I Found a Wild Animal that Needs Help!

After Hours Emergencies click here

I found a wild animal – The following information is for the general care and stabilization of an injured animal until help from a trained rescuer arrives. In the state of Florida, It is illegal to keep captive and rehabilitate wild animals without proper licensing and training. Caring for a wild animal without proper training and education can lead to an animal’s suffering and possible death.

I found a wild animal, does this animal need help?
It’s often hard to tell if an animal truly needs to be rescued or not. Finding a baby wild animal doesn’t necessarily mean it needs human interference. Sometimes young are left alone while the parent(s) are hunting for food. Many young animals that are admitted to the PRWC are “kidnapped” by people that are just trying to help with the best of intentions. If the young animal doesn’t have an obvious illness or injury, the best course of action is to return it or leave it with the parent(s). Wild animals DO NOT abandon or kill their young just because they were touched or moved by humans. The best chance of survival for a young wild animal is being left alone for the parents to care for. When in doubt, contact us at (941) 637-3830 or see the “animal specific information” links to the right of this page under “Get Help”.

If you see the following signs present, the animal needs our help:

  • Obvious bleeding, lethargy, wounds or broken bones
  • Mucus or discharge from the eyes and/or nose
  • Swarms of flies around the animal, fly eggs and/or maggots on its body
  • Attacked by a predator, or seen in the mouth of a dog or cat

Handling wild animals can be dangerous and they can carry disease and parasites. Always use extreme caution when handling any wildlife, even the smallest creatures can injure you when they are hurt, stressed and scared and may bite. They can also carry and transfer certain diseases and parasites such as mites. Wear gloves and use extreme care when handling any animal. Rabies vector species mammals; Bobcats, Coyotes, Raccoons, Otters, Foxes and Bats or large Birds of Prey such as Eagles, Hawks and Owls can cause serious injury and require experienced handlers and the use of thick gloves when handling. Please follow the “If you CANNOT safely handle the animal” directions below.

If you are able to safely handle the animal without causing injury to yourself or the animal

  • Using an appropriate size pillowcase, towel or similar, carefully and gently throw over the full body completely covering the head, wrap loosely around body and legs, so the animal can still be able to take deep breaths
  • Gently pick up the animal up and place into any container that has a secure pre-ventilated lid and lined inside with soft warm material
  • Leave the container covered in a safe, quiet and warm area of your home such as your garage away from pets, children and noise
  • Transport the animal to the Center as soon as possible or call us at (941) 637-3830 for pick up arrangements
  • Do not attempt to treat or feed the animal as this can be more harmful and stressful to the animal, the less stress on the animal the better chance of survival
  • If it is after business hours and/or you get a recording, please click here

If you CANNOT safely handle the animal without causing injury to yourself or the animal

  • If possible, carefully place a box, laundry basket, recycle bin or similar over the top of the animal to contain it until help arrives
  • Call the Center immediately at (941) 637-3830 and Animal Control at (941) 833-5690 and make a report so that we can respond promptly