If the baby is visibly injured, its mother has been attacked by a house pet or other animal, or you have seen the baby’s condition worsen over a couple days, you should bring it to a wildlife rehabilitator.
- Safety: Animals will bite or scratch. Wear gloves or use a towel to pick the animal up.
- Quiet: Reducing noise around the animal reduces stress on the animal.
- Dark: Darkness also reduces stress for the animal.
- Warm: Sick or infant wildlife may have trouble keeping warm. Place the animal on a towel over a heating pad or by a warm water bottle-no hotter than you’d use for a human baby.
- Do not try to feed it or give it water; you could do more harm than good.
Call your local licensed wildlife rehabilitated for assistance as soon as possible.
A list of New Jersey licensed wildlife rehabilitated is available online at www.njawr.com.
If You Have to Transport the Animal
- Prepare a container. Place a soft cloth on the bottom of a cardboard box or cat/dog carrier with a lid. If it doesn’t have air holes, make some. For smaller animals, you can use a paper sack with air holes punched in.
- Protect yourself. Wear gloves, if possible. Some animals may bite or scratch to protect themselves, even if sick; wild animals commonly have parasites (fleas, lice, ticks) and carry diseases.
- Cover the animal with a light sheet or towel.
- Gently pick up the animal and put it in the prepared container.
- Warm the animal if it’s cold out or if the animal is chilled. Put one end of the container on a heating pad set on low. Or fill a zip-top plastic bag, plastic soft drink container with a screw lid, or a rubber glove with hot water; wrap warm container with cloth, and put it next to the animal. Make sure the container doesn’t leak, or the animal will get wet and chilled.
- Tape the box shut or roll the top of the paper bag closed.
- Note exactly where you found the animal. This will be very important for release.
- Keep the animal in a warm, dark, quiet place.
- Wash your hands after contact with the animal. Wash anything the animal was in contact with – towel, jacket, blanket, pet carrier – to prevent the spread of diseases and/or parasites to you or your pets.
Don’t give the animal food or water. Do NOT feed it infant formula – it will kill the animal you are trying to help!
Leave the animal alone; don’t handle or bother it.
Keep children and pets away.
Don’t keep the animal at your home longer than necessary.
Keep the animal in a container; don’t let it loose in your house or car.
NOTE: It is illegal in the state of New Jersey to possess or raise a wild animal without a permit unless you are transporting that animal to a licensed wildlife rehabilitator.