If you are having a problem with a wild animal invading your home or business and are looking for a humane alternative to a lethal Pest Company, please visit our *Wildlife Problem* page for easy solutions.
If you have a wildlife emergency, as in, an injured or orphaned wild animal, please read the emergency information below. If you still need help, read our contact information below.
To report poaching (intentional killing or injuring of wildlife), polluting of habitat, etc. please call the CA. Dept. of Fish & Wildlife Hotline at (888) DFG-CALTIP
- I HAVE A WILDLIFE EMERGENCY – WHAT DO I DO?
- WHO TO CALL
- Raising an Orphaned Animal
- I found a baby songbird. What do I do?
- I found a baby HUMMINGBIRD
- I found a baby Jackrabbit
- I found a baby Deer (Fawn)…
- I found an Injured Adult Deer…
- I found a baby Squirrel…
- I found a baby Opossum…
- I found a baby Raccoon…
If you have found an injured or orphaned wild animal:
- Please read this page to determine if the animal is actually in need of help.
- Do not give the animal any food or water. A captured animal will get food and water stuck in its fur/feathers potentially leading to discomfort and hypothermia. Feeding an animal an incorrect diet can result in gastrointestinal injury or death.
- Keep the animal warm. Place in a box with a towel, tissue, or old t-shirt. Make sure the box has holes in the lid. If you have a heatingpad, place the box halfway on the heatingpad and set the heatingpad to LOW only.
- Keep the animal in a dark, quiet place.
- Leave the animal alone; don’t handle or bother it. Keep children and pets away to avoid death by Capture Myopathy.
If the animal you have found is a bat, skunk, fox or coyote, do not handle the animal with bare hands. Because these animals are rabies-vector species, they MUST be handled with gloves or towels ! It is a strict rule in California that if someone touches a rabies-vector animal directly, the animal MUST be euthanized and tested for rabies to ensure the health and safety of the finder and the community.
Yggdrasil Urban Wildlife Rescue – (510) 421-9897:
WE ONLY TAKE INFANT MAMMALS
At the present time, due to loss of our main facility, we can only accept baby mammals. Please do NOT drop animals off at our previous locations as WE ARE NO LONGER THERE and the animals left there will die. To arrange drop-off please CALL or TEXT US FIRST at 510-421-9897. Thank you.
FOR BIRDS and Adult & Injured Wildlife Mammals in the San Francisco Bay Area:
- Lindsay Wildlife Museum in Walnut Creek (NATIVES ONLY – NO PIGEONS or SKUNKS) – (925) 935-1978
- Sulpher Creek in Hayward – (510) 881-6747
- Ohlone Wildlife in Fremont – (510) 797-9449 (PIGEONS OK)
- WildCare in San Rafael – (415) 456-SAVE (PIGEONS OK)
- Peninsula Humane in Burlingame – (650) 340-7022
- San Francisco Rescue Orphaned Mammal Program (SFROMP) in San Francisco – (415) 350-WILD or (415) 554-9400
- Or look up your nearest Wildlife Center
FOR WATER BIRDS:
Contact the International Bird Rescue and Research Center Wildlife hospital at: (707) 207-0380 ext. 110
WILDLIFE EMERGENCIES Outside the SF Bay Area:
For all other areas, please use the following links to find the wildlife center nearest you:
- In California: To find a wildlife rehabilitation center nearest you in California, visit this List of California Wildlife Rehabilitation Centers
- Nationally: Here is a great website with resources on finding a wildlife center anywhere in the United States: http://www.nwrawildlife.org/?page=Find_A_Rehabilitator.
- Internationally: To search Internationally, go to https://theiwrc.org/resources/emergency
For many bird species, leaving the nest before being flighted is a natural part of adolescence. Young birds with developing feathers frequently take up residence on the ground in the grass or bushes near their old nest where they continue to be fed and taught by their parents. Some things to keep in mind about birds:
* Parent birds will continue to feed their babies after you have touched them.
Most birds have a poor sense of smell and parent birds won’t know you have touched their baby. Baby birds can be returned to the nest! Parent birds will even be foster parents for an abandoned baby of the same species and age of their own young.
* Parent birds will search for their babies even after 24 to 48 hours of absence.
Most birds have their own territories. Even if the nest and babies are gone, the parents remain in their home territory, waiting to welcome their babies home.
