Today is World Wildlife Day! To celebrate our outdoor friends, here are some tips in case you come across a wild animal.
You found a wild baby animal! Well, what now?
- Do not remove animal from location! Sometimes baby mammals and birds are at a stage where they still need mom but are learning to be independent. Depending on the species this can happen very young.
- Contact a licensed rehabilitator right away. They will ask questions to determine if the animal needs help or if it’s ok to leave the animal. Always follow the rehabilitator’s instructions.
- If you must bring the animal inside while waiting to get in contact with a licensed facility, always use gloves or a towel – never pick up wildlife with your bare hands. Keep the animal in a warm, dark, quiet place. Do not let family members or other animals interact with the wild animal.
- Do not feed or give water to wildlife. It is easy to give the animal the wrong diet and can seriously hinder rehabilitation efforts and if the water source is inappropriate, for example too big, this might put the animal in danger – babies are still learning.
Basic wildlife tidbits you may find useful for your backyard friends.
- Baby rabbits are completely independent at 4 weeks old. They are about the size of a tennis ball. While in the nest, babies are left alone during the day and mom will come and care for them at dawn and dusk, so they are not seen often.
- Baby deer (fawns) are left often by mom and mom is usually nowhere to be seen. She is watching the baby closely from a distance and the baby is waiting for mom to come get them.
- Juvenile birds in the fledgling stage still are small and don’t have all their adult feathers so they look to be a baby that belongs in a nest that fell out. The fledgling stage is when the bird comes out of the nest and lives on the ground to grow their wing muscles and learn to fly. Mom stills comes to feed from time to time.
If you see these animals and are concerned, please call a wildlife rehabilitator for advice before removing the animal or providing care. A list of Michigan licensed rehabilitators can be found on the State of Michigan’s DNR website.