Found A Baby Mammal?
Does it Really Need Rescuing?
Before picking up any wild animal, BE SURE IT REALLY NEEDS RESCUING! Young animals are often picked up by someone who mistakenly thinks they are orphaned, injured, or abandoned, when they are simply exploring, having left the nest on schedule and are still being cared for by their parents. Though to an untrained observer they may look too young to be on their own, usually the best thing you can do is to leave them alone! (Exceptions: if the baby is injured, very cold to the touch, in an area of danger, or a parent is found dead. Remember, however, that most baby birds are raised by both parents and the loss of one is not an automatic death sentence for the young.) Young birds may be placed back in the nest or in a tree if found on the ground. It is UNTRUE that parents will abandon young touched by humans, although they may abandon a nest in an area where there is continuous disturbance. The exception this this rule are rabbits.
Do NOT try to raise baby birds or mammals by yourself. Do not give food or water. Wild babies need a special diet and an inappropriate one can kill them. Pet food is not intended for wildlife.
If you see an animal which seems orphaned or abandoned, stand back and watch from a considerable distance, or leave and come back later to see if the parent or parents return. Often a wild mammal mother will be off feeding for 4 or more hours. This is especially true with fawns, whose primary defense in their first couple of weeks is camouflage and lack of scent. Just remember, no matter how hard even the most experienced rehabilitator might try to match the care these animals would receive in the wild, humans are still poor surrogate parents. BE SURE THEY REALLY NEED YOUR HELP BEFORE YOU INTERVENE.
If you're unsure of whether an animal is in danger or if you have any questions pertaining to local wildlife, contact WERC at 779- WERC (9372).
Common Mammals In Our Area
Opossum young become orphaned after the mother is killed. Others become “orphaned” when they fall from her back or are separated. These young opossums need to be raised by wildlife rehabilitators. However, many juvenile opossums brought to us are young juveniles on their own for the first time. They may appear small and helpless, they are best left alone. Only opossums that are sick, injured, or too young to be on their own (less than 7 inches long from nose to rump, (not including tail) are in need of immediate assistance.