As soon as you find a baby wild animal, it is very important that you do your best to reunite it with its family before taking it to the nearest licensed rehabilitator. Many baby animals who are found alone typically have parents in the area who are afraid of coming in contact with humans or out foraging for food. There are different protocols you should follow, depending on the type of critter you find and whether it’s injured or not. For specific instructions, call our center at 303-823-8455 from 9 am- 4 pm or head over to our website https://www.greenwoodwildlife.org/wildlife-emergency/i-found-an-animal/ which will tell you step-by-step what to do if you have found a bird, mammal, reptile, or amphibian.
If you do happen to find any uninjured, wild animal all by itself, there are four major things to keep in mind. First off, resist the urge to give it any food or liquids such as formula or Pedialyte. This will do more harm than good as babies can easily inhale food or liquid into their lungs, increasing their chances of getting pneumonia and even dying. Liquids such as cow’s milk and Pedialyte can cause serious digestive problems as well. Secondly, it’s important to keep the animal in a dark environment such as a box in order to avoid putting it under more stress. Make sure the box has air holes and a cozy material (no towels please!). The environment should be as quiet as possible. Noisy pets or loud T.V. is not good for the animal’s stress levels. Lastly, you want to keep the animal warm with things like a rice sock, hot water bottle, or hand warmer – preferably Hot Paws. If you are using a water bottle, heat it up for only 60-90 seconds. To avoid burning the animal, make sure the warmer is covered with a cloth or piece of fabric. Rice socks and water bottles will need to be reheated every few hours.
Once you have taken the above precautions, you want to set the open box containing the animal nearest to where it was found. The area should be left completely undisturbed in order to allow the mother enough time to retrieve her young. Please, only observe from a distance. If it is late in the day or stormy out, bring the animal inside and wait till the following day to reunite. Once it is morning, try to reunite again using the instructions above. Reuniting the orphaned animal with its family is very important for many reasons. Many of the animals that come into Greenwood do not need rescuing. So far, Greenwood has had 21 confirmed successful reunites so far this season, and that number is only going up.
If the reunite ultimately fails or the animal is seriously injured, you must bring the animal to the nearest licensed rehabilitator. Greenwood is open 9 am- 4 pm, seven days a week. You may also call us at 303-823-8455.