Many of the baby animals brought to us each year are not really “orphans” in need of human help. In fact, many of the animals brought to us are in need of no “help” at all.
They are young animals still receiving care from their parents, or young animals that are ready to live, and thrive, on their own. If you see a young wild animal, it’s best to first ask questions before intervening. Despite our natural inclinations, the best chance of survival for a young uninjured animal is often to leave it in its parents’ care.
Linked below are some great guides for the most commonly encountered baby animals. (Made by The Wildlife Center of Virginia)
Click through to read more if you find a …
If you do find a truly orphaned (or injured) young animal, prepare a lidded box for the young animal by placing a cloth or non-raveling towel on the bottom of the box. Wearing gloves [latex, gardening gloves, and/or small leather gloves], gently pick up the baby animal and place it in the box. Please never touch a mammal barehanded; picking up a young animal without gloves increases the risk for possible rabies exposure.
Keep the box in a quiet place away from children and pets. A heating pad underneath the box [low setting] or a rice or bird-seed bag may be used to help keep the animal warm.
Unless specifically advised to do so by a permitted wildlife rehabilitator, please do not attempt to offer food or water to a patient. Such treatment is likely to cause more harm than good. Many wild animals have very sensitive stomachs and require very special diets; baby animals can also easily aspirate, which can lead to pneumonia or death.