Rescuing Injured or Orphaned Wildlife

Call us first at 540-798-9836 with wildlife situations to receive the quickest response! Wild animals thrive best in the wild if possible. This is a guide on what to do in common wildlife situations in which the center is closed and/or the line is busy. Please leave a clear message with a description of your situation and phone number so we can get back to you and provide more advice. If you are bringing us a patient please make sure it is secured in a ventilated box and drive no faster than 10 mph on the gravel drive (as soon as the pavement ends on Coleman Road). Thank you!

Animal Condition Instructions
All Injured or sick Wear gloves or use a towel when handling wildlife and DO NOT FEED or give water. Place in a cloth-lined box with a secure lid and keep in a quiet location. Take animal to a licensed rehabilitator as soon as possible to avoid malnutrition, infection, or imprinting. It is against the law to keep wildlife. If it is a mammal or bird and is cold to the touch, mostly unfeathered, or has only a little fur, place a heating pad underneath the box on low to keep it warm, or put a sock filled with rice tied off like a water balloon in the microwave for 45 seconds and place near the baby to keep it warm. Call us.
Bird Baby, feathered, eyes open If hopping around, even if it can’t fly, leave alone. This is a natural stage for most songbirds. Go inside and watch the fledgling for a constant 45 minute period without looking away, during this time the parents will dart in to feed and leave. If parents are not seen after 1 hour: place the bird in a cloth lined box and call us. DO NOT FEED OR OFFER WATER.
Bird Naked If warm to the touch, then try to re-nest if nest is seen, or make a temporary nest near where you think the bird came from. If parents do not reappear within the hour, place in a cloth-lined box with a lid and keep it warm (see first section of this guide for tips on keeping warm). If bruised, cold, or nest not located please call us.  Keep in a quiet, dark location and keep warm. DO NOT FEED OR GIVE WATER.
Bird Hit window or by vehicle Place in a cloth-lined box with a secure lid and call us. We generally recommend that all birds that are hit come in for an exam to ensure they are okay before letting them go.
Fawn Alone Does leave their fawns for most of the day and only return at dawn/dusk to feed them and are not usually seen with it. They may get up and wander on their own. Please leave it alone and keep all pets and people away if possible. Call us if you have any questions.
Groundhog Furred If it is a juvenile standing near a dead parent or it has been attacked; scoop into a box with a secure lid. Use thick gloves when handling. Call us. DO NOT FEED.
Groundhog Naked Place in a box without a secure lid and keep warm. Call us. DO NOT FEED.
Opossum > 8″ Long from nose to tip of tail Leave alone unless injured.
Opossum < 8″ Long from nose to tip of tail Place in a cloth-lined box with a lid. Keep in a quiet and warm location. DO NOT FEED.
Rabbit Furred If the rabbit is the size of a tennis ball then leave alone. If caught by dog or cat, contain it and call us. High stress related mortality; do not handle other than to put it in a box! DO NOT FEED.
Rabbit Naked If possible locate the nest site. If babies are still warm, place the babies in the small and shallow hole, covering with mulch or grass. If rabbit is injured or cold, place it in a cloth-lined box with lid and keep warm. Keep in a VERY QUIET location. DO NOT FEED and call us.
Squirrel Furred If they run up to you or are found laying on the ground they need help. Place in a box with secure lid and call. Wear heavy gloves while handling. DO NOT FEED.
Squirrel Naked If warm, place into a box with no lid. Warm baby squirrels can be placed beneath the tree they were found near, give the mother up to 2 hours to retrieve baby and bring back to the nest. If she does not do so after 2 hours, call us. DO NOT FEED.

* Modified from Wildlife Center of Virginia Guidelines

5985 Coleman Road, Roanoke, VA 24018