After-Hours Rescuer Information

So you've found an injured animal! What do you do now?

Safety first - even baby animals can scratch or bite. If you handle a wild animal, always wear gloves (or other hand covering) and eye protection! Never approach or attempt to handle a wild animal unless you are certain you can do so without harm to yourself or the animal!

Basic guidelines for rescuing an injured or orphaned wild animal:

Never touch a mammal with bare hands.

Always wear eye protection and protect your hands and arms (wear gloves if available) when attempting to capture a wild animal.

Carefully and thoroughly assess the situation to determine if capture is safe for you, and for the animal, before attempting a capture.

Once you are certain an animal needs help, find a secure container with pre-punched air holes (for example, a shoebox, paper bag or pet carrier), ideally with a towel or other cloth on the bottom to prevent the animal from sliding. Make sure the container has a lid that won’t open, as you do not want the animal to escape.

Approach the animal slowly, without speaking to him or making unnecessary noise. Throwing a towel over him may be an option.

Once you have the animal contained, remember that it is easy for animals to overheat, so do NOT tightly wrap the animal or bury him in blankets or towels. Making sure a wild animal’s eyes are covered is important to reduce stress, but covering him tightly so he can’t breathe or gets too hot is very dangerous. If you’re using a heating pad, be sure to only put HALF of the container on the pad, to give the animal the option to move off the heat if he gets too hot. Too much heat can kill as easily as too much cold!

Never give an animal any food, fluids or medications, as these will usually end up on the animal’s fur or feathers during transport. Resist the urge to peer in at the animal or speak to him. Wild animals can die from stress alone, and they see humans as predators.

Temporary overnight care instructions for your rescued animal:

Place the animal in a warm, dark, quiet place. Any room where you can close the door is fine. Even a closet will work if necessary.

Keep the animal warm using a heating pad if available but set the heating pad to "low," and only place half the box on the pad to prevent overheating. Overheating injuries are common with rescued animals. Always give the animal the option to move off the heat.

Leave the animal alone. Remember human noise, touch and eye contact are very stressful to wild animals. Please resist the urge to check on the animal regularly or handle him, as this only increases stress.

Keep children and pets away.

Call WildCare 415-456-7283 or your local wildlife care center at 9am the next morning. Use the Animal Help Now site/app to find your local wildlife care center.