Orphaned Wildlife

What to do if you find a baby bird

What to do if you find a baby mammal

Baby Bunnies — Baby bunnies are commonly found in the spring and summer and assumed to be orphaned.  Actually, bunnies are rarely orphaned, and mom is usually hiding close by.  If you find baby bunnies, please read the House Rabbit Society’s Information page to find out what is the best thing to do for them.  More often than not this means leaving them where they are and keeping pets away.

There is nothing more adorable than a baby animal. They are so helpless and trusting of humans. It is hard to dissociate that orphaned animals are in fact wild and will grow up to be very self-reliant with the appropriate care.

It is highly discouraged that an untrained person attempt to hand raise an orphaned wild animal without a wildlife rehabilitation license. Not only is it a bad idea, but also it is illegal. These guidelines for feeding orphans are NOT designed to raise an orphan to adulthood, but rather to sustain an orphan for a few days before it can be transferred to a trained rehabilitator. An orphaned wild animal should ALWAYS be taken to a wildlife rehabilitation center where it can be hand-raised by a trained professional, socialized with members of the same species and ultimately released back into the wild.

It is always best to contact a knowledgeable professional prior to handling wildlife in order to make sure the animal truly needs care. Handling should only be done with leather gloves to prevent scratches.

If you would like more information please feel free to call the New England Wildlife Teaching Hospital at 781-682-4878 ext 113.

Other Rehabilitators — The MassWildlife webpage has an extensive list of wildlife rehabilitators located around the state.  Additionally, here is a list of local animal control officers.

**IMPORTANT ** —  Periodically throughout the year we reach our capacity for wild animals.  We have a very small paid staff and operate mainly on a volunteer basis.  When we feel we cannot safely care for more animals our only options are to recommend that wildlife be brought to other rehabilitators or to humanely euthanize them.  We have finite resources and no other options.  Be aware that there is no guarantee that we can accept wildlife on any given day.  If we have room and resources we will gladly accept it.  If we cannot accept it, please help us find someone who can care for the animal.



Dr. Greg MertzOrphaned Wildlife