Tips for Rescuing Wildlife

  1. Prepare a container. Use a cardboard box with a lid AND NO HOLES or a small pet carrier large enough for the baby or babies. You can add air holes with a pen. Line the bottom with a towel or washcloth, or some paper towels.
  2. Gently pick up the animal and place in the container. Wear gloves or use a thick towel or blanket when handling wildlife. Even young, sick, or injured animals will protect themselves or accidentally bite or scratch a rescuer.
  3. Keep the baby warm, in a dark, quiet place. To keep warm, use one of the following:
    1. ​A heating pad on the LOWEST setting and put one end of the box or carrier on the heating pad
    2. A sock filled with rice, warmed in the microwave or 
    3. A water bottle filled with warm water. Always test the heat of microwave-warmed items by holding against your skin for 30 seconds to ensure it is not too hot. Place hot item in the box under the towel. Do not put in direct contact with the baby—weak or injured babies may not be able to move away from the heat source, and can become overheated or be burned.  
    4. Find a dark and quiet place to keep the box away from household pets and children. The dark atmosphere and quiet will help the baby feel safe, lowering stress, and allowing them to sleep and conserve energy until they can be cared for by a rehabilitator.
  4. ​Tape the box shut, if needed, and cover the box/carrier with a towel or sheet.
  5. Wash your hands after contact with wild- life. Wash anything the animal came in contact with—this will prevent the spread of any diseases or parasites the animal may have from being spread to household members or pets.
  6. Contact the Blue Ridge Wildlife Center (540-837-9000) or a local permitted rehabilitator. A full list of permitted rehabilitators for the Commonwealth of Virginia can be found on the Department of Game and Inland Fisheries website. For out-of-state wildlife issues, please contact your local wildlife department or department of natural resources for information on local laws and contact information for local rehabilitators.
  7. While waiting to hear from a rehabilitator or to transport wildlife to care, DO NOT attempt to feed or offer water to wildlife.
  8. As soon as possible, get the animal to a permitted wildlife rehabilitator. Successful rehabilitation is dependent on time: the less time between you finding an orphaned or injured baby and it being taken in to care with a rehabilitator, the better its chances of being healed or raised to release.


Blue Ridge Wildlife Center

106 Island Farm Lane
Boyce, VA 22620

Support the Wildlife Center

For wildlife concerns/emergencies,
dial our hotline: (540) 837-9000.