Many baby animals brought to wildlife sanctuaries are not really “orphans” in need of rescuing. They are often still in the care of their parents, or at a stage in life where they are ready to live on their own. Often the best care you can give a young animal is to leave it alone. 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. If you are unsure about whether an animal needs help, please call. For most orphaned animals who do require assistance, we recommend for you to:
Call the Sanctuary to discuss the situation.
Wear heavy gloves if you need to touch the animal.
Place the orphaned animal in a small, cloth-lined container or box with both privacy and ventilation.
Keep the orphaned animal warm with a heat pad or water bottle filled with warm water (make sure the heat source is not directly on the animal).
Do not attempt to feed any orphaned animal anything until you have been advised by a professional.
Always wash your hands well after handling animals. Soap and water for at least 30 seconds.
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 wildlife veterinarian or a permitted wildlife rehabilitator, please do not attempt to offer food or water to an orphan. 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.