Wildlife Rescue Information
My Dog Found Baby Bunnies (PDF file)
I Found a Bunny Nest (PDF file)
I Found a Baby Squirrel (PDF file)
may be one of the largest metropolitan areas in the country, but a
surprising number of wildlife populates both the city and the
general, the best rule of thumb for dealing with wildlife is to leave
them alone. Do not try to “rescue” them unless it is
clear that the animals need help. Your definition of “help”
may not be the same as the animal’s.
not try to tame them or make them into pets. Wild animals cannot be
domesticated, nor do they want to be.
information on how to humanely live with and assist wildlife in your
neighborhood, Red Door Animal Shelter recommend two books:
Wild Neighbors: The Humane Approach to Living with Wildlife
Wildlife: How to Enjoy, Cope With, and Protect North America’s
Wild Creatures Around Your Home & Theirs
is a brief guide to the best ways of dealing with wildlife you might
Don’t Rush to “Rescue”
people discover a nest of wild baby rabbits and want to “rescue”
them. The truth is that most of those baby rabbits are not orphans
and do not need help. In fact, interfering with nature and trying to
rescue them can cause more harm than good.
rabbits only feed babies once a day, and then for only five minutes.
They do not “sit” on the nest; in fact, they tend to stay
away from the nest in order not to attract attention to it. Do not
assume that the baby rabbits are orphaned just because you don’t
see a mother rabbit nearby. Usually the mother rabbit only comes
you accidentally disturb a rabbit nest, try to reconstruct it as best
you can. Usually the nests are hidden under leaves, twigs and debris,
or located under shrubs. But sometimes you will find a rabbit nest
right in the open. You can move a nest up to 10 feet from its
original spot if that will provide more cover for the nest. Cover it
over with leaves, twigs and grass clippings. The mother rabbit will
find it. It is a myth that rabbits will abandon their babies once
human beings have touched them.
your dog disturbs a rabbit nest, put the baby rabbits back in the
nest and try to reconstruct it as best you can. Try to keep your pet
animals and any children away from the nest for several weeks. After
a few weeks, baby rabbits are mature enough to go out on their own.
not try to raise wild baby rabbits by yourself. Less than 10-percent
of wild baby rabbits can survive with human “nursing.”
And only a licensed wildlife rehabilitator can legally try to rescue
wild baby rabbits.
Wild or Pet Rabbit?
rabbits are called cottontails; their tails look like balls of
cotton. They might have a white mark on their foreheads or under
their chins, but over all they are a brown tweedy color known as
Wild rabbits look like this:
cannot be domesticated. It is against the law to try to make a pet
out of any kind of wildlife.
too often these days, pet rabbits are being abandoned outside. These
rabbits can be all different kinds of colors: white; black-and-white;
orange; brown-and-white; black. Even some pet rabbits have brown
agouti coloring. Some pet rabbits have ears that go up; others are
lops, with ears that hang down.
pet or domestic rabbit can survive on his own outside. Just
because wild rabbits live outside does not mean that a pet rabbit
will be OK. Pet rabbits that are dumped outside become prey for all
kinds of creatures--dogs, cats, owls, coyotes, foxes, abusive human
beings—as well as hosts for any number of deadly parasites.
pet rabbit abandoned outside will inevitably meet a painful death.
Any pet rabbit found outside should be rescued immediately and
brought into safety.
If you are
absolutely sure that a nest of wild rabbits are true orphans (that
is, that the mother rabbit has been killed), then those rabbits need
to get to a wildlife rehabilitator. See the resources below to find a wildlife
you find an injured wild rabbit and cannot get it to a wildlife
rehabilitator, you need to get the rabbit to a rabbit veterinarian or
a veterinary emergency clinic.
RACCOONS, OPOSSUMS, SQUIRRELS, BIRDS
you find an injured wild animal like a raccoon, opossum, squirrel,
chipmunk, woodchuck or any kind of bird, see the resources below to find a wildlife
you see a naturally nocturnal animal like a raccoon during daylight
hours, give it a wide berth. It is probably sick, possibly rabid.
in the spring, people will find young birds, called fledglings, on
the ground. Usually they have fallen out of their nest. You can pick
them up and return them to the nest. Birds will not abandon their
babies because a human being has touched them. If you can’t
reach the nest, place the fledgling up high in a bush for protection.
you find an injured or sick bat, you should leave it alone. It could
be rabid. Call 911 (in Chicago, call 311) and ask for Animal Care and
Control. Local Animal Care and Control will come out and remove the
bat for testing.
you find abandoned baby skunks, you should phone a rehabilatator
first. Often, the baby skunks are not truly abandoned by their
mother. If you must move baby skunks, wear rubber gloves first.
Skunks can carry rabies.
skunk large enough to require two hands to pick up is old enough to
be on its own.
you must move an injured adult skunk, wear rubber gloves. Skunks
spray when they are frightened; their eyesight is poor. Speak to the
skunk in a low voice so that it realizes you are approaching.
Center for Disease Control recommends that people do not keep skunks
as pets because of the likelihood of their passing on various
diseases, including rabies.
Flintcreek Wildlife 847-842-8000
Willowcreek Wildlife Center 630-942-6200