Wildlife Resources

Here you will find resources for topics of interest or frequently asked questions

Every year we get the animals brought to us that didn’t need rescuing, it is always best to call us or another local rehabilitator before you rescue an animal. Two questions to think about before assuming an animal needs to be rescued: do you see a dead mother? Do you see obvious injuries? Broken bones? If the answer is no, the animal is most likely fine but always feel free to call us for more information on your specific situation.

Fawns:
  • mothers’ leave their fawns alone while they forage for food
  • fawns will lay perfectly still and wasn’t even moved if there touched sometimes even in the middle of the road
  • mom will not return if people or pets are present
  • fawns are scentless so predators can walk right by them and they go undetected
  • if you find a fawn on the road uninjured walk it 20 or more feet off the road and leave it, mom will be back
Raccoons:
  • mothers will one baby at a time when changing dens; give her time to collect her whole litter
  • is common April through June from mothers to have babies under houses or other nuisance areas
Cottontail Rabbits:
  • babies are born in shallow ground nests
  • mothers only return to feed her young a few times a day
  • babies are left alone much of the time
  • rabbits are fragile and can die from stress and fear
  • babies are weaned at 3 to 4 weeks of age
  • at 4 inches long with ears and eyes open there on their own
Baby Birds:
  • birds do not have a keen sense of smell so cannot tell if you have touched their baby
  • if an unfeathered baby is on the ground if possible put it back in the nest; if they nest cannot be found make one and place it near where the baby was found off the ground in a tree or brush out of the elements
  • if the baby is feathered and hopping on the ground in a fledgling; leave it alone parents are most likely nearby. Their first attempts to fly or not always successful in many and up on the ground; parents will feed them.
  • keep pets and kids away from the babies and watch from a safe distance to see if the parents return.

Opossums are North America’s only marsupial; they are solitary and nocturnal and normally slow-moving. When badly frightened and they are unable to flee they fall into an involuntary shock like state (playing dead). They adapt well and live anywhere food and water and shelter exists. When frightened they will also display their 50 sharp teeth and hiss. They are generally docile and avoid confrontation. Opossums are omnivores eating insects, small rodents, plant material, fruit and eggs. They have an acute sense of hearing and smell but unfortunately have one of the smallest brain to body ratios among mammals.

Young are born after a brief gestation period 12 to 13 days when the young climb into the mother’s pouch. They stay in the pouch nursing for almost 70 days and they are not fully weaned for about 100 days. Litter size is 8 to 16 and the mother has 13 nipples. They breed from February to October and may have 2 to 3 litters per year and normally don’t live more than two years.

At weaning they are about 7 to 9 inches long and after they come out of the mother’s pouch around 70 days old; they are typically seen riding on her back for another month anytime she is away from her den.

Opossums are prone to metabolic bone disease which causes: depressed grip of hands and feet and in the strength of limbs or tail, lethargy, anorexia, increased water intake, delicate stance (appears to be walking on egg shells), extremities seem enlarged, may see tremors or jerky movements, fractures are possible and the inability to effectively use mouth or jaw parts. Metabolic bone disease in opossums is caused by too much protein or too much fruit or too many leafy greens. Opossums need a well-balanced diet.

Opossums walk with a clumsy waddling gait and their tale held slightly above the level of their body. They are good climbers and use their prehensile tail for balance.

First assess the situation; is this animal really needing help? Many times the answer is no.

Is it safe for you to contain the animal? Will the animal get injured worse if you try to contain it?

Please call us or your local rehabber for advice before proceeding.

Stress is the number one cause of death in wild animals admitted to rehabilitators. Stress can come from sight, sounds, smells or direct stress such as handling. Many people think an animals is stressed only when it is visibly upset or “freaking out”. With many wild animals stress is shown in the opposite way, calm and quiet, so as not to attract attention of predators (like humans). Keep these things in mind before attempting to catch or transport and animal.

Once you have determined that the animal is in need of rescue, wearing gloves use a towel or blanket to cover the animal. Then place the animal in a paper grocery sack (small bird), cardboard box (birds, small mammals) or pet carrier covered with a towel or blanket (larger birds or mammals). Make sure there is plenty of ventilation in your transport option and a towel or blanket is good in the bottom of the container also so they have traction. Keep the animal/bird warm, dry and in the dark until you can get it to your local rehabilitator, this should be done immediately. Do not feed the animal or try to force water down it. This added stress and an improper diet can kill the animal you are trying to help. Also when transporting keep car radios off and keep talking to a minimum and when need use quiet voices.

ALWAYS KEEP YOUR SAFETY IN MIND AS WELL AS THE SAFETY OF THE ANIMAL YOU ARE WANTING TO HELP AND NEVER ALLOW CHILDREN TO HANDLE OR HOLD WILDLIFE.