What to do if you find a baby animal outside

PENNSYLVANIA (WHTM) — Spring and summer mean baby animals! Little fawns or baby bunnies are adorable, but what if you find one outside?

The Pennsylvania Game Commission generally says the best thing to do is leave this young animal alone.

Although baby deer, birds, raccoons or other animals may appear to have been abandoned, they usually were not, according to the Game Commission. Adult animals often leave their young to look for food, but they stay close and will return to look for their young.

Some animals use a defensive tactic called the “hiding strategy,” according to the commission, in which young animals stay very still to “hide” in surrounding cover while their parents are away, possibly trying to deflect the animal. attention of potential predators of young animals. . Deer use this strategy, for example. But just because the animal isn’t moving doesn’t mean something is wrong.

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The Game Commission urges people not to interfere or interact with young wild animals. Contact between animals and people poses risks to both parties.

For example, when people interact with animals or remove them from their natural environment, animals can lose their natural fear of humans, making it difficult or impossible for them to survive in the wild, the commission says. Wildlife habituated to humans can also pose a risk to public safety. Conversely, people can contract diseases or parasites from handling wild animals.

Sometimes, however, young animals may need help. According to the Humane Society of the United States, signs that an animal may need help include:

  • It is brought to you by a cat or a dog
  • it bleeds
  • He has an obvious broken limb
  • it shivers
  • He cries and wanders all day
  • There’s a dead relative nearby
  • For birds – it is featherless or almost featherless and on the ground

If you think a baby animal needs help, you should contact a local wildlife rehabilitation specialist, veterinarian, zoo, humane society or the regional Game Commission office, and they can provide you with further instructions.

The Humane Society says that while you’re waiting for help to arrive, you shouldn’t give the animal food or water – it could choke it, trigger digestive problems, give it pneumonia or even kill an animal in shock.

The Humane Society says that if you’re able to (and if an expert tells you it’s OK), you can put on thick gloves and use a towel or pillowcase to pick up the animal and put it in a container that has ventilation holes. and is lined with a soft fabric like an old T-shirt. Then you need to put the container in a warm, dark, quiet place until it can be carried somewhere for help. Be sure to keep your voice and other sounds to a minimum so as not to further stress the animal, says the Humane Society.

People shouldn’t try to care for wild animals themselves, says an article on the National Wildlife Federation website. Caring for wildlife requires special training and a lot of attention. In fact, the Game Commission reminds Pennsylvanians that it is illegal to take or possess animals in the wild, and penalties for violations can result in fines of up to $1,500 per animal.

Here’s what you can do and what to look for if you find certain young animals that seem to need help:

What to do if you find a baby rabbit

Adult rabbits feed their young at dawn and dusk, but stay away from their babies during the day to avoid attracting predators, says Humane Animal Rescue of Pittsburgh. If you see a young rabbit alone, he’s probably waiting for mom to come back, but you can check that he hasn’t been abandoned by sprinkling flour in a circle around his nest in the afternoon and checking again for s he is bothered by the parent.

What to do if you find a baby squirrel

Squirrels nest in trees. If you find a young squirrel that has fallen from its nest, its parents may still be nearby, but it may take them a while to find the baby, according to Pittsburgh Animal Rescue. You can help a baby squirrel find its mother by putting it in a box as close to the base of the tree it fell from as possible, then getting inside and waiting. If mom hasn’t picked up the baby from the box after at least five hours, animal rescue says you can bring the box inside to keep the animal safe and call a wildlife expert to get it. help.

What to do if you find a baby bird

Many parents of adolescent birds will continue caring for them for a short time after they leave the nest, according to Humane Animal Rescue of Pittsburgh. “Adolescent birds,” called fledglings, may not be able to fly yet, but that doesn’t mean there’s anything wrong with them. They are often found hiding from predators in yards or bushes, says Animal Rescue.

Nestlings are fully feathered, explains a National Wildlife Federation article, while “nestlings” — birds that should always be in their nests — tend to be featherless or covered in fluffy down.

If you find a baby bird that’s in a dangerous place, you can move it to nearby cover — but don’t move it too far or its parents may not be able to find it, advises Pittsburgh Animal Rescue.

If you find a baby bird outside its nest, you can try to put it back in the nest if it is not injured. If the nest is too high to reach, you can put the baby in a basket or bowl with dry substrate or materials, then place the container as close to the bird’s nest as possible. It should be placed at the tree where its nest is, notes the rescue.

Birds won’t reject a baby just because it’s been handled by a human, Animal Rescue says, although they can fuss when you try to return their babies because they’re protective. After putting a young bird in a safe place, you need to go inside and watch for the return of its parents. If its parents do not return, contact a wildlife expert for advice.

Ducks are an exception to this rule, the NWF article explains. Ducks leave their nests soon after hatching and should not be returned to them. If you find a baby duck on your own, you should contact a wildlife expert.

What to do if you find a fawn

Adult deer often leave their young for hours while they search for food, says Humane Animal Rescue of Pittsburgh, and a fawn will lie in one spot the entire time its parents are away. If the fawn is not in a dangerous place, it can simply be left alone. If he has flies on his paws or is wandering and crying, he may need help and you should contact an expert for help.

What to do if you find baby reptiles

Reptiles like snakes, turtles and lizards are ready to be independent right from the start, so if you find them outside and they look healthy, you can just leave them alone, says a National Wildlife Federation article. If you find a nest of eggs, do not move them as this could kill the embryos if not done correctly. Instead, you should leave them where they are or contact an expert to help you move them.

If you come across a turtle trying to cross the road, you can help it. The US Fish and Wildlife Service says one of the best ways to help is to simply (and safely) stand guard while the turtle crosses the street. If he’s not interested in moving on his own, you can slide something like a car mat underneath and slide him on the pavement, or if you’re sure he won’t bite you, you can pick it up gently by the hull to move it. this. When moving a turtle on the road, always move it in the direction it was moving.

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