Become a Rehabber with TWRC!
Rehabilitating wildlife can be an extremely rewarding experience. Some people do this year round and others only occasionally. Most species require a prospective rehabber to obtain special permits to be able to rehabilitate birds, mammals or reptiles. For example, protected songbirds require both state and federal permits while protected mammals and reptiles require only state permits. Endangered species require a higher level of state and federal permits. Some non-protected species require no permits at all. Experienced TWRC rehabbers can help you determine what you need should you be interested in rehabbing wildlife.
Volunteers interested in at-home wildlife rehabilitation can work as a sub-permitted rehabilitator under the mentorship of a permitted rehabilitator. Becoming a permitted wildlife rehabilitator generally takes from 1.5 to 2 years.
Wildlife rehabilitators with TWRC are uniquely supported in a number of ways:
- Discounts on rehab supplies
- Assistance with caging needs and cage set-up/enrichment
- Advance notice of educational opportunities
- Personal mentorship by experienced rehabilitators specializing in the species in which you are interested.
- Assistance with getting sub-permitted or obtaining your own rehabilitation permit for a home facility.
- Free veterinarian assistance for animals in rehabilitation.
- Free medication for rehab animals and access to x-ray equipment.
In order to become a home-based rehabber with TWRC, you must be at least 21 years of age, live in the Greater Houston Area and meet the following requirements:
1) Volunteer in one of the following programs at our center: Opossum and Pals Program, Baby Bird Program, or Baby Squirrel Program for a minimum of 10 hours. These hours must be earned within the 6-month period immediately preceding being sub-permitted and/or receiving animals. Each program has its own orientation and fee and is available only during certain times of the year. Once you have chosen the opportunity you would like to participate in, you can RSVP for an Orientation on that program’s page. If you have questions regarding a volunteer opportunity, please contact the appropriate coordinator listed on the page of the opportunity you are interested in. Please note: Time spent in orientations or feeding training classes are not included in the 10 hour minimum.
Choosing the appropriate program will greatly benefit you! Different programs will teach you skills that you can apply to various species. Recommendations by species are:
Baby Squirrel Program – Will learn skills that will help you in rehabbing squirrels, bunnies, raccoons, flying squirrels
Opossums and Pals Program – Will learn skills that will help you in rehabbing opossums, ducks, doves
Baby Bird Program – Will learn skills that will help you in rehabbing birds of all types (songbirds, raptors, water birds, waterfowl)
2) Become a Rehabber Member of TWRC ($50 membership fee per year)
3) Contact TWRC’s Rehab Coordinator at [email protected] when volunteer hours are complete and you have paid your membership to get sub-permitted and paired with a mentor.
If you have additional questions please contact TWRC’s Rehab Coordinator at [email protected]. For specific questions about the animal care programs, please contact the coordinator of the program you are interested in participating in (found on the page for that volunteer opportunity).
Rehab 101 Informational Sessions
TWRC holds free 101 Informational Sessions (home-based rehab) beginning in the early spring that cover topics such as cost, time commitment and supplies required when rehabbing each species. Their purpose is to give you an idea if rehabbing is a good fit for your budget and lifestyle. There is a wide range of commitment levels, depending upon the species, and TWRC can help you find the perfect match for your busy life. You are not required to attend these classes to become a rehabber, but they are recommended. Please visit our calendar page view class times and dates. To RSVP for a Rehab 101 Informational Session, please email TWRC’s Rehab Coordinator at [email protected] with the date you would like to attend.
IWRC Basic Wildlife Rehabilitation Course
TWRC hosts the International Wildlife Rehabilitation Council’s Basic Wildlife Rehabilitation course each year. This is a 2-day, hands-on training seminar certified through IWRC where Rehabilitators receive formal training to become wildlife rehabilitators. While this course is not required to become a permitted rehabilitator, it offers invaluable health, nutrition, and housing information, as well as education on a number of other topics that are vital to all levels of rehabber, from beginners to those with years of experience. There will oftentimes also be an advanced class offered the day after the Basic Skills course. Please check IWRC’s courses page to see what classes will be offered at TWRC and when the next classes are (typically in January or early February).