If you have found a wild animal in need of care, call a rehabilitator as soon as possible and follow their instructions.
Do not attempt to treat or raise a wild animal yourself – it’s illegal. Wildlife species differ widely in terms of their capture, care and handling requirements. If you are not properly trained, you could make an animal’s situation worse or kill it. If kept improperly, animals may lose their natural fear of humans and become more vulnerable to predation or injury. Euthanasia is often the only option for wild animals that become habituated to humans.
Things to remember when contacting a rehabilitator
Please keep the following points in mind when you contact a wildlife rehabilitator:
- Make sure the person you contact has a wildlife rehabilitation permit. Those who are not properly trained and permitted often do more harm than good and it is illegal to rehabilitate wildlife without a permit.
- Wildlife rehabilitators are volunteers. Most pay expenses out of their own pockets. Typically, their finances and time are limited and the demand is great. Many rehabilitators have their facilities at home and are not on call 24 hours a day.
- Wildlife rehabilitators are limited by their state and federal permits as to how many and what species of animals they may admit to their facility.
- Most wildlife rehabilitators are unable to provide services to pick up wildlife.
- You may not be able to reach a wildlife rehabilitator immediately especially during spring and summer when they are swamped. You may be able to find a veterinary clinic willing to give immediate care, but many veterinarians are not comfortable treating wildlife.
- You may also visit Washington Wildlife Rehabilitation Association’s web page at https://www.wwrawildlife.org/injured-wildlife-help for a map of permitted Washington State wildlife rehabilitators.
Please do not kidnap baby animals! Many young animals removed from the wild by well-intentioned people do not need to be “rescued” at all. See when not to “rescue” a wild animal.