What not to do when you find wildlife in distress

I found an animal and called a rehab- what now?

1) Please do not touch with bare hands! Wear thick gloves. Even severely injured animals can move quickly enough to bite you, and you don’t know what diseases or parasites they may transfer to you- or you to them. Get the animal into a carrier or box as soon as possible. Our touch doesn’t comfort wildlife like it does a dog or cat- it frightens them.

Do not put towels or blankets directly onto a porcupine. The barbs will stick and will get ripped out when rehabbers have to remove the blanket, which hurts the animal. If you don’t have gloves, use a shower curtain to move a porcupine with.

2) Keep the animal in a dark, quiet space. If you’re using a box, make sure there’s plenty of air flow. An animal carrier with a blanket draped over it is ideal. Keep noise to a minimum- that means car radio, loud voices, etc. Remember, wild animals don’t know that we’re helping them. The stress of being in an alien environment added to the stress of injury or sickness can, and does, kill wildlife.

3) Do not feed or give water. ​You don’t know what kind of trauma the animal may be suffering, and food/water can harm wildlife that have unseen internal injuries. Let a rehabber do an exam and properly administer nutrients.

4) Keep babies warm. Do not feed any milk or formula. Feeding baby animals with the improper tools, formula temperature/mixture, or too fast can seriously harm them. They also need a source of warmth. Try filling hot water from the tap into a plastic water bottle and wrapping the bottle in a hand towel. Set this next to or under the towel/blanket with the babies. Make sure to refill with hot water when it cools down.

5) Transfer the animal(s) to a rehab as soon as possible. Getting the wildlife to someone who can properly care for it is the best way to maximize the animal’s survival!