* Birds only need to be rescued if they are:
- caught by a cat or dog
- icy cold
- naked (no feathers)
* Symptoms of an Injury or Illness:
- Falling over on one side
- Unable to flutter wings
- Weak or shivering
- Attacked by cat or dog
- Wing tweaked upward
- Wing drooping
- Feathers fluffed
Has the Bird Been Abandoned?
Watch for the parents… observe the baby bird continuously for 60 to 90 minutes from a distance of 50 feet. Watch carefully; the parents will fly in and out quickly.
If you have the bird in a box, check the feces…
- Clear with white poop (or green bile) indicates a baby bird is not being fed, and is likely abandoned.
- Color in the poop indicates that the parents are feeding the baby, and the bird should be put back where it was found.
Naked and pin-feathered birds should be kept warm while trying to locate their nest. The babies will get chilled quickly.
An entire nest of birds can be placed in a small tissue-filled wicker basket or butter tub with drainage holes in the bottom. Nail the basket or tub to a tree in a location safe from crows and hawks (with some tree-cover). Be sure that a branch shields the nestlings from sunburn.
One single baby must be returned to the original nest with its siblings. Parent birds will only sit on and feed the babies in one nest. If the nestling cannot be returned, contact your local wildlife rehabilitation center.
These birds have feathers and short tails and can perch, hop or walk. They are learning to fly, a process that may take two weeks. Fledglings should be left alone to practice hopping and fluttering from low shrub branches to the ground. The parents are close by, and continue to feed the babies until they learn to fly and eat on their own. Parents will guide the fledglings into the bushes at night to hide from predators.
To return a fledgling to its territory after it has been brought indoors:
- Keep pets and children indoors so the parents will return to their baby.
- If a bird can perch on your finger, place it in a bush near the area you found it.
- If you found the bird in a high-traffic area, move it to a nearby safe area under the cover of bushes. Don’t worry – Parents communicate with their young by a series of voice calls. As long as a fledgling is placed in its home territory, the parents will be able to locate it and move it to a safe location.
- At a distance, (indoors is best) watch continuously for one hour for the parents to return. If the parents don’t return, call your local wildlife rehabilitation center immediately.
If you find an injured or orphaned hummingbird on the ground, lift it along with the material it is sitting on, and place it on crumpled tissue in a shoebox with holes in the lid. Always use tissue or paper towels, NOT cloth—the bird’s feet may become entangled in the cloth.
Call your local wildlife rehabilitation center immediately. Hummingbirds will die within four hours if not fed. Hummingbird babies that are fed sugarwater or commercial hummingbird nectar for more than 24 hours may develop crippling deformities.
Never attempt to remove baby hummingbirds from their nest. Young hummingbirds secure themselves to the nest by weaving their tiny toes around the nest fabric. So firm is their hold, that if lifted from the nest, most often the legs are left behind.
It can be very difficult to tell if a baby jackrabbit is orphaned. Some facts to keep in mind about jackrabbit behavior:
* Jackrabbits are “precocial,” meaning they are born fully furred with their eyes open, and will start nibbling greens within a week.
* A baby jackrabbit is called a leveret. A leveret’s main defense when threatened is to freeze, which is often mistaken by people as being calm. The animal is not calm, it is terrified.
* The mother jackrabbit separates her litter for a better chance of some babies surviving.
* There is no nest! Jackrabbit young will stay hidden in the grass, shrubs, or other ground-level growth where the mother leaves them.
* The mother only comes to feed the young two or three times a day. Otherwise, the young jackrabbits are left alone. Even if you are watching carefully, you may not see the mother jackrabbit return to her young. Do not assume the babies are orphaned simply because you do not see the mother!
* Leverets will wander a bit. When the mother returns to the area, she calls to her young and they come to nurse.
* Never try to feed a leveret, they have very delicate digestive systems.
* Jackrabbits are extremely high-stress animals; they can die from fear.
* Jackrabbits have very strong hind limbs and if restrained may kick out hard enough to break their own backs.
* The mother only comes to feed the young two or three times a day. Otherwise, the young fawns are left alone while their mother is out searching for food to make more milk. Even if you are watching carefully, you may not see the mother return to her young. Do not assume the baby(s) are orphaned simply because you do not see the mother! Fawns will wander a bit. When the mother returns to the area, she calls to her young and they come to nurse.
