Orphan & Injured Wildlife


  1. Do they have the orphan in their possession or just in their yard?
  2. Assessing the Orphan
    1. If it is in the nest and moving around and warm
      1. Mom is still caring for it best to leave it alone
    2. Lethargic? Cold to the touch? Bugs present? Wounds?
      1. Bring the orphan in or contact a local rehab facility for evaluation
    3. It is a myth that if we touch the babies that mom will stop caring for them
  3. If the orphan(s) are healthy but the nest is located in a bad spot (dogs, mowing lawn, nest fell, cutting tree down etc.)
    1. They can move a rabbits nest up to 20 feet and Mom will still find her babies
    2. Birds nests can be relocated in the same tree or nearby tree (can use a small bucket or tub and nail it to the tree and place the nest inside
  4. If they are taking the orphan for evaluation
    1. Keep it in a warm dry place, handle as little as possible, do not feed
  5. Caller is worried that Mom is not caring for the orphans (even though they are warm, moving around, and apparently healthy)
    1. Rabbits only visit the nest at dawn and dusk – they are very careful not to be observed/lead predators to their nest
      1. Small rabbits with barely any white on their head and approximately the size of an adult fist are likely on their own
    2. Baby birds that have a majority of their feathers but are on the ground
      1. Likely fledglings- they spend time on the ground learning how to fly
      2. Parents are likely in the trees nearby and are still feeding the baby
    3. Fawns are left alone hiding for a majority of the day – if the fawn is laying their quietly Mom has been taking care of it and will be back for the baby

Injured Adults:

  1. Please use caution when handling any wild animal
    Zoonotic diseases – like rabies, round worms, mange etc.
  2. Use appropriate protection – leather gloves/heavy gardening gloves
    Mammals will bite and scratch, small birds bite and scratch, large birds (birds of prey) bite and use their talons
  3. Wrap the animal in a heavy towel and if possible place in a box for transport. Do not give any food or try to tend wounds.

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Veterinary Care Specialists

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