So you found an injured bird, animal or reptile and NEED HELP!
Call our 24/7 Help Line: (530) 621-4661
How to Keep the Animal
(and You) Safe
Use light work gloves to place the animal in a well-vented cardboard box with a lid or pet carrier along with soft clothing T-shirts under and over it. Small birds and reptiles can also be placed in a closed paper bag for easy and safe handling.
DO NOT GIVE FOOD OR WATER until you’ve spoken to one of our trained volunteers! Feeding or giving water could be dangerous if the animal requires surgery or special procedures.
Please don’t consider keeping a baby or adult wild animal as a pet, or trying to care for it yourself. The best intensions often end badly, putting both humans and the animal at risk.
Wild Animal Do’s and Don’ts
Wait & Watch
Not every baby animal found or on the ground is abandoned or injured. There may be a mother nearby. Wait and watch the animal for 15 minutes to see if the mother returns before disturbing.
Tip: Exceptions to this rule: very tiny with closed eyes and no fur or feathers; obvious injuries or immediate danger (in a roadway or being stalked by a dog, cat, other predator).
Mothers will often leave their babies to browse for food and/or to distract (or avoid attracting) predators. By keeping a safe distance and waiting up to 15 minutes, you give the mother time to return. If no mother returns, you can call our hotline and safely move a small animal out of harm’s way.
Never Try to Care for an Injured
or Sick Animal Yourself
If you’ve rescued an abandoned, injured, or sick animal, call SWR immediately. Trained wildlife rehabbers know exactly how to care for each species and can determine if the animal is sick from something dangerous, such as rabies, which isn’t always obvious.
Keeping a Baby or Adult Wild Animal is Illegal!
In California, it’s illegal to keep any wild animal as a pet. It’s also illegal to trap or transport a wild animal from your property unless you’re a licensed rehabber or wildlife control business, staff member, or government agency dealing with wild animals.
Wild Animals Do Not Make Nice Pets
Small, young animals look adorable and are often easy to handle as babies, but can be dangerous to you and your home as they grow and their wild instincts take over.