I Found a Baby Animal, What Do I Do?
As winter finally (sort of, maybe, hopefully) begins its slow melt into spring, new life will be popping up everywhere as trees, grasses, and flowers wake from their long slumber. Spring is also baby animal season, and it’s not uncommon to glimpse a cute baby bunny, bird, or other critter as we go about our daily activities.
Spotting a baby wild animal all by itself can be concerning, and while it’s understandable to want to help, that may not always be the right tactic. The Pet Experts are here to walk you through what to do if you’ve found a baby animal. Please do not bring wildlife to Naperville Animal Hospital.
So, You Found a Baby Animal…
For the most part, baby wild animals should be left alone. It’s easy to assume that a baby animal has been orphaned or abandoned, but in the vast majority of cases the mother is nearby either searching for food, on her way back to feed her young, or has sensed danger and is trying to divert attention away from the baby. She may even be watching you at the same time you are watching her baby!
Some examples include:
- Mother does will return every three to four hours to feed their fawns, who instinctively know to sit still and wait for her return
- Mother and father birds will continue to feed a baby bird that has fallen out of the nest
- Mother rabbits routinely leave their babies or near the nest as they go off in search of food
Signs That a Baby Animal Needs Your Help
In some cases, wildlife does need our help. Signs that a wild animal needs assistance include:
- The animal is bleeding
- There is a broken limb or other injury
- The animal is shivering
- The animal has been brought to you by a dog or cat
- There is a dead parent nearby
- The animal has been wandering around all day and crying/vocalizing
- You find a featherless or nearly featherless baby bird on the ground
- A baby raccoon who has been alone for more than a few hours (mother raccoons don’t leave their young for very long)
If you’ve found a baby animal that you’re concerned about, please contact the Willowbrook Wildlife Center at (630) 942-6300 or local Animal Control. And as always, The Pet Experts at Naperville Animal Hospital are here to answer your questions and concerns about your pet but please do not bring wildlife to Naperville Animal Hospital.