Did you find an animal?

Injured or Orphaned

Did you find an injured animal or one that has possibly been orphaned? Please review the supplied information below and contact the appropriate facility to manage the animal.

Permitted Rehabilitators

injured & Orphaned animals

It is against the law to keep wild animals except to transport them to a permitted wildlife rehabilitator or facility. Click here for a list of Minnesota Rehabilitators & Facilities
Deer

1. Any obviously injured fawn(s) should be brought immediately to a permitted wildlife rehabilitator or rehabilitation facility.

2. If you find an adult injured deer please call a wildlife rehabilitator or facility for assistance. Due to the nature of adult deer, we are unable to rehabilitate them as they would thrash/inflect self-harm while undergoing the necessary restraint and containment necessary for medical care. Many adult deer are able to naturally overcome significant injuries. As long as they are able to get up and walk we recommend allowing the natural process to take place. If you find an adult deer that is down and unable to get up and walk, it is most humane to contact a DNR Conservation Officer or non-emergency police to help dispatch the animal.

3. If you find a healthy fawn(s) alone, leave it alone. The mother will leave her young bedded down somewhere she deems safe while she is off foraging for food. It is common for her to be gone many hours. Unless the fawn is in obvious distress (crying for hours on end) give the mother 4-6+ hours to return by keeping all pets and people well away (indoors if possible). The mother will not return if there is activity in the area. If the fawn gets up and walks around, that is OK. They have scent glands in their feet and the mother can track where her baby went. If after giving the mother significant time to return the baby is still unattended, contact a permitted wildlife rehabilitator or facility to verify orphan status before bringing the animal in for care.
DO NOT FEED the fawn anything, including milk. Every year well-meaning people feed fawns cow’s milk which can cause life-threatening gastrointestinal complications. DO NOT HANDLE unless directed by a permitted wildlife rehabilitator/facility.

Foxes & Coyotes

Fox and coyote are important members of our natural ecosystem, although their presence may cause concern for some. As a predator species, they are known to opportunistically hunt domestic animals such as chickens, rabbits, and occasionally pets such as cats or dogs. However, with a little understanding and proper caution we can peacefully coexist and support these wonderful wild neighbors of ours!

1. Any obviously injured fox/coyote(s) should be brought immediately to a permitted wildlife rehabilitator or rehabilitation facility. Call for advice on safe handling or capture technique.
If you see a fox/coyote stumbling around with difficulty walking or acting lethargic it possibly has distemper virus. Safely capture or live trap the affected animal and bring it to a rehabilitation facility or permitted wildlife rehabilitator. Distemper is a contagious virus that can affect domestic pets (covered by routine veterinary vaccination). If you are unable to safely capture the animal contact a wildlife rehabilitator/facility or your local animal control to assist.
If you see a fox or coyote with patchy or missing fur it possibly has mange – a contagious skin mite commonly seen in these species. Contact a permitted wildlife rehabilitator or facility for advice.

2. If you find a healthy and energetic appearing pup(s) playing or wandering around, they are likely playing while their parents are away. Fox & Coyotes utilize dens to rear their young. While the pups are left in the den, the parents go out to hunt – often for many long hours.  Keep your distance while you observe their health status. Once the parents decide they’re old enough, the pups will disappear while they go on hunting trips with them.

If the pup(s) appear lethargic, weak, or sickly – contact a permitted wildlife rehabilitator or facility right away.

3. Although these species appear cuddly at a young age, they grow into dangerous adults. Every year people try to illegally raise these species with disastrous and grievous results. Do not risk your family’s safety and the health of the animal – get it to a professional immediately!

*It is against the law to keep wild animals except to transport them to a permitted wildlife rehabilitator or facility. If an animal needs rehabilitation, place it in a secure container with air holes. DO NOT FEED the animal(s) anything – including water. Infants will need a mild heat source (heating pad on low under half the container or warm water bottle) until they can be transported. Bring it as soon as possible to a permitted rehabilitator or facility for professional care.

Opossums

Opossums are North America’s only marsupial and are greatly beneficial to our ecosystem. Although they look fearsome, opossums are gentle nomadic creatures who do not hold territories. It is true that they will “play dead” when feeling threatened and will lay with their fearsome mouths open and create an unpleasant smell to deter the predator from eating them. They are scavengers and will eat a wide variety of plant and animals, including roadkill or carrion, making them very important to our environment.

1. Any obviously-injured opossum(s) should be brought immediately to a permitted wildlife rehabilitator or rehabilitation facility. If the opossum is known or suspected to have been attacked by a cat (or in cat’s mouth), bring the opossum to a rehabilitator/facility immediately despite whether there is a visible injury. Bacteria from a cat’s mouth can cause a fatal infection in a very short time and requires immediate medical intervention to prevent death.

