Okaw Veterinary Clinic

140 W. Sale
Tuscola, IL 61953

(217)253-3221

okawvetclinic.com

I Found a Baby Wild Animal... What do I do?

 

 

Spring brings baby rabbits, squirrels and birds into our yards. What happens if you find a baby away from its nest? We get several calls from people who have found abandoned babies or whose dog or cat brought a baby to them. We would like to share some information about baby wildlife and what you can do in this situation.

Is the nest abandoned? Mother rabbits, squirrels and birds visit their nests throughout the day. If you or your pet is constantly around the nest, the mother will stay away from the nest. So how do you know if the mother is coming back? The best way to know if mom will come back is to leave the nest alone and mark the nest. Cut some yarn or string and place it on the nest in a pattern, so when mom comes back she will disturb the strings. A common pattern of string is to cut 4 pieces and place them in a # pattern over the nest. Leave the nest alone for 24 hours, then check the strings.

Does she smell you or your pet on the babies? It's always best to put on a pair of gloves. Not to prevent your smell from getting onto the babies, but to protect you from diseases that wildlife can carry. Mother rabbits, squirrels and birds don't smell or don't care that people or pets have touched their babies. They will take care of their babies even if you or your pet has touched them. 

How can I keep my dog away from the rabbit nest? Put a fence around the nest. Make sure there is space in the fencing to allow the mother to get through.

What do I do if the rabbit nest was destroyed by my dog or a lawn mower? Put a pair of gloves on before handling the babies. Check the babies for injuries. If they are not injured, put them back in their nest and put the nesting material back on top of them. If some of the babies are injured, call the U of I wildlife clinic at 217-244-1195.

What do I do if the squirrel or bird nest is on the ground? Put a pair of gloves on before handling the babies. Check the babies for injuries. For squirrels, if they are not injured, put them back in their nest. Squirrels make 2 nests, so the mother will move the babies from the damaged nest to the other nest. Make sure the nest has a fence around it or is protected from dogs and cats. For birds, if they are not injured, put the babies in the nest and put the nest into the tree it fell from. If you find only a baby bird that has feathers, it is likely learning how to fly. Leave it alone. If the baby squirrels or birds are injured, call the U of I wildlife clinic at 217-244-1195.

Read more about Rabbits, Squirrels and Birds on the U of I wildlife clinic's website.