What should you do with those baby bunnies your cat or dog brought in?
What about that bird hopping around in your driveway?
(To locate a legally Authorized Wildlife Custodian in Ontario, click HERE)
Wild Animal Babies – orphans
. . . or just ‘home alone’?
Just because you ‘see’ the baby animal there, doesn’t necessarily make it a true orphan. In some cases, it’s perfectly normal for baby wildlife to be without the parents. If you have determined that the animal is an orphan or is injured or sick, be sure to wear gloves and use a towel to keep from touching the animal. It’s important to remember that even tiny babies will bite because they are afraid and it is instinctive that they want to protect themselves to the best of their ability. They are, after all - wild animals!
Wild Animal Babies...when do they need your help?
The following checklist will help you establish whether any wild animal needs to be brought to an authorized wildlife custodian for care and examination
If you followed the instructions on our pages and the animal in question:
…then that animal needs to be brought in.
...then that animal needs to be brought in.
If you believe that if you leave this mammal or bird, where it is, or put it back where you found it, that the neighbourhood cats or dogs (or some other predator) will come along and eat it, that is not a justifiable reason for taking a wild animal baby from it's parents. The reality is, that we have no control over the fact that people won’t keep their cats indoors or their dogs on a leash, in spite of many city, town and municipal bylaws that make it mandatory for them to do so.
These domestic animals are by no means a part of ‘nature.’ Predation by other wildlife sometimes is. An uninjured bird or mammal must be given a chance to be reunited with its mother. That is the animals best chance for survival - being raised by a natural parent. Cats and dogs who roam freely can be confined indoors long enough for the wild animal's mother to retrieve it.
If you feel that public health and safety is at risk from any wild animal, police should be called out immediately to assist in securing the area and keeping the public out of harms way.
Wild Animal Babies . . .
keeping them warm until Mom comes to get them
There is one important thing to remember, with both baby birds and mammals. If the baby has little or no body fur, or little or no feathers, they will need some supplemental warmth in the box. Fill an empty water bottle with warm water, make sure the cap is on tightly, wrap a towel around it, and put it in the corner of the box. Take a seat inside your house and watch from there to see if the mom comes to fetch it. If she's still around, she should come to get her baby within a few hours. If the mother has not come back by dusk, it’s not likely she will come out at night so you’ll need to safely put the baby in a warm, dry, dark, predator-free place for the night. A shed or garage, where you can provide supplemental heat is the best option until daylight comes again and you can try once more. Contact your local authorized wildlife custodian or wildlife centre for more help.
Wild Animal Babies . . .
don’t keep them in the house
Don't make the mistake of bringing nocturnal wild babies inside your home for the night. While that may work with species such as baby songbirds and baby squirrels whose parents are not active at night, it does not work for nocturnal mammals (e.g. raccoons, skunks) whose parents are active in the dark. Any reunion with the parent animals for nocturnal mammals will not take place if you’ve brought that baby inside your home for the night. That's the time their mother will come looking for them.
Click on a species link above or below for more information on what to do. Use the back button on your browser to return to this page.