- Only adults should rescue baby mammals.
- Before rescuing adult mammals, seek guidance from a wildlife rehabilitator.
- Only attempt to rescue the animal if it is injured, in harm’s way, or clearly orphaned. (See chart below.)
- If you can find a baby's nest, return it to the nest and allow 4-6 hours for the mother to return. Remember, a baby’s best chance for survival is with its mother.
- It is a common misconception that human scent on a baby mammal will discourage the mother from returning or retrieving her young.
IF YOU FIND A FAWN...
- The doe leaves the fawn for short periods of time while foraging.
- If the baby looks cold, emaciated, diseased, or confused, or if dogs, other animals, or people threaten its safety, call the local conservation agency to contact a facility that cares for fawns.
- Otherwise, leave the baby alone and leave the area. The mother will not return if people or pets are present.
- Never attempt to give a milk substitute or milk of any kind to a fawn. They have very delicate digestive systems. You can cause severe diarrhea by doing this.
IF YOU FIND BABY BUNNIES...
- If their nest has been damaged, it can be repaired. Look for a shallow depression lined with grass and fur. Place babies in nest with a light layer of grass to hide the bunnies. Leave the area. Mothers return only at dawn and dusk.
- If you find healthy bunnies that are 4-5 inches long, able to hop, with eyes open and ears up, they do not need help. They are able to survive on their own. Leave them alone.
"I FOUND A BABY MAMMAL...NOW WHAT?"
If it is absolutely necessary to rescue the animal, follow these steps:
1. Prepare a container. Place a soft cloth on the bottom of a cardboard box with a lid, or a cat/dog carrier. Make sure there are air holes. For smaller animals, you can use a paper sack with air holes punched in.
2. Protect yourself. Wear heavy 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.
3. Cover the animal with a light sheet or towel.
4. Gently pick up the animal and put it in the prepared container.
5. Warm the animal if it's cold out, or if the animal is chilled. Put one end of the container on a heating pad set on low, or fill a Ziploc baggie with warm water , wrap it in cloth, and put it next to the animal. (You can also use a plastic soft drink container with a screw lid, or a rubber glove.) Make sure the container doesn’t leak or the animal will get wet and chilled.
6. Tape the box shut, or roll the top of the paper bag closed.
7. Note exactly where you found the animal. This will be very important for later release.
8. Keep the animal in a warm, dark, quiet place. Do not handle it. Do not give it food or water. Keep children and pets away.
9. 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.
10. Wash your hands after contact with the animal. Wash anything the animal came in contact with—towels, jacket, blanket, pet carrier—to prevent the spread of diseases or parasites to you or your pets.
11. Get the animal to a wildlife rehabilitator as soon as possible.