FROM OUR STAFF:
Veterinary technician Addie is interested in wildlife rehabilitation. Addie says:
Every spring Cedar Pet Clinic gets numerous calls on wildlife animals, especially babies. Here are some common problems humans run into with wildlife babies. Please remember that animals do much better out in the wild. If they are healthy and still being cared for by their parents, they must not be disturbed. Wildlife animals become very stressed when they come in contact with humans. We do not recommend feeding a wild animal, for they have very specific nutritional requirements. In the state of Minnesota, it is illegal to rehabilitate wildlife without a correct license or to keep them as pets. Please use common sense when it comes to wild animals. They will bite, they carry diseases and they do not make good pets. We are all animal lovers but please do not attempt to take care of an abandoned or injured wild animal. You maybe end up doing more harm than good. If you are concerned and unsure of what to do, please call Wildlife Rehabilitation Center of Minnesota in Roseville, Cedar Pet Clinic Lake Elmo or a veterinary hospital close to you.
The WRC is a non-profit organization that is a specific veterinary hospital for native wild animals.
Wildlife Rehabilitation Center of Minnesota
2530 Dale Street North
Roseville, MN 55113
Eastern Cottontails are born in March. Adults make nests in a shallow hole in the ground covered with leaves, grass and their own fur. The females only visit the nest twice per day to nurse their young, at dawn and dusk. Female rabbits are often near their nest location and employ certain behaviors to ensure their nest is not revealed to predators. If you think the nest is abandoned, place flour around the nest, wait 24 hours and then check for the presence of any adult footprints. It is best not to move the nest. If the baby rabbit is left alone for a significant amount of time or is injured it must be brought to a veterinary professional.
Squirrels have two liters a year beginning in early March. It is common for baby squirrels to fall out of the nest. If the female is present she will pick up the babies and bring them back up into the nest. We suggest leaving the baby for two hours to give the female a chance to claim the baby. If it is left alone for a significant amount of time or is injured it must be brought to a veterinary professional.
Raccoons are born at the end of April. If you think a baby raccoon is abandoned, please wait 24 hours before intervening to let the mother have a chance to claim her baby. Raccoons carry a roundworm parasite called Balisascaris that can be deadly to humans. If it is left alone for a significant amount of time or is injured it must be brought to a veterinary professional.
Many young songbirds fall out of the nest. Picking up a young songbird and placing it back into the nest will not harm them or their future survival. If placing the bird back into the original nest is not possible, using a make-shift nest out of materials from your home will suffice. Try using a plastic container with holes punched in the bottom and soft leaves and grass as padding. Place the make-shift nest in a tree close to where the bird was found and watch the nest to ensure the adult female or male is around to take care of the young bird. Adult birds will communicate and care for their young if they can see and hear where the babies are located. If no adults are seen or the young bird is injured it must be brought to a veterinary professional. Juvenile songbirds spend a week to two weeks on the ground because their flight feathers have not fully grown out. The parents are still communicating and taking care of them during this transition. This is a prime age for cat attacks.
Adult songbirds become territorial during breeding season and therefore might become injured or stunned after flying into your window because of the sight of their reflection. If this occurs, place the bird in a container that they are unable to escape from, leave for a couple of hours in a warm, dark and quiet area, and release back outside. If they do not fly away, they are injured and must be brought to a veterinary professional.
Mallards are born in early April, and Canada Geese are born in late April. Waterfowl are precocial birds, meaning they are able to self-feed at birth. If a waterfowl baby is truly injured or abandoned, it must be brought to a veterinary professional immediately.
Please bring abandoned and injured wildlife to the Wildlife Rehabilitation Center of Minnesota. They are open 365 days a year. If you are unable to get transportation to this hospital, the veterinary professionals at Cedar Pet Clinic Lake Elmo or any veterinary hospital can stabilize the animal before transferring it to the WRC or a licensed private wildlife rehabilitator.
Photo credit: Becky Sheridan--istockphoto