What To Do If You Find Orphaned Baby Wildlife

It’s springtime, which means that rain is coming, flowers are starting to appear, and wild animals are looking for places to have their babies. Here are a few tips to follow if you find orphaned baby animals:

Wait 6-8 hours

Just because you find a baby squirrel at the bottom of a tree or a baby skunk in your yard doesn’t necessarily mean they are abandoned. Most of the time, the mother is just off looking for food or hiding because humans are nearby, so keep this in mind before approaching or handling the young. To keep the babies safe and warm, you can use gloves to place them in a small box with a blanket, and put them back where you found them. If the mother doesn’t return within 6-8 hours, call a licensed wildlife rehabilitation center. Be sure to take into consideration the species’ routines – for instance, raccoons will fetch their young when they are active at night, while squirrels are mostly out during the day.

Watch for certain warning signs

Sometimes, the baby animals you find are actually orphaned and are in distress. According to The Humane Society of the United States, you should keep an eye out for these signs that the baby animal needs immediate help:

• Presented by a cat or dog

• Evidence of bleeding

• An apparent or obvious broken limb

• Featherless or nearly featherless and on the ground

• Shivering

• A dead parent nearby

• Crying and wandering all day long

It is also important to remember that baby animals are very sensitive, so attempting to feed them can actually worsen their condition. Instead, put a small container of water next to the animal while you wait for professionals to arrive if you are worried about their condition.

Call a licensed wildlife rehabilitation center

In the case that the baby animal is orphaned and in distress, it is very important to call an officially licensed wildlife rehabilitation center, which will know how to properly care for the baby animal.

A list of licensed wildlife rehabilitation centers can be found on the Texas Parks and Wildlife website.

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