When injured and orphaned wildlife need medical attention, time is crucial. It is vital that these animals get care as soon as possible. In the past, volunteers have transported animals from our hospital to local rehabilitation centers. Unfortunately, we no longer have a regular pool of volunteers and as such we can no longer be certain the patients will get to their destination in a timely manner. Because of this, we very strongly recommend that you transport injured wildlife directly to a dedicated wildlife rehabilitation facility. This will insure the best odds of survival for the animal you are trying to save.
What to do if you find an injured wild animal:
1. Most importantly, be very careful. Wild animals (even the small ones) can be very dangerous and must be handled with extreme caution. If you have any doubts about your safety, please call for help. Be especially cautious with adult raccoons, squirrels and any birds of prey (hawks, etc).
2. If you are able to capture the animal, keep it in a warm, dark environment such as a closed cardboard box with a blanket on the bottom. Animals generally have no fear of tight spaces and often feel safer in a smaller area.
3. Get the animal to a rehabilitation center or drop-off point as soon as you can. Handle the animal as little as possible until you reach help.
4. Do not attempt to feed injured or orphaned wildlife unless you know exactly what the animal eats. Feeding worms to a seed-eating bird (or vice versa) can be detrimental to its health. If you feel you can feed the animal safely, administering water with a syringe or dropper is acceptable. Call for advice if you feel the animal must be fed before it can be taken to a rehab center.
5. We accept all injured or orphaned indigenous wildlife with the exception of skunks. We strongly recommend that you avoid handling any skunks (even babies) because of the concern of rabies infection in these animals.
If you see an injured or orphaned skunk or any animal you are not comfortable handling, please call your local animal control agency immediately.
To learn more about Montclair Vet Hospital’s involvement with helping wildlife, visit the MVH Pet and Wildlife Fund website.