Wildlife Rehabilitation and Education
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Thursday, April 25, 2013

How to Best Help Spring Babies

With our long-awaited, warm, glorious Spring (isn't it such a beautiful day  here in Omaha?!) comes the bulk of our wildlife charges: BABIES! Contrary to popular belief, parent animals will indeed respond to cries of distress and return to their young, even if they have been touched by human hands. Should you find a baby animal, here are some quick tips to help you best help Nature take its course.

*Before removing the baby from its environment, determine whether or not it really needs help. 

Stop and have a good look at your surroundings. Is it snuggled into a nest in the ground, or hidden under a bush? Is there a tree nearby from which it could have fallen? Do you hear any sharp cries from what could be its mother (as with fledgling birds)

Animals have the best chance at survival if they remain with their parents. Oftentimes the parents know exactly where they have tucked their youngsters-- and will come back. Finding a baby out on its own doesn't automatically mean it needs human intervention.  

*Examine the baby with eyes-only.
Is it obviously injured? Can you see blood, puncture wounds or a broken bone? Are there flies around it? Does it seem weak or unable to use its legs? 

Pink, hairless babies with sealed eyes are in grave danger if they are separated from their mothers for even a short time. A healthy baby not in need of help will have a glossy coat, round, bright eyes and a sense of self-preservation, in that it will likely try to get away from you.  

*If you think everything looks okay, leave the baby there  
Baby birds on the ground with most of their feathers are fledglings learning to fly; you should leave it on the ground. You can place a younger baby (no feathers, eyes shut) gently back in a visible nest.

Baby squirrels (if its eyes are open) can be left at the base of a tree.

Bunnies can be placed back in their ground nests and covered with grass or other greenery.

Raccoons pups are almost never far away from their mothers, but the mother will wait for you to leave before she approaches.

In any case, please allow the mother around four to six hours to return.   

*If you determine the baby needs help, help it.
In these instances, call us at Nebraska Wildlife Rehab, then put on some gloves and place the baby carefully into a shoebox or other small container, lined with soft cloth, tissues or paper towels. If possible, please try to avoid any kind of terry cloth, as delicate toenails can be caught in its loops. Cover the baby with more cloth and put the covered (but not sealed) container in a dark, quiet, warm place away from children and pets. If you have a heating pad, set it to low and place the container halfway on the pad. Resist the urge to handle the cute little thing, as they are easily susceptible to shock...and wash your hands well!


Please do not give the baby anything to eat or drink unless instructed to do so by a wildlife rehabilitator.

This is only a very basic outline of how you can help baby wildlife if you find yourself in a position to do so. Rehabilitators with Nebraska Wildlife Rehab are always happy to help you analyze a situation to see if a baby needs to come into care--so if the need arises, don't hesitate to call us at
402.234.2473. And for more detailed information, useful tips on what to do when you find an adult animal, and other interesting reading, please visit our website at www.nebraskawildliferehab.org!
Thanks for all you do!

Nebraska Wildlife Rehab is trying to raise $150,000.00 to help Great Plains wildlife right here in the Heartland. Please help us! Visit our fundraising page and donate! 

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