2. If you see a dead opossum on the side of the road, if it is safe and legal to pull over, check the opossum’s pouch for orphans.

3. If you find a suspected orphan opossum(s), carefully assess the size and appearance of the opossum. As a general rule, once the opossum is 7” long (not including the tail) they are old enough to be on their own and should be left in the environment as long as they appear healthy. If they are smaller than 7” long (not including the tail), contact a permitted wildlife rehabilitator/facility and prepare to bring the animal in for rehabilitative care.

*It is against the law to keep wild animals except to transport them to a permitted wildlife rehabilitator or facility. If an animal needs rehabilitation, place it in a secure container with air holes, DO NOT FEED the animal(s) anything – including water. Infants will need a mild heat source (heating pad on low under half the container or warm water bottle) until they can be transported. Bring it as soon as possible to a permitted rehabilitator or facility for professional care.

Rabbits

Cottontail rabbits are a very common backyard visitor. Often people or pets find baby rabbits in their yard. Below is advice for the most common scenarios:

1. Any obviously-injured rabbit(s) should be brought immediately to a permitted wildlife rehabilitator or rehabilitation facility. If the rabbit is known or suspected to have been attacked by a cat (or in cat’s mouth), bring the rabbit to a rehabilitator/facility immediately even if there is no visible injury. Bacteria from a cat’s mouth can cause a fatal infection in a very short time and requires immediate medical intervention to prevent death.

2. If you find a nest of baby rabbits that appear healthy the best thing is to leave them alone for the mother to take care of. Rabbit nests are shallow depressions in the ground lined with fur and grass – they are well camouflaged so be careful when performing yard work or lawn mowing. The mother only feeds her babies twice a day (typically dawn and dusk), but otherwise stays away from the nest so as to not draw the attention of predators.

To mark the nest to ensure the mother is caring for her young, place small sticks in an “X” over the top of the nest. Check the nest the following morning for disturbance. The sticks should be moved slightly indicating the mother has fed her babies. If the sticks are undisturbed, call a wildlife rehabilitator or facility to confirm orphan status and prepare to bring the babies to them.

If you have a dog that has found a nest of unorphaned rabbits (as confirmed by marking the nest), you can place a basket or object over the bunny nest while the pet is outside, making sure you remove the object when your pet is inside. This is a short-term inconvenience to allow the babies to be raised by their mother. Once they are fully furred, eyes open, and the size of a tennis ball or bigger they are on their own (weaned from mother) which is typically around 4 weeks of age. Contact a wildlife rehabilitator or facility for further advice on how to help nature while managing a curious pet.

3. If you find a young rabbit that doesn’t run away from you, it is doing what it does naturally. Juvenile rabbits do not have the ability to adequately run away from predators so their response is to “freeze” when they feel threatened. Unless the young rabbit is obviously injured leave it alone, and keep other people and pets away.

*It is against the law to keep wild animals except to transport them to a permitted wildlife rehabilitator or facility. If a rabbit needs rehabilitation, place it in a secure container with air holes. DO NOT FEED the rabbit(s) anything – including water. Infant rabbits will need a mild heat source (heating pad on low under half the container or warm water bottle) until they can be transported. Bring it as soon as possible to a permitted rehabilitator or facility for professional care.

Raccoons

1. Any obviously-injured raccoon(s) should be brought immediately to a permitted wildlife rehabilitator or rehabilitation facility.
If you see a raccoon stumbling around with difficulty walking or acting lethargic, it possibly has distemper virus. Safely capture or live trap the affected animal and bring it to a rehabilitation facility or permitted wildlife rehabilitator. Distemper is a contagious virus that can affect domestic pets (covered by routine veterinary vaccination). If you are unable to safely capture the animal, contact your local animal control to assist.
If you see a raccoon out during the day, do not worry as it is likely a mother raccoon foraging for food so she can keep up with the heavy duty of raising her young. If you have questions about whether the behavior is normal or if the animal needs help, contact a wildlife rehabilitator or facility.
If the raccoon is known or suspected to have been attacked by a cat (or in cat’s mouth), bring the raccoon to a rehabilitator/facility immediately despite whether there is a visible injury. Bacteria from a cat’s mouth can cause a fatal infection in a very short time and requires immediate medical intervention to prevent death.

2. If you find unattended infant raccoons on the ground, the mother may be in the process of moving her young to a new den. Leave the infant(s), and keep pets and people away, for 6 hours. If you find them in the late evening, provide a heat source (hot water bottle in a box) and leave the babies overnight for the mother to return. If they are still there after giving the mother plenty of time to return, contact a wildlife rehabilitator or facility and prepare to bring the babies in for rehabilitative care.

