Austin Area Wildlife Rehabilitation, Inc.

Rescuing Wildlife

The first question - Does the animal REALLY need help???

Many well-meaning people rescue an orphaned mammal or bird that does not need to be rescued. Below are things you can do to help a wild creature in trouble and clues to identify those that need rescuing.

DO NOT rescue wildlife and then keep (kidnap) the bird or animal for a possible pet. State and federal laws protect nearly all wild mammals and birds. It is against the law to possess the animal or bird or the nests, feathers, or eggs of a bird without special permits. In addition, dietary needs of each species of bird and animal are different and it is almost impossible to duplicate their needs in captivity without special training. AAWR receives many irreparably damaged birds and animals because the rescuer tried to keep it as a pet and did not know how to provide for it properly.

  It is NOT true that mammals or birds will always reject their young once they have been handled by humans. Nonetheless, the handling of wild babies should be avoided or kept to a minimum. Handling by humans can be stressful to the animal. Also, the human scent can sometimes attract predators seeking food. Never pick up any wild animal/bird with your bare hands. Only adults should handle a wild animal.

Wear gloves and use a stick, broom or rolled up newspaper to push the animal into an open paper bag or box. DO NOT put the animal into a plastic bag. Secure the top with tape so it doesn't get out. BE CAREFUL! An animal that is hurt or frightened may bite. A towel or blanket may be thrown over the animal to catch it before putting it in a box.  

Goggles or safety glasses should be worn when picking up a heron and other birds with long necks and sharp beaks.

Keep the baby or injured animal WARM and CONTAINED and QUIET. Put tissues or towels in the box or bag to keep it warm, and cover it. Darkness makes the animal feel more secure. Loud noises are scary, so keep it away from the radio and TV. Keep it out of drafts and away from air conditioners. The box can be placed half on and half off a heating pad set on low. If the animal gets too warm it can move to the other end of the box.

DO NOT FEED THE ANIMAL FOOD, WATER, OR MILK! Water and milk can go down into the animal's or bird's lungs and kill it. Feeding an animal or bird the wrong food can cause harm to the animal. If an animal or bird has been caught by a cat, please call AAWR immediately. Even if wounds are not visible, the animal or bird needs to be given antibiotics.

For information on rescuing individual animals, please click the links below:

Bat Opossum Snake/Lizard
Bird Rabbit Squirrel
Bird - Large Beak Raccoon Turtle
Deer Skunk  

See also Nuisance Wildlife section for additional information.
For Membership Information, Click Here.

For Contact Information, Click Here.