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Wildlife Rehabilitation: How Do I Care For A Wild Animal That Has Been Hurt or Rescued

Updated on February 13, 2015

Last week, it was another hot one in Texas. My dog was sitting by the back door whining for me to let her in out of the 113°F heat. I quickly obliged her, returning to my computer without paying her much mind.

Within a very short period of time, I was abruptly pulled from my computer screen by the sound of … What was that? Tawny, my golden retriever mix, didn’t make noises like that! Yet the sound was coming from the corner where she was laying on her dog bed. I quickly got up to see what was going on in that corner.


What is it????
What is it???? | Source

Lying beside her on the dog bed was a small - make that very small - pink hairless "something" with a long tail. The little thing was also bleeding. What had Tawny done? Where had she gotten this little creature? I got a paper towel and picked the little thing up to examine it a little closer, and remove it from harms way.

It didn’t really have any ears. I was guessing that it was either a rat (It was too big to be a mouse.), a possum, or a squirrel. It appeared to have a couple small areas bleeding on its head.

I took Tawny outside hoping she would lead me to where she had gotten this little guy, and sure enough she headed straight for a tree in the back yard. Under it, I found another little guy who was already dead but did not appear to be hurt in any way. I looked up into the tree to see a squirrel, lying in the lower branches, which had obviously just given birth and may even be getting ready to drop another at the base of the tree. I quickly got a folded up towel and put it below her on the ground to cushion the fall of the next one, and then after securing the dogs inside, placed the little one I had rescued onto the towel, hoping that the mother would hear its cries and come and take him to her nest, wherever that was. I checked on them an hour later. The mother squirrel was gone, and she had left her baby lying in the sun.


Source

When I picked up the baby, he was weaker than he had previously been, and I was concerned for him. He was obviously a newborn, had fallen a distance during the birth, had been picked up and carried around by a dog, and had just laid out in the sun in 113°F heat for an hour.


What you don’t know can hurt!

What was I supposed to do? The first thing I did was to make the paper towel damp to hydrate his parched looking skin, and then to wash the dirt from his mouth and put a couple drops of water on his mouth. After this he seemed to revive a little. I was concerned for him thinking that he probably needed to get something in his little tummy. I told my husband that maybe I ought to give him some milk, but he wisely advised me against it. The rehabber that I took the little one to told me that had I given him cow’s milk, it would have caused the liver to shut down. What you don’t know can hurt!


Leave It to the Wildlife Experts

I was able to locate a local wildlife rehabilitator by calling animal control. When I got him to their facility, they took him and immediately put him on a heating pad! So perhaps keeping him on a damp paper towel was not the most beneficial for him either. When I called to check on him the next afternoon, he was doing well though, so maybe I hadn’t messed up too much.

So in answer to the question, how do I, or anyone else, care for a baby squirrel that has been abandoned, or orphaned, by its mother, and is also hurt? The answer is: I don’t! It’s best to leave it to the experts, a certified wildlife rehabilitator.


All Rights Reserved

Copyright © 2011 Cindy Murdoch (homesteadbound)



Comments: "Wildlife Rehabilitation: How Do I Care For A Wild Animal That Has Been Hurt or Rescued"

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    • homesteadbound profile image
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      Cindy Murdoch 6 years ago from Texas

      Yeah, I'm not too happy with him always either. But in his defense, the squirrels are totaaly destroying the sealant of his vent pipes on his roof and causing his roof to leak all the time. I have seen the pictures and those little guys have been pretty destructive. Thanks so much for stopping by!

    • Fellow Mumbaite profile image

      Fellow Mumbaite 6 years ago from India

      Yeah homesteadbound..squirrels are indeed fantastic creatures..I truly enjoy the way they eat their peanuts and hop around, jump from branches to branches and have fun! I think I started to hate your neighbors though..

    • homesteadbound profile image
      Author

      Cindy Murdoch 6 years ago from Texas

      Hello, Movie Master- It is easier to leave it to the experts. You might guess what the right thing is to do, but then you may not. Thanks for stopping by!

    • Movie Master profile image

      Movie Master 6 years ago from United Kingdom

      Hi homesteadbound, I wouldn't have had a clue what to do, great article and good advice.

    • homesteadbound profile image
      Author

      Cindy Murdoch 6 years ago from Texas

      I love squirrels! I have tried to entice my wild ones to come get peanuts from me, but to no avail. Our neighbors shoot them, so I'm sure they are plenty leery, with cause. I love to watch them scamper and play. They seem to have such mischeivious personalities. I know they tease my dogs. Thanks for stopping by!

    • Fellow Mumbaite profile image

      Fellow Mumbaite 6 years ago from India

      I once found two such just-born baby squirrel who fell from the roof of my backyard. It seems the squirrel just gave birth to them and had disappeared. I waited to see if she got back to get her young ones, but she didn't. So I placed them in a small box and nurtured them. They got big and I realized I had two awesome pets. Once they grew they started to move around in the backyard, climbing the trees but would come back home whenever I called them. But later on I realized that they had to go where they belonged to and hence just let them be themselves. Your story just reminded me of the same. Nice Hub!

    • homesteadbound profile image
      Author

      Cindy Murdoch 6 years ago from Texas

      davenmidtown - that's pretty amazing that she knew what to do. You will have to tell the story sometime.

    • davenmidtown profile image

      David Stillwell 6 years ago from Sacramento, California

      pretty cool... My mother found a baby possum once and nursed it back to health... I will tell you that story someday...

