What used to be wide-open habitat for wildlife has now become our backyards. It is important that we know how to co-exist with wild animals, and how to determine the proper care for any that become orphaned or injured.
Many times you will come across a baby bird, rabbit, squirrel or deer that you think may be orphaned and in need of help. This is not always the case! Rabbits, for instance feed their young only once or twice a day, then the mother stays away from the nest so she is not calling anyone's attention to it.
A few general rules of emergency care for any type of wildlife:
1. Leave the animal alone if the parent is nearby.
2. Leave the animal alone if it appears fat, bright-eyed and healthy.
3. Rescue the animal if you see that its parent is dead.
4. Rescue the animal if it appears weak, sick or cold.
5. Rescue the animal if it appears to be visibly injured.
6. Rescue the animal if it is in danger from traffic or other animals.
Until you can get advice from your humane society or wildlife rehabber, place the animal in a box with holes and a clean ravel-free cloth. Nestle a hot water bottle or jar filled with warm water into or next to the cloth. DO NOT use grass for bedding, as it is usually damp enough to cause a chill. DO NOT attempt to feed or water the animal. Inexperience with the animal's needs can be fatal.
Indiana Audubon Society and the Mary Gray Bird Sanctuary receives many calls and emails every year to assist in injured or sick wildlife. IAS does not have the licenses or experience to assist with sick or injured wildlife.
Please visit the Wildlife Rehabilitation page on the Indiana DNR website to locate a wildlife rehabilitator and locate additional information.