If a fawn is seen lying upright, eyes wide open, but flattened to the ground, do not touch it. This is a fawn’s camouflage position. It blends with its surroundings. When it is picked up it will hold its legs tight against its body with its head forward. Its legs are not broken. Sometimes the fawn allows its body to become limp and dangle in your hands. Put it down, walk away and leave it alone. This fawn is too small to follow the doe for the long distance she must travel to find enough food to make milk for her baby. A doe may leave her baby alone for up to 6 hours at a time in her search to find food. Doe’s milk is very rich and will sustain the fawn for the many hours it spends alone. The doe will return only when there are no humans nearby. Do not sit and wait for her to return. If you have removed the fawn from its resting spot take it back at once and walk away. The doe will be searching for her fawn.
* Deer are extremely high-stress animals; they can die from fear. Petting the fawn, talking to it, holding it, does not comfort it. This is a wild animal. Human voices, odor and touch only add to the stress and will cause additional harm besides the illness or injury. When a fawn seems calm it may be in shock. (Read about “Capture Myopathy” here)
If a fawn is obviously ill, lying on its side, kicking, crying – pick it up and place it in a quiet place. A light cloth placed over the animal’s head will sometimes calm it. Keep it away from pets and all human activity. If the weather is cold, a blanket may be placed over its body to keep it from becoming chilled. In hot weather a cool location, out of drafts, and call your local wildlife center.
*Deer have sensitive digestive tracts. DO NOT FEED THE FAWN ANYTHING other than water. Baby formula, cow’s milk, feed store mixes, pet store domestic animal formulas, soy products – will cause scouring, dehydration and death. CALL A WILDLIFE CENTER at once for help.
Unfortunately there are no resources to help injured adult Deer, anywhere. The good news is that if the animal is mobile, the ability to heal and survive is tremendous. I have seen deer with a leg dangling off heal up and survive for years! Please read THIS article for more tips on how you can help injured adult deer.
If the animal is NOT MOBILE, is laying prone, has a broken back, hip, or head injury, and is suffering with no chance of recovering on it’s own, then helping by contacting agencies that can access and provide a swift end is the most merciful option, rather than letting it linger and suffer for days before it finally dies on it’s own. There are some services for this and they mostly involve calling your local animal control agency who will come out to assess and if they observe that the deer is not savable, they will call the local police department to dispatch it quickly. Here are some numbers to help you if this is the issue:
- In Berkeley, please call BACS at 510-981-6600
- In Oakland, please call 510-535-5602 or after hours, 510.777.3333
While the deer is laying helpless in your backyard, I am sure you will have the impulse to try to comfort it. This is normal. However, because Deer are wild animals, they react to your petting and comforting differently than you might intend. Please read below about Capture Myopathy to understand better how our attempts to comfort may make the deer suffer more than if we were to just back off and leave it alone while we wait for help to come.
Capture myopathy (or white muscle disease) is a response by prey animals to abnormal stressors. It is a syndrome of acute muscle degradation resulting from stress, especially fear. It can occur without exercise (animal does not have to be chased or even captured).
Capture Myopathy occurs in Prey animals such as deer and rabbits and it is Mother Nature’s built-in defense mechanism for situations where these animals have been captured by predators. Once captured, to prevent them from suffering while being eaten alive by a hawk or cougar, their body releases hormones that break down the muscle tissue in the heart, resulting in death.
The clinical signs of capture myopathy include sudden death within 24 hours, depression, rapid shallow breathing, and failure to recover from anesthesia. Death can occur after several hours of symptoms, or from cardiac arrest. The animal may also appear to recover, but has heart damage. It may die at the next stressful event.
There is no treatment for capture myopathy. Prevention is the only treatment. That’s why you’ll get the same advice from rehabbers across the country. Keep the animal dark and quiet until you can get it to help. This reduces stress and the therefore the chance of capture myopathy.
Loud Chirping? Click here to hear the sound of a baby squirrel in distress
Making it possible for Mom to get her baby back is the very best thing that you can do. Baby squirrels fall out of trees all of the time – whether they are learning to climb, playing with siblings, or just hit with an unexpected brisk wind. If alive and healthy, Mom will most definitely try to retrieve her baby if her baby is warm and healthy, regardless of whether or not you have touched it.
