and if so, house it until you can bring it to a wildlife rehabilitation center for further care:
For Juvenile Squirrels:
For Juvenile Rabbits:
For Juvenile Opossums:
- You find the mother dead next-to or nearby a litter of young.
- A solitary baby is found alone with no mother nearby.
For Juvenile Birds:
- A small, bald and/or mostly featherless baby is found on the ground without 1.) a nest nearby or 2.) an attentive parent nearby visiting the offspring.
- Fledgling songbirds will be mostly feathered but haven't grown in full adult plumage. Fledging owls will appear downy, fluffy, and may be hopping from branch to branch. Parents will still stay close by and visit these offspring to bring food so watch for this behavior before determining the baby to be orphaned.
- In the case of songbirds, if a nest can be located, carefully transfer the baby back to its nest and watch for a parent to visit. In the case of owls, determine which tree the baby came from (if this determination cannot be made, bring to a wildlife rehabber). Place the owlet in a laundry basket with sticks in a nest shape and place securely as high in their tree as you can. Watch for a parent to visit during the night and if not, contact a wildlife rehabber.
If you determine the baby animal is injured or orphaned after our hours please leave us a voicemail and house it until we are able to contact you. To house the animal overnight do the following:
Find a box or critter carrier and line it with an old shirt or towel.
Wear gloves to pick up the animal and place it in the box.
Place the box half on a heating pad set to LOW or give the baby a warm water bottle.
Keep the box in a dark, quiet, and warm room away from any kids or pets.
Do NOT feed the animal or give it water. Feeding a sick or compromised animal can cause illness and death.
Do NOT talk to, pet, or hold the animal. Wild animals get extremely scared and stressed and this can lead to death.
Do NOT attempt to keep and/or raise a wild animal on your own. It is ILLEGAL to try to keep a wild animal without the appropriate permits. Please contact us for help!
Always wear gloves if you have to handle a wild animal. If you or anyone else is bitten or scratched by a wild animal, contact your health care provider immediately.