What to Do if You Find an Injured or Orphaned Wild Animal

If you ever visit our home, you’ll realize pretty quickly that we are surrounded by quite a bit of wildlife. From the pairs of hawks that soar over our woods to the family of bunnies that snacks in our yard, there’s lots of opportunity for viewing of animals…and for helping them if they need it.

What to Do if You Find an Injured or Orphaned Wild Animal. #animalcare #wildanimals Click To Tweet

How would you feel if you found an injured wild animal or a baby animal looking abandoned? As humans, it’s in our biology to feel empathy. However, the way we act out of our kind hearts can either ameliorate or exacerbate the animal’s condition. 

As a general rule of thumb, humans should never interact with wild animals. That’s why you have to be certain the animal is either injured or orphaned. Here is a good resource to find solutions when dealing with a situation like this.

Imagine a scenario where you find an abandoned baby raccoon, and you take it to a wildlife rehabilitator. Unknown to you, often a mother raccoon leaves her babies alone in camouflaged locations when she is out looking for food. By trying to help, you would have kidnapped the baby raccoon. In this situation, it would be best to know as much information on raccoons as possible. Keep in mind that there’s no amount of nurturing any human can give to a baby animal that’s as good as what will be received from the biological parent. 

Here are some things to look out for to be certain that the animal may need your help:

  • There’s evidence of bleeding
  • The animal has a glaring broken limb
  • The animal is shivering
  • There’s a dead parent nearby
  • There’s a featherless or nearly featherless bird on the ground
  • The animal is crying and wandering all day long
  • The animal is brought to you by your dog or cat

What to Do

Now that you’re certain that the animal requires immediate attention, what exactly are you supposed to do? The right action to take is dependent on the animal’s species, age, and its present condition. 

That’s why the first thing to do is to contact a wildlife rehabilitator. They will give you specific instructions on how to act based on what you describe to them. 

However, here are some tips that can serve as a rough guideline on how to act:

  • Proceed with caution. Injured wild animals are unpredictable and may react aggressively. Smaller animals have delicate limbs so be careful not to apply too much pressure when handling. 
  • Ensure that you wear hand gloves before touching a wild animal. If it’s small, you should capture it gently with towels, a padded box, or soft netting.
  • Keep the captured wild animal in a quiet and dark room away from pets and children. Wild animals are not used to hearing the voices of humans, television, radios, and so on. Therefore, it can dramatically increase their stress level. So, make sure to turn off all devices and keep talking to the barest minimum.
  • DO NOT FEED IT! An injured or orphaned animal is in a state of shock and so, treatment should be the top priority. Think about it, if your child gets injured, would you take him/her to the restaurant or hospital? Moreover, wild animals have unique dietary needs. Feeding them with the wrong food can do way more harm than good.
  • NEVER give cow’s milk or human baby formula to an orphaned young animal. 
  • For abandoned animals that are shivering, you may have to provide a heat source. You can place a heating pad (set to ‘low’) under the carrier box containing them. You may also place a bottle of warm water close to them. Make sure that it’s structured in such a way that the animal can move away if the heat gets too hot. 
  • Patiently wait for the wildlife rehabilitator to arrive. Or after the animal’s condition is stable, take it to your local wildlife rehabilitator. 

Have you ever found an injured or orphaned wild animal? How did you handle the situation?

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.