3. If you find juvenile raccoons wandering around, they might just be “teenagers” exploring their environment. If the juveniles are the size of a basketball or bigger, they are of the age where this is normal behavior if they appear healthy and energetic. If the juveniles are smaller than a basketball or are alone (no siblings), contact a permitted wildlife rehabilitator or facility to further discuss the situation and whether or not the juveniles need rehabilitative care.

4. If you need to relocate a den of raccoons – see our nuisance section or contact a wildlife rehabilitator. DO NOT live trap to relocate raccoons as this often results in broken families and the starvation of young or fighting of territorial adults.

5. Although these species appear cuddly at a young age, they grow into dangerous adults. Every year people try to illegally raise these species with disastrous and grievous results. Do not risk your family’s safety and the health of the animal – get it to a professional immediately!

*It is against the law to keep wild animals except to transport them to a permitted wildlife rehabilitator or facility. If a raccoon needs rehabilitation, place it in a secure container with air holes. DO NOT FEED the animal anything – including water. Infant raccoons will need a mild heat source (heating pad on low under half the container or warm water bottle) until they can be transported. Bring it as soon as possible to a permitted rehabilitator or facility for professional care.

Raptors

Call the Raptor Center (612-624-4745, or for after hours/weekends call 612-702-9924) for advice on any raptor/bird of prey.
For tips on handling injured raptors or for more information visit: www.raptor.umn.edu/clinic/help-injured-raptor

*It is against the law to keep wild animals except to transport them to a permitted wildlife rehabilitator or facility. If a raccoon needs rehabilitation, place it in a secure container with air holes. DO NOT FEED the animal anything – including water. Infant raccoons will need a mild heat source (heating pad on low under half the container or warm water bottle) until they can be transported. Bring it as soon as possible to a permitted rehabilitator or facility for professional care.

Songbirds

We have hundreds of species of songbirds that nest in Minnesota every summer, and many species that stay over winter. The information provided is meant to be a general guide for any species of bird that hatches young that are born naked and completely dependent on their parents for feeding (altricial birds).

1. Any obviously-injured birds(s) should be brought immediately to a permitted wildlife rehabilitator or rehabilitation facility.

If the bird is known or suspected to have been attacked by a cat (or in cat’s mouth), bring the bird to a rehabilitator/facility immediately despite whether there is a visible injury. Bacteria from a cat’s mouth can cause a fatal infection in a very short time and requires immediate medical intervention to prevent death.

If a bird flies into a window and appears stunned but healthy (no obvious broken bones, drooping wings, or blood), provide a safe area for the bird to recover by placing it into a box with air holes or paper bag or covering it with a basket. After 1 hour, open the container to allow the bird to fly away. If the bird successfully flies away, congratulations on helping a bird recover from a mild concussion. If the bird does not fly away or tries but is impaired, re-secure the bird and transport it to a wildlife rehabilitator or facility. Consider placing bird-safe decals or streamers on windows to prevent repeat injuries.

2. If you find a healthy nestling baby bird (naked or incomplete feathering, soft yellow beak edges) on the ground, look up for the nest. If you are able to place the bird back into the nest, do so, but keep pets and people away while you monitor from a distance to watch for the parents coming back to feed the baby. If there is no parental activity within 1-2 hours, or the baby ends up on the ground again, contact a wildlife rehabilitator or facility and prepare to bring the baby in for rehabilitative care.

3. If you find a healthy feathered bird (fully feathered but short tail and wings, tiny amount of soft yellow beak at the edges) hopping around on the ground, it is likely a fledgling bird learning to fly. If the bird is uninjured, keep pets and people away while you monitor from a distance (indoors if possible) to watch for the parents coming back to feed the baby. If there is no parental activity after 2 hours, contact a wildlife rehabilitator or facility and prepare to bring the baby in for rehabilitative care.

4. Migratory birds are protected under federal law. It is illegal to disturb a migratory bird nest after it has laid eggs. If you have concerns about a nest, contact a wildlife rehabilitator, rehabilitation facility, Department of Natural Resources (DNR), or the US Fish & Wildlife Service (USFWS) for advice.

*It is against the law to keep wild animals except to transport them to a permitted wildlife rehabilitator or facility. If an animal needs rehabilitation, place it in a secure container with air holes. DO NOT FEED the animal(s) anything – including water. Infants will need a mild heat source (heating pad on low under half the container or warm water bottle) until they can be transported. Bring it as soon as possible to a permitted rehabilitator or facility for professional care.

Squirrels

We have a handful of squirrel species in Minnesota. The advice below is general advice that works for most species; in particular, our most common species the gray squirrel. Most tree squirrel species have 2 litters per year (early Spring and Fall) with 4-6 infants per litter.

1. Any obviously injured squirrel(s) should be brought immediately to a permitted wildlife rehabilitator or rehabilitation facility. a. If the squirrel is known or suspected to have been attacked by a cat (or in cat’s mouth), bring the squirrel to a rehabilitator/facility immediately despite whether there is a visible injury. Bacteria from a cat’s mouth can cause a fatal infection in a very short time and requires immediate medical intervention to prevent death.

