How to Handle Baby Wildlife
Find a baby animal in your yard? Here's what you should do...
Spring time is baby wildlife time! Sometimes it can be hard to determine when you need to step in and help a baby wild animal that you may find. The best thing to do is leave any sort of wild life alone! However, there are some instances where it may need your help. If your dog or cat has brought the animal to you, if it is bleeding or injured, or if there is a dead parent nearby, either try to safely capture the animal and transport them to an appropriate clinic or call Texas Parks and Wildlife Department for help.
You should also never feed baby wild animals. Although you may think the animal is hungry or thirsty, it is best to not give it any food or water. It may be the wrong food and they may choke. They could also be in shock and force-feeding will cause more harm.
If it is an emergency and you are not able to find an appropriate rehab center in time, you may take the wild animal to a veterinarian clinic for emergency care. However, please be aware that you will be pocketing the cost of the bill since veterinarians do not cover costs of wild animal care.
Texas Parks and Wildlife- Grand Prairie Office: 972-293-3841
Texas Parks and Wildlife Information Line: 1-800-792-1112
How to Safely Capture and Transport a Baby
ALWAYS use gloves! Never touch a wild animal with your bare hands. If gloves are not accessible and it is an emergency, find something to cover your hands like a towel or an old t-shirt. Put the animal in a cardboard box with holes and a towel in the bottom. You can then call the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department or go online to www.tpwd.texas.gov to find a rehabilitation center.
Cat moms often leave their babies alone during the day so they can eat and return to feed the kittens at night. If you find baby cats, please keep an eye on them and watch for the mom to return. If the mom does not return by the next day, then you can try to capture the kittens and transport them to a shelter or a rescue.
If a baby squirrel falls from their nest or the nest falls out of a tree, then give the mom time to reclaim and move the baby. If the baby is uninjured, keep all animals and people away from it and monitor from a distance. If the baby is injured or the mom has not returned for her young, call the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department for instructions on where to take it.
If a baby bird has fallen out of their nest and is uninjured, you can try to gently place it back in the original nest (use gloves!) if it is safe for you to do so. If the animal is injured or in danger, then it is best to contact the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department so they can find an appropriate rehab. If a young bird is hopping on the ground, leave it be and watch to see if its parents come by and feed it. Young fledglings can sometimes hop around on the ground for a week before flying.
Rabbit moms only visit their young a few times a day to avoid attracting predators. Do not touch baby bunnies because there is a good chance that the mother will then abandon them. If the nest is in a dangerous area or where your pets may be able to find it, you will want to contact the wildlife department to see if they have a recommendation about relocating or about trying to “hide” the nest.
First, make sure there are no adults nearby before getting too close to a baby opossum. If an opossum is 7-8 inches long then leave it alone, at this point they are big enough to live on their own! If the animal is injured or is smaller than 7-8 inches, you can try to safely transfer the baby to a box with holes and call the local wildlife department for further instruction.
Remember: Never feed baby wild animals! Although you may think the animal is hungry or thirsty, it is best to not give it any food or water. It may be the wrong food and they may choke. They could also be in shock and force-feeding will cause more harm.