Hayes Branch Animal Refuge, Inc
What do I do with this wild animal?
First, contact a licensed wildlife rehabilitator. They can give you the specific information you need to care for the animal, until the animal can be transferred to them. They are equipped to handle the special needs of orphaned and injured wildlife. Rehabber's can usually be found by searching the internet for your state. Your state Dept. of Natural Resources is also a primary source, because most states require that rehabilitator's obtain a permit through their main office.
If you are unable to contact a local rehabber right away, keep trying. Spring and summer are extremely busy times for rehabbers. Until then, here are a few tips to remember, as a good "rule of thumb".
It will obviously depend on what kind of animal and it's general age; infant, juvenile, or adult.
1. Protect yourself, your family and your own pets at all times! Until the animal can be transferred, keep them isolated from all household pets, activity, and noise. Infants and injured animals need to be kept warm, however, no animal should be placed in an unventilated, garage in the heat of summer. DO NOT let children handle them or play around them. Not only is this potentially dangerous for the child, but this can cause some animals to go into shock. Always wash hands thoroughly before and after caring for the animal. Wear leather gloves for protection when necessary. Clean and disinfect, and/or bag and dispose of all bedding after the animal has been transferred.
2. Always make sure an infant is warm and dry before attempting to feed them anything.
3. For infants and younger juveniles, start the first feeding with clear Pedialyte (or similar product) to get them re-hydrated and help with the transition from mother's milk to a replacement formula. For infants, use an eye dropper for feeding, as this is much safer for the infant and a more controllable method of delivery for you. For any age animals, never give them table scraps!! Fresh fruits, vegetables, nuts, cat or dog food are the most common things you may already have in your home to offer, until you can find out specifics. Potato chips, Twinkies, or any other junk food is UNACCEPTABLE!
4. Never, never give a wild animal ANY FORM of cows milk! (This includes evaporated milk.) Goat's milk is sometimes a safe substitute, but even this should be well researched before you offer them any kind of milk replacement.
5. The internet is a VERY big place, with a great deal of fact AND fiction. Try to find at least two sources that are associated with a university, government agency, or well known wild animal care facility.
6. Do not hesitate to ask the rehabber if they have a permit issued by the state (if required). If they are licensed, they should be happy that you were concerned enough to ask!