What to Do When You Find Hurt, Injured, or Lost Wild Animals

Feb 18, 2020 | Emergency Situations

As winter ends and spring begins, it will be time for many of us to get back to hiking, kayaking, camping, and gardening. As we do this, we will come into contact with wildlife. This blog will cover a few tips on finding wildlife and what to do when you do so.

What Should I Do When I Find Baby Animals in the Wild?

That answer is a simple one: Leave them where they belong. Wild animals belong in the wild, and just because a baby is on its own when you stumble upon it, does not mean its mother has left for good. Oftentimes, mothers leave their babies in a safe place, whether it be a nest or den, and go in search of food to bring back later in the day.

Mothers will not approach their babies if humans are standing around, so it’s best to observe from a distance if you are unsure if a baby animal has a mother. We try to help with the best intentions, but nature knows what it is doing.

Is It Okay to Help a Baby Bird That Has Fallen Out of its Nest?

Maybe you’ve heard that animal mothers will abandon their young simply because of a human scent. This is not true. Yes, the best thing you can do is place a baby bird back in the nest it fell from. If the nest is damaged, however, leave the animal where it is. This applies to snakes and turtles as well. These animals have set home ranges and tend to not thrive if removed from them.

If you Find a Baby Animal Whose Mother is Confirmed Gone

Unless you are a certified wildlife rehabilitator, it is also illegal to adopt wild animals. Even a baby raised with your family will still be a wild animal. Also, many wild animals raised by humans do not thrive when later released into the wild. Also, due to their early contact with humans, they can become aggressive with other humans they meet in the future.

Protect Your Home and Family by Leaving Wild Animals Alone

Wildlife carry diseases such as parasites, rabies, distemper, and tularemia. These can infect you and your pets. Wild animals also do not understand that you mean to help. They might try to bite or scratch you if you try to rescue them.

If you find a truly injured animal, we recommend you call your local animal control first. You can also contact the Wildlife Center of Virginia, located in Waynesboro, or the Rockfish Wildlife Sanctuary. They can help provide care and information on the correct thing to do.

If you find injured wildlife after hours, contact VETSS. Our Katie Fund allows us to stabilize these patients until they are ready for transfer to the Wildlife Center of Virginia.

Please have a safe and warm spring!

– Dr. McKenna

For more information, contact our team at VETSS!

A Summer Guide to Heat Stress and Heat Stroke for Dog Owners

As we get into summer and the temperature rises, it’s important to be aware of how the heat affects your pup. Please read below to recognize the signs of heat stress and know when you should seek veterinary care for your pet. I’m comfortable outside. Why is my dog so...

A Caring Guide to Planning for the Loss of Your Pet

Having pets is one of the most rewarding relationships a person can have. They provide us with humor, love, and lots of snuggles. With all pet families, however, there comes a time when we must say goodbye. Preparing to Say Goodbye to Your Pet For some, this comes...

One Shot. Four Viruses. Protect Your Dog With the DAPP Vaccine

New dog owners are often full of questions: Why does my dog chew this? Why did it eat that? One of the most important questions is, “Why does Lucky need all these vaccines?” Simply put, puppies are very vulnerable to diseases. Which is why it is pretty amazing that...

What to Do When You Find Hurt, Injured, or Lost Wild Animals

As winter ends and spring begins, it will be time for many of us to get back to hiking, kayaking, camping, and gardening. As we do this, we will come into contact with wildlife. This blog will cover a few tips on finding wildlife and what to do when you do so. What...

Resource Topics

A Summer Guide to Heat Stress and Heat Stroke for Dog Owners

As we get into summer and the temperature rises, it’s important to be aware of how the heat affects your pup. Please...

Grapes, Beer, and Nuts: People Foods You Should Avoid Giving to Pets

Many pet owners are guilty of feeding their beloved companions treats from the table at dinner time. Those who do may...
Comments Box SVG iconsUsed for the like, share, comment, and reaction icons

This big (18.6 pounds!) boy was brought into VETSS last night by a concerned citizen. Found at Stanardsville post office. He is microchipped from Lynchburg Humane Society. Anyone know where he belongs? ... See MoreSee Less

Load more