    • homesteadbound profile image
      Author

      Cindy Murdoch 6 years ago from Texas

      jodiejay71-This was my first one. Thanks for stopping by!

    • jodiejay71 profile image

      jodiejay71 6 years ago

      Such an interesting article..thanks!

    • homesteadbound profile image
      Author

      Cindy Murdoch 6 years ago from Texas

      Pollyannalana - Thanks for stopping by. I'm pleased you enjoyed the story. The little squirrels are really adorable once they get a little fur on them. And the way they go after it at feeding time (I did wind up volunteering there) is just so cute!

    • Pollyannalana profile image

      Pollyannalana 6 years ago from US

      Adorable.

    • homesteadbound profile image
      Author

      Cindy Murdoch 6 years ago from Texas

      moonlake - thank you for stopping by. It's fortunate for you to have a wildlife care center so close by. I wonder what tore up the nest. It is so kind of you to care enough to take care of those helpless creatures.

    • moonlake profile image

      moonlake 6 years ago from America

      What a nice story. I have had this happen so many times and my kids always call me when they find a baby animal. We have a wildlife care center about a half hour from us and we always take the babies there. The last baby we took were baby ravens that had fallen out of the tree at our sons house. The ravens nest in his woods but something had torn up the nest.

    • homesteadbound profile image
      Author

      Cindy Murdoch 6 years ago from Texas

      ripplemaker - you made me wonder too, if there were organizations or agencies that help wounded animals. I was not able to locate any, but my gues would be that there would be. People are concerned about these things the world over. Thank you for stopping by, and thanks for the link.

      BTW- I read your bio, and where you got your name from - I love it. And I too want to be a ripplemaker. Blessings to you!

    • homesteadbound profile image
      Author

      Cindy Murdoch 6 years ago from Texas

      Mrs. Menagerie - Thank you for your kind words. I hope your robin chick made it. I have since started volunteering at the wildlife rehabilitation center, and my little guy is going strong. Thanks for stopping by!

    • ripplemaker profile image

      Michelle Simtoco 6 years ago from Cebu, Philippines

      It is good to know that in cases like these you can go to an group or organization who can take care of hurt animals. I wonder if we have those in our country. hmmmmm...

      Congratulations on your Hubnuggets nomination. Yes, your hub has been nominated! Yippeee.... I will give you the link to the hub and you can read and vote: http://pattyinglishms.hubpages.com/hubnuggets6/hub...

    • Mrs. Menagerie profile image

      Mrs. Menagerie 6 years ago from The Zoo

      This is such a great article and such wise advice. I just went through a similar experience with an injured robin chick and everything you said here is so true!

    • homesteadbound profile image
      Author

      Cindy Murdoch 6 years ago from Texas

      FloraBreenRobinson - I bet it was an experience watching the little ones grow up. I bet your mom was glad they went up the chimney rather than down the fireplace. Thank you for sharing your story.

      Now I have to go check out this other matter you spoke of.

    • FloraBreenRobison profile image

      FloraBreenRobison 6 years ago

      When I was ateenager, we didn't have a covering on our chimney and a family of squirrels was born in our fireplace. we waiting until the babies were old enough to get out around on their own and then we put humane cages around our yard. when they were all caught, Mom released them in the wild. Then we got wire put on the top of the chimney. Congratulations on your nomination

    • homesteadbound profile image
      Author

      Cindy Murdoch 6 years ago from Texas

      Simone - Even though I was once a certified master naturalist, I really was not well versed on what to do. So I'm glad that I was able to help you, and all those helpless little critters out there. Thanks for dropping by.

    • Simone Smith profile image

      Simone Haruko Smith 6 years ago from San Francisco

      I've always been somewhat flummoxed when coming across injured animals. Thanks for offering some tips! Now I'll have some good advice in my head to go by.

    • homesteadbound profile image
      Author

      Cindy Murdoch 6 years ago from Texas

      Danette-Thank you. After finding the place that I did, I decided to volunteer there. I am still waiting for them to call me. This is their busy time of year so they are too busy to call, but if they would call, I could help. Kind of a catch 22. I'm glad you enjoyed the History one also.

    • Danette Watt profile image

      Danette Watt 6 years ago from Illinois

      We have a wildlife rehab center near where I live. Interesting story, I read your Texas history hub too. Very nice.

    • homesteadbound profile image
      Author

      Cindy Murdoch 6 years ago from Texas

      Rochelle - Thank you for your comment, and you are right. It is hard to resist the urge to to nurture - especially something so helpless and small.

    • Rochelle Frank profile image

      Rochelle Frank 6 years ago from California Gold Country

      You did the right thing by seeking professional help. I think their advice was correct too. Usually it is best to leave things in the hands of nature, but our nurturing instinct is hard to resist.

      Welcome to HubPages!

    • homesteadbound profile image
      Author

      Cindy Murdoch 6 years ago from Texas

      Thank you so much for your comment. As this was my first hub, you taught me a valuable lesson. I need to remember that my audience is worldwide. For those, who like me, wondered, "What does RSPCA stand for?" Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals. Their website is: http://www.bing.com/search?q=RSPCA&form=OBMSGD...

    • CMHypno profile image

      CMHypno 6 years ago from Other Side of the Sun

      What an interesting story homesteadbound. We have the RSPCA over here in the UK, and they are the best people to call if you find an abandoned or sick animal