1. Contain the Baby
Put the baby in a small box or basket with a t-shirt or towel. Make sure that the baby cannot climb out.
2. Keep the Baby Warm
Mom won’t take back a cold baby because she will think it is sick or dying.
- Fill a water bottle with warm water, cover it with a sock and place it near the baby (propped so that it doesn’t roll onto the baby). Refill with warm water every few hours.
- Place a hot wet washcloth in a ziploc bag and place it under a tshirt under the baby. Just make sure it’s not too hot or you can easily burn a baby.
3. Put the Container in a Tree
If there is not any danger of dogs or cats disturbing the babies, you can leave the box at the base of the tree where they fell (or as close as possible). Otherwise, use rope or string or wire to tie the box to the tree. If you can wedge it in the crotch of two branches, even better. It doesn’t have to be perfect because unlike birds, squirrels can carry their babies in their mouths and move them. They will take the babies one by one to one of their backup nests. If their tree has been cut down completely, put them in the closest tree, on a nearby tall post, on top of anything 8-10 feet tall. Another option is to put the baby in a hanging basket on the tree.
4. Leave the Immediate Area
Get away from the area but stay close enough to keep an eye on them. Wait 4-6 hours in good weather or until dark, whichever comes first. If the baby is found late at night or in hard rain, you can take the baby inside, and keep it warm, then try to reunite it in the morning when it’s clear. Mom won’t approach her babies if there are people or animals around. Keep people away.
5. If Mom Doesn’t Show
If mom doesn’t show up, it’s time to take action. Perhaps mom was killed, sick or there is something wrong with the baby that you just can’t see. Contact us at 510-421-9897
Opossums are marsupials. Their babies are born very tiny, no bigger than a dime, and the mothers carry them in a pouch. When the babies grow bigger, they cling to the mother’s back until they are so large they fall off and start life on their own. Solitary, nomadic, and nocturnal, they are rarely active during daylight; they look for a safe, dark place to sleep. Opossums eat a wide variety of foods, including garden snails, slugs, insects, mice, fruits, and snakes. They will also opportunistically seek out dog and cat food, as well as trash. When confronted or startled, they will run away or may “play dead”—lying motionless for up to an hour. If cornered, opossums gape their mouths, showing off their 50 pointy teeth, trying to look as fearsome as possible.
Hit by car or attacked by dog: If it can be safely put into a secure container without touching the animal, it can be brought to the wildlife hospital or call Animal Services. If you find a dead opossum, check to see if it has a pouch on the lower abdomen. If there are babies in the pouch, bring them to a wildlife hospital
Orphaned young opossums: If the opossum is 8 inches from the nose to the base of the tail or larger, it is okay to leave it alone—this is the normal age for them to leave their mothers. If it is less than 8 inches or is injured, place it in a warm, dark container and bring it to a wildlife hospital as soon as possible. They require special diets, so no food or water should be offered.
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Raccoons are nocturnal—they need a quiet, dark place during the daytime. They are attracted by pet food, ripe fruit, and water. Their nesting season begins in February and can go through October. Litters average 2 to 7 babies, and they are weaned after 12 to 16 weeks. Adult raccoons are usually solitary, but young raccoons may stay with their mother during the winter, either in the same den or nearby. They den in tree cavities, underground burrows made by other animals, and human-made structures, such as chimneys, basements, attics, spaces, under patios, and between walls.
It is not good to feed raccoons, either intentionally or unintentionally. Don’t leave pet food outside at night; keep ripe fruit picked; and keep garbage cans securely covered or inside a garage at night. Raccoons are excellent climbers and are very dexterous. Raccoons cannot be relocated. A territory left open by removing one animal will be quickly filled by another. It is also illegal in California to relocate animals. Please do not give food or water to any injured or orphaned animals.
Young raccoon alone: If under the house or in a nest area, leave them alone so the mother will return. If in an inappropriate area (out in the open), wait until evening to see if the mother returns. They may be placed in a box that they can’t get out of, but the mother can get in. Do not handle the raccoons with your bare hands. Since raccoons are nocturnal, the mother will not return until night. If the mother doesn’t return, bring them to a wildlife hospital.
Hit by car: If the raccoon can safely be put into a secure container without touching the animal, it can be brought to the hospital. Otherwise, call animal control, especially for adult raccoons.