I found a baby mammal, now what?
Do I need to help, and if so, how?
If you find a baby mammal on the ground, it may not be injured or orphaned. In the first few days and weeks of a baby animal’s life, they have often been left alone while parents are off searching for food to feed them. Many wildlife parents leave their young alone during the day, sometimes for long periods. The young need to remain hidden, or at least quiet, to survive. Some animals watch their young from a distance as to not draw attention to them. If a baby has wandered out to an exposed area for a long period of time and there is a threat of predators (humans & pets) place the bird back into a hidden, bushy, or covered area, well away from trails or human & pet interference in a location where you know the parents are nearby. Parents will not reject their baby just because it was handled briefly by humans.
In the case of squirrels, if a baby has fallen from the nest, watch to see if the mother retrieves her baby. If you can reach the nest, return the baby for her. The best thing 10 do is try to put the squirrel back. If you can’t return the baby to the nest, make an artificial nest out of a small margarine tub or the small shallow box (poke drainage holes in the bottom). Line the container with natural materials such as pine needles and small twigs. Do not use grass as it contains moisture that will chill the babies. If you cannot replace the babies because it is too high, place the babies in their nest and place them in a plastic container such as a margarine tub. Wire the new nest as close to the original location as possible. You may have to put it on a nearby branch or another tree or bush. Make sure it is out of direct sunlight or weather. Leave the area and watch for parents to return Watch from a distance to see if the parent returns. If the parents do not return after 1 ·4 hours, bring the squirrel in. If any squirrels appear lethargic and approachable, bring them in.
If you see a dead opossum, check to see if the female still has young in her pouch. If she does, bring in the dead mother with the babies still in the pouch. Do not attempt to remove the babies by yourself. If the opossum is less than 7 inches long from the tip of the nose to the base of the tail and it is without its mother, bring it in. Also, bring in any opossum that is lethargic and approachable in the daytime.
If you find a nest of baby raccoons, leave it alone and watch from a distance. The mother may be gone the entire night. Raccoons are nocturnal, feeding, and eating at night.
A fawn (baby deer) may be curled upon the ground and appears approachable. The mother is likely nearby and watching you. If you know the baby has been orphaned, call our Dispatch Operator for assistance. Do not attempt to capture or transport the fawn yourself.
Jackrabbits have a nest that is a shallow dugout on the ground. If you find a nest, leave it alone. Jackrabbit mothers will often not leave babies in the same place so if you find individual babies, leave them alone.
If a cat or dog brings you a bat, or you suspect the bat has come into contact with a cat or a dog
Please keep the bat warm and bring it into Silverado Veterinary Hospital as soon as possible, EVEN IF THE BAT IS UNINJURED. Any bat who has had contact with a cat or dog MUST receive antibiotics for bacteria present in dog/cat saliva. The bat will be released back to its home area after the course of antibiotics.
Refer to Signs to help determine whether an animal needs your help or to determine if the mammal needs rescuing. Follow the instructions on How to Rescue a Baby Mammal.
How to Rescue a Baby Mammal
(Only adults should rescue baby mammal.)
- Prepare a container. Place a clean, soft cloth with no strings, such as a baby blanket or dark-colored T·shirt on the bottom of a cardboard box or cat/dog carrier with a lid. If you don’t have a baby blanket or dark-colored T-shirt, use a towel. If the container doesn’t have air holes, make some. For smaller mammals, you can use a paper sack with air holes.
- Protect yourself. Wear gloves, if possible. Some mammals may try to protect themselves. Mammals commonly have parasites (fleas, lice, ticks) and carry diseases.
- Cover the mammal with a light sheet or towel. Gently pick up the mammal and put it in the prepared container.
- Warm the animal. Put one end of the container on a heating pad set on low. If you do not have a heating pad, fill a zip-top plastic bag, plastic soft drink container with a screw lid with hot water; wrap the warm container with cloth, and put it next to the mammal. Make sure the container doesn’t leak, or the animal will get wet and chilled. Also, make sure the animal can gel away from the heat if desired.
- Tape the box or bag shut. Make sure there are breathing holes
- 6. Note exactly where and when you found the mammal. This will be very important for release.
- Keep the mammal in a warm, dark, quiet place. Don’t give it food or water. Leave the mammal alone; don’t handle or bother it. Keep children and pets away.
- Contact WRCNC or bring to Silverado Veterinary Hospital immediately. Don’t keep the mammal at your home longer than necessary. Keep the mammal in a container; don’t let it loose in your house or car. When transporting the mammal, keep voice and noise levels low. Do not play the radio/music and refrain from talking.
- Wash your hands after contact with the mammal. Wash anything the mammal was in contact with a towel, jacket, blanket, pet carrier 10 prevent the spread of diseases and for parasites to you or your pets.