Wildlife-Injured? Orphaned?

posted: by: Dawn, RVT Tags: "Clinic Specials" "News" 

During the spring and summer, we receive calls about orphaned or injured wildlife.  Even in neighborhoods in the city, you may see raccoons, opossums, and more.  So if you find an injured or baby wild animal, what do you do?


We are fortunate to have a wildlife facility here in central Ohio.  Most small or large animal veterinarians will not treat wildlife, so all injured or orphaned wild animals should be taken to The Ohio Wildlife Center (www.owc.org).  They have a wildlife hotline to give advice on what to do with wildlife in various situations.  That number is 614-793-WILD(9453).  The Wildlife Center also has an Education Center the focuses on wildlife education.  There they house several animals who were unable to be returned to the wild and are used for various education programs.  There is an additional area to house animals preparing for release back into the wild.


Injured wild animals should be approached with caution, whether it is a songbird, hawk, mammal, snake….  Any animal that is hurt or scared will fight, bite, or try to flee the area.  If you are able to transport the animal or bird to the wildlife center, use plenty of caution.  Wear gloves and handle the animal or bird with a towel to avoid being bitten or scratched.  All animals should be transported in a carrier or other container.  Keep the carrier or box in a dark, quiet, warm area until and during transport.


Many times people will see a baby animal or bird and assume it is orphaned.  This is not always the case!  Often the mother is nearby, either gathering food or eating herself.  The Ohio Wildlife Center’s website has very good tips on dealing with potential orphans.  (On the OWC homepage, click on Found An Animal? It’s Orphaned)


Remember, it is NEVER a good idea to try to feed or care for wildlife yourself!  Not only is this illegal without the proper permits, but it is very difficult to hand raise wild animals.  They need special food and special care which staff at the wildlife center are trained to provide.  They also need time and care to them for release back into the wild.


If you bring an animal into the facility, they will ask for a donation.  Even the smallest donation is appreciated to help with the care of these birds and animals.  The center is staffed mostly by volunteers who do the basic daily care of the animals in the hospital (cleaning cages, feeding, etc).  They also have a ‘wishlist’ of items they use on a regular basis on their website.  Any donation of time, money or items is greatly appreciated.


Wild animals need our help, too.  Visit www.owc.org today!