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What to Do When You Encounter a Wild Animal

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Injured Wild Animals

CAUTION: Injured wildlife are often scared and may be aggressive when approached. Potential dangers include being bitten, scratched, or exposed to disease. You may also cause the animal to injure himself further by causing more stress.

USE COMMON SENSE: If you do not feel comfortable with the situation, call a wildlife rehabilitator immediately and observe the injured animal until help arrives. If it is safe to do so, used gloved hands to pick the animal up and contain him.

If the animal is snared, trapped, or tangled, do not try and free the animal yourself, even though it may be very upsetting to watch. The animal is probably stressed and could be aggressive. Call the wildlife rehab center to report the animalís location and take pictures of the scene if possible.

NOTE: You may be held responsible if you free an animal from a legally set trap. If the animal is calm enough to be contained, follow the instructions below.

If the animal is hurt and/or needs to be transported to a wildlife rehabilitation center, follow these instructions to safely contain him:
1. Line a box with holes for ventilation or a pet carrier with clean soft cloth, grasses, and other suitable bedding materials (shredded newspaper works well).
2. Using gloved hands, place the animal in the container.
3. Place the container on a heating pad set to its lowest setting, or wrap a bottle of hot water in a towel and place it in the container for warmth.
4. Secure the container so the animal cannot jump out, which may cause further injury.
5. Keep the container in a quiet, dark place. Do not feed or water the animal.

Next: What to do if you find yourself face-to-face with wildlife

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TAILS

TAILS is an interactive website, online community, and print magazine that celebrates the relationship between pets and their people. TAILS features expert knowledge, advice, pet product reviews, local resource guides, community event listings, and fun contests to promote and encourage people to live responsibly with their pets.

225 comments

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4:42AM PDT on Jun 16, 2014

Such a privilege to encounter a wild animal in its habitat.

4:40AM PDT on Jun 16, 2014

Noted thanks

4:22AM PDT on May 5, 2014

thanx for sharing this great post

3:35PM PST on Feb 5, 2014

Thanks for this informative post.

4:55AM PST on Dec 30, 2013

Very interesting, one is never too old to learn, thank you :)

2:45AM PDT on Oct 15, 2013

Thanks

1:38AM PDT on Oct 15, 2013

Nice article, thank you very much :)

7:02PM PDT on Sep 10, 2013

Thanks for the good information

9:17AM PDT on Sep 10, 2013

Excellent article, thank you!
I must admit that my "caring instinct" for wildlife is a mix of good will and wishful thinking. I really hadn't known what I read here about birds and young animals but it makes a lot of sense to let Nature (and the mother) "take her course."

As for larger wildlife, I'd better learn the ropes as I migrate between two habitats with entirely different local fauna. So far I've been fortunate, but I'd rather be prepared than risk my luck running out. It's 20 years since my family had a run-in with rabies: our dog's vaccination protected her after she was attacked and bitten on the nose by a rabid fox one-third her size, on our lawn in broad daylight. (She got fat spending nearly 3 months in quarantine and cried when we had to leave at the end of our daily visits.) As both my preschool daughters and I touched her wound in cleaning it we had to go through the series of shots. Almost every year there are reports of more cases, even this week. So scary!

1:42PM PDT on Sep 4, 2013

Lyn S.,

What I learned long ago, live in rural farming area and have had to protect and rescue many animals (companion and wild) that you did wrong for baby birds. Next time leave the baby birds exactly where they are and keep all companion animals away, even if you handle them the mother bird will work to get them back in the nest.

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Disclaimer: The views expressed above are solely those of the author and may not reflect those of
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