No matter how good your intentions, there are some things you should never do when you see an injured animal in the wild.
1. Don’t Do Aanything Before Calling A Wildlife Rescue.
You know the expression “leave it to the pros”? This is a wonderful opportunity to take that advice. Your animal-loving heart may break while watching an animal suffer, but unless you’re a wildlife rehabilitator or veterinarian, odds are that you don’t know the best way to assess and handle the situation. Unless the animal is in imminent danger — of being run over, for instance – reach for your phone, and call your local wildlife rescue.
2. Don’t Assume An Animal is Orphaned.
Sometimes a baby animal can look like it’s all alone in the wild, but its parent could have just gone hunting for a few minutes with the intention to return. By moving the baby, you could unintentionally separate a family. In other cases, the adults are just giving their babies some space but are watching from nearby. A mother bear will not care that you wanted to babysit her cubs one bit, and she could attack. The best bet is to watch young animals from a distance and see if their parent returns or if they are indeed orphaned.
3. Don’t Touch The Animal.
Not only will some species – like rabbits – become extremely stressed to the point of death, but others can bite. Being handled by a human can also lead to tragic ostracizing by the animals’ herd, as one group of animal lovers found out the hard way as they tried to save a shivering baby bison from Yellowstone Park.
4. Don’t Plan on Keeping Wildlife as A Pet.
We’ve all seen the stories online: a rescued baby raccoon who thinks she’s a dog, an adopted squirrel who sleeps under the covers or a rescued fox turned man’s best friend. While that sounds like the magic stuff out of Disney movies, odds of that fairytale actually panning out are slim. Not only is it illegal to keep wild animals as pets in some states, it’s unsafe. Wild animals belong in nature, and they could attack you and your pets if domesticated.
5. Don’t Feed Wildlife.
Depending on the animal’s injury, feeding it or forcing it to drink might be fatal. Giving the animal something it cannot properly process, like milk or bread, may also cause stomach and digestion issues.
6. Don’t Talk All The Way to The Vet.
While you may be tempted to reassure the animal a thousand times that you’ll make sure they’re alright, resist the urge while transporting them to a wildlife rescue center. The disoriented animal doesn’t know you or your voice, so the talking will most likely just stress them out and frighten them even more. Turn the radio off, and keep the talking to a minimum.