What if I find a…?
First we need to establish if the animal you have found really needs your help. Wild parents will leave their babies in a safe place to find food and will come back and take care of them. But sometimes bad things happened, and they do need your help. So…
If you find a sick, injured or orphaned animal, please do the following:
- Do call us immediately at 636-677-3670.
If we do not answer the phone, please leave a message and we will get back to you as soon as possible. If it is a baby animal, and is in a safe place like under a bush in your yard, with no obvious injuries, leave it where it is and check on it every 15 minutes until we call you back. If it is obviously injured, has flies or other insects on it, or was walking around making sounds, capture it safely and proceed with steps 2-5 below.
- Do not feed any animal or you find.
They need to recover from shock before being given solid food, and our rehabbers will evaluate when the are strong enough to eat. We keep them hydrated with special fluid and electrolyte solutions until they can eat. Water, milk, formula, supermarket meat, cat and dog food can all be potentially poisonous to an animal, and force feeding them could cause them to choke.
- Do keep baby animals warm.
Place them in a shoebox with a cloth or paper towel. Placing them on a latex glove filled with warm water and tied off, and covered with paper towel or rag, works well.
- Do keep pets and small children away from the animal.
Keep them in a safe, dry place like a closed bedroom, garage or garden shed, until it can be transported to the clinic.
- Do not keep picking the animal up, cuddle or stroke it, or poke and prod it.
Wild animals are not used to the human comforting sounds and actions of humans, like our pets are. Interacting them more than absolutely necessary can cause excessive stress and raise their heart rate and breathing rate, causing further stress on their bodies that are already trying to recover.
WHAT TO DO…
- If the baby is injured or has been touched by a cat, call a rehabilitation ASAP.
- If the baby is uninjured, stay back and give mom a chance to retrieve her young. Give a few hours, even if baby is crying (the cries will alert mom to where baby is).
- Moms typically have two nests, so if one is damaged she can move her young to the other.
- If there are cats, dogs or too many people in the area, you can put the baby in a shoe box attached partway up the tree where the nest is.
- If you are worried or unsure, call a licensed rehabilitator for advice.
IF YOU MUST TAKE A BABY SQUIRREL IN…
- Put the baby in a box with an old, clean t-shirt (to avoid toenails from getting tangled in the loops of a towel).
- Keep them in a warm, dry place, away from pets.
- To keep younger babies warm, fill a sports drink bottle with warm water, wrap in cloth and put it in the box with the baby.
- DO NOT offer and food or water. Aspiration pneumonia is very hard to cure, and improper formulas cause more problems than they solve.
- Call a licensed rehabilitator in your area and get the baby to them as soon as possible.
Raccoons are great moms. PLEASE let them raise their own babies!
If you find ‘misplaced’ baby raccoons, put them in a box overnight along a path that the mother would take. She will find and relocate them.
DO NOT KEEP BABY RACCOONS TO RAISE YOURSELF
- In most places, possessing raccoons without a permit is illegal and can cause the animals to be confiscated. YOU WILL BE FINED!
- They may have diseases that can be transmitted to you or your other pets, such as rabies, distemper or parvovirus.
- Parasites such as fleas and ticks can be a nuisance, but raccoon roundworms can be life threatening to humans and other animals.
- If not raised properly from the start, they will not be successful in the wild.
- While extremely cute as babies, mating season will cause their wild instincts to kick in, creating a potential for dangerous situations.
If you must handle wild animals, please be careful! Wear gloves and wash hands.
Even if the mother opossum on the road is dead, her babies can be saved!
Often, in the spring and summer, adult opossums are hit and killed on the road. Babies can be saved if pulled off of the mom in time!
Wear gloves if you can, and wash your hands after.
Opossums joeys (babies) swallow their mother’s nipple, which drips milk into the baby’s stomach continuously. This helps to ensure that baby doesn’t fall out of the pouch. To remove one, hold very close to the face of the baby and gently pull until you feel a release. Once you pull them out, put them in a box with a cloth under them and find a licensed rehabilitator as soon as possible.
DO NOT give them any food or water, but do keep them in a warm, dry place away from pets and children.
Opossum benfits to humans:
As America’s only marsupial, opossums do many things for humans, including keeping down the rodent population and cleaning up “road kill.”
- Mom Cottontail Rabbits DO NOT sit on the nest to keep the baby bunnies warm.
- She has her OWN nest 30 feet away.
- Mom Cottontail Rabbits spend 5 minutes PER DAY nursing her babies. ONCE in the early morning, ONCE in the late evening.
- Baby bunnies leave the nest at 2 weeks old and are completely on their own at 3-4 weeks of age.
MY PET OR LAWNMOWER RUINED THE NEST! WHAT DO I DO??
- Check the bunnies for visible injuries and repair the nest.
- Mom rabbit adds her hair to the nest, along with leaves, branches and soft items she finds to keep the babies warm.
- Place the bunnies back in the nest and cover it with nest material
- KEEP PETS AND CHILDREN AWAY FROM IT
BUNNIES NEED YOUR HELP IF THEY:
- Are visibly injured
- Are blue or immobile
- Are visibly thin
- Have fly larvae or maggots on them
- Are dehydrated
IF YOUR BUNNY HAS ANY SIGNS ABOVE, BRING TO A WILDLIFE REHABILITATOR IMMEDIATELY.
THOROUGHLY READ THE INFORMATION GIVEN HERE.
If you encounter a skunk in the wild, the first thing to know is BE QUIET! Remember,they don’t want to be around you any more than you do them. You DO NOT want to appear threatening.
Here’s what to do:
- Back away, quickly but quietly.
- Move at an angle – not on a direct “spray path” to the skunk. Remember, they can spray accurately up to 20 feet. You can’t move that fast, so if they spray, you want to be out of that zone.
- If the skunk seems to chase you, get in the nearest safe building and call fro help.
A skunk’s only normal defense is to spray, and they only do so if they feel their life or the lives of their young are in danger. Appearing as quiet and non-threatening as possible will help keep you smelling as fresh as you did before you spotted the skunk.