baby raccoon behind a branch

Finding Wildlife in Need

Finding orphaned or injured wildlife is alarming as well as exciting. If a wild animal is noticeably injured or orphaned, it likely needs help. Please view the information in this article before attempting to help the animal. It is imperative to keep yourself safe while being mindful of the animal’s well-being. Included below are local rehabilitation centers and information on how to become a certified wildlife rehabilitator.

The Wildlife Rehabilitation Center of Minnesota shares the following criteria where a wild animal needs help.

 – Bleeding/obviously injured/you can see bruising

 – Emaciated/ribs showing

 – Has flies, worms or ants on it

 – Has been handled by a cat

 – Was alone outside overnight or all day long

 – Was sitting next to a deceased parent

The Wildlife Rehabilitation Center of Minnesota shares the following steps for safely containing a wild animal.

  1. Find a container with a lid that you can secure.
  2. Punch air holes in the lid.
  3. If it’s a small, non-rabies vector animal, drop a hand/kitchen towel over the animal, gently pick it up and place it in the box with the towel. Secure the lid. If it’s a larger animal, set the box or transport tub on its side next to the animal. Using your snow shovel gently nudge or slide the animal into the box. Slowly tilt the box upright so the animal gently slides to the bottom of it. Place a towel in the box with the animal to help reduce stress during transport. Secure the lid.
  4. Please notify the rehabilitation center or rehabilitator if the animal can cause you physical harm (herons, loons, swans, fox, etc.). They can help you determine the best approach. Your city’s non-emergency police may also help with containing the animal.

Be mindful that you likely need to transport the animal you find to the rehabilitation center or rehabilitator. Please don’t feed or medicate the animal unless you receive explicit instructions from the wildlife rehabilitation center or rehabilitator.

Interested in becoming a wildlife rehabilitator?

If you want to become a wildlife rehabilitator, please check out the resources below. The Minnesota DNR strongly recommends that you take introductory wildlife rehabilitation training courses, and get hands-on experience as a volunteer working with practicing rehabilitators before applying. Your safety and the animal’s wellbeing are of the utmost importance.