do's and don'ts for folks who find orphaned and injured wildlife
DO contact a licensed wildlife rehabilitator in your area (your state dept. of natural resources is the best place to start).
DO have patience when explaining your wildlife story to the rehabber, as they may be dealing with several wildlife emergencies at one time.
DO be understanding and listen to what they have to say.
DO stay or have someone stay with the orphaned or injured animal until the rehabilitator arrives.
If the animal is a small orphan (bunny, bird, raccoon, squirrel, etc.), please DO house them in a properly sized cardboard box, or plastic container or backpack or handkerchief, depending on what you have at the time.
Add a towel or piece of cloth to the container for comfort, and DO keep injured and orphaned wildlife warm while waiting for the rehabber, (close box tops to keep out drafts).
If you have access to a heating pad, DO place half of the container on the pad, so if overheated, the animal can move to the unheated half.
REMEMBER: The trauma that has caused the present predicament for this animal, also places them in danger of going into shock!
DO make sure the animal can breathe while in the container.
DO keep the surrounding area where the animal is placed quiet as this will cut down on the stress that they are experiencing.
If you find a large bird such as waterfowl, that has been injured, (goose, swan, heron), a large towel, bed sheet, or blanket can be used as a gentle capture. Hold the opened sheet in front of you, slowly approach he bird, and place the sheet over her then gently but firmly gather her up and place her in the awaiting cardboard box.
For waterfowl with pointed beaks, use extra precaution, making sure the head is covered and held still, close to your body.
If you do not feel secure doing this, get someone to help you, or stay with the injured bird until the rehabber arrives.
Please DON'T call a rehabber hours after you've seen an injured animal as the animal may have left the area, or may be hiding in brush or tall grass, or may have been found by a predator and dispatched.
Generally speaking: once an animal's head is covered and they are in a dark container, they will calm down.
If you do not feel secure in attempting this yourself, find someone to help you, or wait for the rehabber to arrive.
If you have found a large mammal that is injured, such as a fox, raccoon, bobcat, or lynx, you will most likely need a pet carrier to place them in.
Covering the animal's head and body with a sheet or blanket will calm them, ask someone for help, or wait for the rehabber.
Please DON'T attempt any capture that you do not feel secure about.
Please DO keep your face and hands safe.
DO use common sense.
For small mammals, drops of Pedialyte slowly administered with an eyedropper, can help alleviate dehydration, or follow the instructions that the rehabber gives you over the phone.
Every wildlife rescue is unique, and what works for one rescue may have to be modified for another.
As an addendum: wildlife rehabilitators receive no funding, and perform their services voluntarily. They are also employed at jobs within their community.
The rehab season generally runs from Spring to middle Autumn, with wildlife emergencies happening at any time of the year.May, June, and July are often the busiest months in our area, followed by the Autumn migration period during which many bird injuries can occur.
Wildlife rehabbers are dedicated professionals whose time and resources are strained during the height of the rehab season. Please DO be aware of this when you call for assistance. Please DO ask how you can help.
Wildlife is here for all of us to enjoy and treasure. Please DO support wildlife rescue with a donation, and DON'T forget we all need a little help from time to time.
Raccoon River Bend is a 501 (c) (3) wildlife rehabiitation facility that operates as a charity for orphaned and injured wildlife. We can be reached at 218 834 4129.