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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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Read more: Everyday Pet Care, Nature, Nature & Wildlife, Pet Health, Pets, Wildlife, , , , , , , , , ,

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222 comments

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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.

5:46PM PDT on Sep 3, 2013

I found a baby bird and was afraid to just leave it on the ground because there were cats all around so I brought the little thing in and made a home for it in box. I went out and bought some worms and mushed them up in my blender(I know, yuck) and fed the little bird with an eyedropper. He started getting stronger and so I put him in one of my plants so he could move around and learn how to get around and he was doing so good. My heart totally broke when I woke up one morning and he was dead. He had managed to get caught in the plant and couldn't get his footing I guess. Needless to say I was crushed and I cried. I wanted to get him strong so he would have been able to fly into the trees on his own. Its amazing what we will do for God's little creatures.

3:41PM PDT on Aug 27, 2013

Wonderful to know

6:21AM PDT on Aug 25, 2013

Interesting information. Thanks

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