Pick Up and Transport of Indigenous Wildlife

  1. TRANSPORT VEHICLE: Never transport wildlife in an open-air pick-up truck or the trunk of a car. Only transport animals in a closed vehicle in well ventilated securely closed containers. Keep car noise to a minimum. Keep radio off, windows closed if possible and speak only in a whisper tone. Do not bring children or pets with you.
  2. MATERIALS (REFER TO WIC’S WILDLIFE REHAB GUIDELINES): Keep in car: Heavy gloves, pet carrier, hot-water bottle filled with hot water, blanket, large towel, flannel sheet, newspaper, flashlight, net rubber gloves, street map and eye goggles.
  3. PROPER ATTIRE: Be sure to wear long sleeves and long pants when handling wildlife. Cover-alls made of cotton duck cloth will protect you from scratches, dirt and the occasional pee or poop. Be sure to have a pair of rubber boots with good traction for cage cleaning and muddy, wet rescues.
  4. THE “RESCUE”: It is important to get as much information from the caller as possible regarding the animal in question. If the call is about a baby animal you must ascertain whether or not this animal is truly an orphan or it is simply waiting for its mother to return. Baby deer and cottontails for example are only fed a few times a day by their mother. On the other hand, baby raccoons are given almost constant care by their mother. And fledgling birds often learn to fly from the ground up with the parents watching from overhead. Be sure to ask how many animals there are (with orphans be sure to look around for more that the caller may not have seen).

    Be sure to get proper directions from the caller and refer to a detailed street map.

    When you arrive be sure to ask any on-lookers to go inside or leave the area. It is also important for area cats and dogs to be kept inside.

    Approach the injured or orphaned animal slowly and deliberately. Hesitation will cause much stress on you and the animal. You want your rescue to be as quick and painless as possible. Be sure to wear heavy gloves when handling mammals!

    Once you have captured the animal(s) and placed them in the appropriate container, cover the container with a towel so that the animal is in the dark. This will keep them calm for the car ride. If you have orphaned mammals place a hot water bottle wrapped in flannel in the carrier with them; chances are they are hypothermic.

Any glimpse into the life of an animal quickens our own and makes it so much the larger and better in every way.

John Muir