Infant Mammal Emergency
Each spring and summer, wildlife centers receive hundreds of infant mammals brought in by caring, well meaning people. Unfortunately, most often these “abandoned babies” are in fact healthy infants. It is natural, particularly for prey species, to leave their offspring for hours at a time, while out foraging for food. Since they cannot protect their infants from predators, it is safer not to advertise their presence by constant attendance at the nest. If you see an infant mammal that you suspect is injured, sick, or orphaned take a moment to carefully observe the situation and keep the following in mind:
- Do you see any obvious signs of injury?
- Is the animal bleeding or shivering, or do you see signs of broken or dislocated limbs?
- Has the animal been attacked by a cat or dog?
- Is there a visible nest in the area that is either intact or that has been disturbed?
If the nest is intact and the baby is not injured use a towel, t-shirt, blanket, or gloves to return the infant to its nest. Most mammal parents will not reject an infant because you have touched it, but they may abandon an infant if you remain too close or have kept the infant away too long. The best place for an infant mammal is with its wild parents! Leave the infant and watch the area closely for 4 to 6 hours; if the parents return the infant will be fine. If you see signs that the infant has been injured or the parents have not returned please contact the Wildlife In Need Center at (262) 965-3090 with your observations to decide with the help of a wildlife rehabilitator what your next action step should be.