2. If you find an uninjured infant squirrel(s) on the ground, it is best to give the mother time to come back and retrieve her infant(s). Keep people and pets well away from the area for 4+ hours. If the baby is crying, that is acceptable as it is calling to its mother who will return when she is able. If after waiting the mother has not returned, call a permitted wildlife rehabilitator or facility to confirm orphan status and prepare to bring the babies to them. Never leave infants outside overnight.

If there is a juvenile (eyes open and mobile) squirrel running up to people and climbing on them, that juvenile is displaying concerning behavior of orphan status, or one that has been improperly/illegally raised. That juvenile should be brought to a permitted rehabilitator or facility so it can be properly rehabilitated. Call first to ensure orphan/behavior status.

*It is against the law to keep wild animals except to transport them to a permitted wildlife rehabilitator or facility. If a squirrel needs rehabilitation, place it in a secure container with air holes. DO NOT FEED the animal anything – including water. Infant squirrels will need a mild heat source (heating pad on low under half the container or warm water bottle) until they can be transported. Bring it as soon as possible to a permitted rehabilitator or facility for professional care.

Waterfowl

We have numerous different species of ducks and geese in Minnesota. The information provided is meant to be a general guide for most species of waterfowl that hatch young that are feathered, able to walk around, and eat on their own, but are still completely dependent on their parents for waterproofing and protection (precocial birds).

1. Any obviously-injured birds(s) should be brought immediately to a permitted wildlife rehabilitator or rehabilitation facility.  If the bird is known or suspected to have been attacked by a cat (or in cat’s mouth), bring the bird to a rehabilitator/facility immediately despite whether there is a visible injury. Bacteria from a cat’s mouth can cause a fatal infection in a very short time and requires immediate medical intervention to prevent death.

2. If you find a baby duckling, gosling, etc. wandering around alone, it is orphaned and needs to be brought to a wildlife rehabilitator or facility. After hatching, it is the baby’s job to keep up with mom and the rest of the family. If they fall behind or get separated, they get left behind. Do not place the baby in a pond with other waterfowl present in order to reunite them unless you are absolutely certain that it is the orphan’s family. Often an adult may appear interested in the baby, but it could be another family just checking out what is going on.

Adult waterfowl have been known to attack orphans if you attempt to reunite them with a family that is not theirs. Also, if the baby fell behind once, it is more likely to happen again. It is best to bring the baby in for care.

3. Migratory birds are protected under federal law. It is illegal to disturb a migratory bird nest after it has laid eggs. If you have concerns about a nest, contact a wildlife rehabilitator, rehabilitation facility, Department of Natural Resources (DNR), or the US Fish & Wildlife Service (USFWS) for advice.

*It is against the law to keep wild animals except to transport them to a permitted wildlife rehabilitator or facility. If an animal needs rehabilitation, place it in a secure container with air holes, DO NOT FEED the animal(s) anything – including water. Infants will need a mild heat source (heating pad on low under half the container or warm water bottle) until they can be transported. Bring it as soon as possible to a permitted rehabilitator or facility for professional care.

Woodchucks

Woodchucks are a member of the squirrel family. They are mostly vegetarians and often have an affinity for people’s gardens, but are known to eat eggs and baby birds when the opportunity arises. To prevent woodchucks from visiting your garden, it is advised to build a strong fence that is buried beneath the ground. It will be more work initially but should last many years to come to protect your hard work! Woodchucks nest in burrows that have many different rooms – including a specific latrine area for hygienic purposes. Often the entrance to their den is under a shed, deck, or structure to help hide it from predators. They have one litter of babies per year.

1. Any obviously injured-woodchuck(s) should be brought immediately to a permitted wildlife rehabilitator or rehabilitation facility. If the woodchuck is known or suspected to have been attacked by a cat (or in cat’s mouth), bring the animal to a rehabilitator/facility immediately despite whether there is a visible injury. Bacteria from a cat’s mouth can cause a fatal infection in a very short time and requires immediate medical intervention to prevent death.

2. If you find a suspected orphan woodchuck, contact a wildlife rehabilitator or facility to discuss the situation. Woodchucks are on their own at a few months of age. If they appear healthy and energetic, they are likely striking out on their own. If the juvenile appears lethargic, weak, or sickly, it may need to be brought to a wildlife rehabilitator or facility.

*It is against the law to keep wild animals except to transport them to a permitted wildlife rehabilitator or facility. If an animal needs rehabilitation, place it in a secure container with air holes. DO NOT FEED the animal(s) anything – including water. Infants will need a mild heat source (heating pad on low under half the container or warm water bottle) until they can be transported. Bring it as soon as possible to a permitted rehabilitator or facility for professional care.