Many well-meaning people rescue an orphaned mammal or bird that does not need to be rescued.
DO NOT rescue wildlife and then keep (kidnap) the bird or animal for a possible pet. State and federal laws protect nearly all wild mammals and birds. It is against the law to possess the animal or bird or the nests, feathers, or eggs of a bird without special permits.
In addition, dietary needs of each species of bird and animal are different and it is almost impossible to duplicate their needs in captivity without special training. TWRC receives many irreparably damaged birds and animals because the rescuer tried to keep it as a pet and did not know how to provide for it properly.
It is not true that mammals or birds will always reject their young once they have been handled by humans. Nonetheless, the handling of wild babies should be avoided or kept to a minimum. Handling by humans can be stressful to the animal. Also, the human scent can sometimes attract predators seeking food.
Below are things you can do to help a wild creature in trouble:
Temporary Care Instructions for All Animals
- Never pick up any wild animal/bird with your bare hands. Only adults should handle a wild animal. Wear gloves and use a stick, broom or rolled up newspaper to push the animal into an appropriately-sized, secure box with a blanket, t-shirt or paper towel on the bottom. Make sure the box has holes in the lid. DO NOT put the animal into a plastic bag.
- Do not give the animal any food or liquids. Feeding an animal an incorrect diet can result in injury or death. Also, a captured animal will get food and water stuck in its fur/feathers potentially leading to discomfort and hypothermia.
- If an animal or bird has been caught by a cat, please take it to the Center immediately. Even if wounds are not visible, the animal or bird needs to be given antibiotics.
- Keep the animal in a warm, dark, quiet place. Darkness makes the animal feel more secure. The box can be placed half on and half off a heating pad set on low. If the animal gets too warm it can move to the other end of the box.
- Leave the animal alone. Remember human noise, touch and eye contact are very stressful to wild animals.
- Keep children and pets away. BE CAREFUL! An animal that is hurt or frightened may bite.
- Take the animal to the Center or call TWRC at 713-468-8972 for further assistance.