(Only adults should rescue baby mammals. Before rescuing adult mammals, seek guidance from a wildlife rehabilitator.)
- Prepare a container. Place a soft cloth on the bottom of a cardboard box or cat/dog carrier with a lid. If it doesn’t have air holes, make some. For smaller animals, you can use a paper sack with air holes punched in.
- Protect yourself. Wear gloves, if possible. Some animals may bite or scratch to protect themselves, even if sick. Wild animals commonly have parasites (fleas, lice, ticks) and carry diseases.
- Cover the animal with a light sheet or towel.
- Gently pick up the animal and put it in the prepared container.
- Warm the animal if it’s cold out or if the animal is chilled. Put ONE END of the container on a heating pad and set on low. Or fill a zip-top plastic bag, plastic soft drink container with a screw lid, or a rubber glove with hot water; wrap the warm container with cloth and put next to the animal. Make sure the container doesn’t leak, or the animal will get wet and chilled.
- Tape the box shut or roll the top of the paper bag closed.
- Note exactly where you found the animal. This will be very important for release.
- Keep the animal in a warm, dark, quiet place.
- Don’t give the animal food or water.
- Leave it alone; don’t handle or bother it.
- Keep children and pets away.
- Contact a wildlife rehabilitator, state wildlife agency, or wildlife veterinarian as soon as possible.
- Don’t keep the animal at your home longer than necessary.
- Keep the animal in a container; don’t let it loose in your house or car.
- Wash your hands after contact with the animal.
Wash anything the animal was in contact with – towel, jacket, blanket, pet carrier – to prevent the spread of diseases and/or parasites to you or your pets.
- Get the animal to a wildlife rehabilitator as soon as possible.
From Healers of the Wild: People Who Care
for Injured and Orphaned Wildlife
by Shannon K. Jacobs
Copyright 1998 Coyote Moo Press
PO Box 6857
Denver, CO 80206 (303) 316-4633