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.

Baby Orphaned Squirrels

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


Wildlife Emergency – What do I do?

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.

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Who To Call:

Yggdrasil Urban Wildlife Rescue – (510) 421-9897:


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:


Contact the International Bird Rescue and Research Center Wildlife hospital at: (707) 207-0380 ext. 110


For all other areas, please use the following links to find the wildlife center nearest you:


Raising an Orphaned Animal

Raising a wild animal from babyhood is a tremendously challenging process. For instance, raising a wild bird properly takes 2 to 4 months of intensive care. During this time, naked and pre-feathered nestlings must be fed every 20 to 30 minutes from dawn to dusk (roughly 14 hours) every day. Skipping any feedings or feeding the wrong diet during this critical period can result in irreversible deformities that may not be seen until the animal is a juvenile. Each animal species has specific caloric and natural diet needs and babies need to be taught how to recognize, find and eat these foods in order to survive in the wild. Once self-feeding, they also need weeks in a large, protected outdoor flight aviary or cage to build up muscles and skills that will allow them to compete in their natural environment. Wildlife rehabilitators are equipped with the proper licensing, have extensive knowledge of nutritional and dietary requirements, and have the facilities to properly raise wild patients. All ill, injured or orphaned wild animals must be brought to a licensed wildlife rehabilitator if they are to have any chance at survival.
Keeping a wild animal in the State of California is against the law if you do not have the proper permits and licenses, even if you plan to release the animal. If you are interested in participating in the raising of the wildlife baby you have found, please let us know and we would be happy to sign you up as a volunteer, train you, and involve you in the upbringing and release of the animal you found.

I found a baby songbird. What do I do?

While parent birds will accept a baby back if it has been touched by humans, the stress on the bird can be detrimental. If a baby is naked (without feathers or with few feathers) the requirement for immediate action is much higher.

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:

  • injured
  • caught by a cat or dog
  • icy cold
  • naked (no feathers)
  • orphaned

* 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
  • Bleeding

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.

Fallen Babies:
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.

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I found a Hummingbird. How can I help it?

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.

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I found a baby jackrabbit. Is it orphaned?

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.

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I found a baby deer (fawn). What do I do?

* 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.

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I found an injured ADULT Deer. What do I do?

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.

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“Capture Myopathy” – What is it?

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.

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I found a baby squirrel. What do I do?

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. Here is a CHECKLIST to see if the baby is able to be reunited with the mother:

  • Is the baby visibly injured or badly bleeding?  (Bloody noses are common and are not necessarily a sign of bad injury- mom will often still retrieve them.)
  • Is it very cold to the touch? (Baby squirrels should feel warm.)
  • Is there a dead adult nearby, that you are SURE is the parent? (If you are only guessing, try the reunite still.)
  • Is the baby very skinny or wrinkly? This could mean that the mother has been missing for a long time and the baby is starving and dehydrated.
  • Are there flies or maggots on the baby or in any of its orifices?

If you answered YES to ANY of these questions, the baby is NOT reunitable and you should contact us immediately via call or text at 510-421-9897.

If you answered NO to ALL of these questions, please use the following instructions to attempt to reunite the baby(s):


Please start trying as soon as you can or as early in the morning once the sun is up as this is an active time for squirrels. Always bring babies inside at nightfall, if mama has not retrieved them yet, and contact us.

  • If you have found a single baby check the area for any siblings.
  • Place the baby(s) in a small box surrounded by soft material (fleece, an old t-shirt, or the original nest), with instant hand warmers or a tightly sealed hot water bottle.
  • Place the box near where the baby was found, preferably mounted as high as possible off the ground (bungee cord or rope can be used to affix the box to a tree).
  • Place a bluetooth speaker inside the box with the babies – making sure the speaker sound is facing away from the babies so it doesn’t hurt their ears. If you do not have a bluetooth speaker you can use your cell phone.
  • Using your connected bluetooth device, please visit this youtube page: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tgXnLN9w5BA  and play this over the speakers so the mother can pinpoint on where her babies are. She should come and retrieve her babies before the 1 hour video is over. If not, please repeat.
  • Leave the immediate area and observe from a distance- a mother squirrel won’t return if people are nearby or chainsaws are still being used nearby. The mother squirrel should return to retrieve her baby within a few hours. Mother squirrels usually keep several nests, so it’s not a problem if it was destroyed, they will simply take their babies to a different location.

If the mother squirrel still does not return by dark, retrieve the baby, keep it in a warm place, and contact us at 510-421-9897. Do not try to feed or give water to the baby squirrel. Baby squirrels require a very specific diet and feeding a baby squirrel the wrong food or without the proper supplies and training can make them very sick and be fatal to the baby. (bubbles coming out the nose means the fluid went into the lungs because they were fed incorrectly and they can die from this, for example) Please don’t feed them. Call us first. If you want to join our fostercare team we would love to have you and will teach you how to do everything right so the babies grow up strong and healthy.

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I found an opossum. What do I do?

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.

Common problems:

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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I found a raccoon. What do I do?

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.

Common problems:

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.

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1 Comment

  1. Please do NOT leave a comment here with a wildlife emergency. No one will read it in time. Please use the information above to solve your problem or call the appropriate place for help. Thank you.