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Does this animal need help?

If you find an animal that appears to be injured or in distress, contact your
local licensed wildlife rehabilitator
BEFORE you handle it. Licensed wildlife
rehabilitators are trained to properly handle and care for wildlife.


Many wild young animals are left alone while their mothers feed elsewhere.
A licensed wildlife rehabilitator can help determine if the animal truly needs
assistance and if it does, provide the proper care. REMEMBER: wild young do
best when left in the wild with their parents.
Click below for species specific advice.

 

Squirrels
If you find a baby squirrel, don’t panic. Mother squirrels have more than one nest and can move her babies to the secondary nest if needed. The mom will come back to retrieve her babies when she feels it’s safe. If you know mom is around, leave the area so she will feel safe to come back to get her babies. It is best to observe from indoors. If you have not seen mom after several hours, put the baby in small box and try to get it in the nearest tree or off the ground. Continue to watch from indoors to see if mom comes back within a few hours. If mom does not return, there are flies, or the baby is injured, please contact a licensed rehabilitator. If your cat brought home a squirrel in its mouth, please contact the wildlife rehabilitator closest to you.

Deer
Mother deer very commonly leave their fawn alone, in a curled up position, while she feeds. If you see a fawn lying down without its mother, leave it alone. You may not see mom during the day, but she is probably watching you. Stay away from baby so mom will feel safe to return. If the fawn has not moved, or mom has not returned by the next morning, please contact the wildlife rehabilitator closest to you. If the fawn is injured, there is a foul odor or flies around it, please contact the wildlife rehabilitator closest to you.

Rabbits
If the rabbits eyes are open, ears are up, and it is larger than a tennis ball, they do NOT need rescuing. Mother rabbits only visit the nest at dusk and dawn to feed the babies.  The “string test” can be done by placing thin string in an “X” formation over the top of the nest. Check the nest the next morning and if the string has been disturbed then mom has been coming back to feed the babies. If you mowed over a nest and the rabbits are not injured, simply place them back in the nest and use the “string test” to make sure mom is coming back to feed them. If the rabbit has obvious injuries, please contact the wildlife rehabilitator closest to you. If your cat brought home a rabbit in its mouth, please contact the wildlife rehabilitator closest to you.

Raccoons
Raccoon moms will sometimes move her babies to another nest once their eyes are open. If the baby’s eyes are open leave the area to give mom a chance to come back for her baby. Watch from indoors to see if mom comes back within a few hours. If mom does not return, there are flies, or the baby is injured, please contact a licensed rehabilitator If the babies eyes are closed it will need help, please call the wildlife rehabilitator closest to you. Raccoons smaller than a football are not old enough to be on their own. If there are obvious injuries, flies or the baby appears to be in very poor body condition, please call the wildlife rehabilitator closest to you.

Skunks
If you find a baby skunk alone that has its eyes closed, please call the wildlife rehabilitator closest to you. As baby skunks get older, they sometimes come out to explore while the mother is away. Most of the time, however, they don’t appear without her. If you repeatedly see a baby outside alone, it may be orphaned. If the skunk appears to be truly orphaned, is injured, or there are flies around it, please contact the wildlife rehabilitator closest to you.


Opossums

Opossums that are not injured and are over 7 inches long (excluding the tail) are old enough to be on their own and should be left alone. If the baby is under 7 inches and all alone, please call the wildlife rehabilitator closest to you. If you find a mother opossum that is dead or hit by a car, check her pouch for babies. Any pouch babies will need help. Do not try to remove them from the pouch. Please contact the wildlife rehabilitator closest to you.

Other Mammals
Wild moms often leave their babies to forage for food and may not be far away. If the baby is wandering around crying for hours, it may need help. If you are not sure or need advice, please contact the wildlife rehabilitator closest to you.

Turtles
If you find a turtle crossing the road, and it does not have injuries, please move it to the side of the road in the direction it was heading so it can continue its journey safely. If the turtle has injuries, please contact the wildlife rehabilitator closest to you.

 

 

NJAWR would like to announce a new easy-reference brochure, “Help! I found a wild animal…What should I do now?” Designed to assist wildlife rehabilitators, ACOs, shelters, and other animal care professionals, the brochure provides basic information for the general public on how to determine if a wild animal needs help, how to safely secure it, and how to find the nearest licensed rehabilitator. Common baby season scenarios are included!

The brochure is now available to download! Click Here!

 

 

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