Help an Animal


It is illegal to raise a wild animal if you don’t have the proper permit.

Wildlife Facts

  • Wild animals were not meant to live with humans.
  • Note: Wildlife can carry parasites and diseases that may be transmissible to humans or pets.
  • It is illegal to keep wildlife with out a permit. Rehabilitators have permits. Please call a licensed rehabber:
  • An imprinted animal (one that thinks it’s your pet) cannot be released. Imprinted means you have taken in an infant animal and treated it like a pet. In this scenario, the animal cannot survive in the wild. PLEASE call a licensed rehabber:
  • Wild animals can carry diseases and parasites.
  • RACCOONS in Michigan have not had rabies since the 1970s.
  • BATS and SKUNKS are rabies vector animals. This means they can carry rabies, even though only a small percentage do. It is illegal to rehabilitate them in Michigan. Both species are very beneficial to our environment! See our contacts for more info.
  • Babies need special diets and take time to properly raise.
  • Wild animals kept and then released will often die of starvation unless properly rehabilitated. Call us.

Do Not Trap an Animal in the Spring – There are babies nearby! Wildlife parents will not abandon their young when they are touched by a human. This is a myth. If it’s a bird or squirrel, return it to the nest, if possible. Keep pets inside. Keep children away. Leave the animal alone and the mother will return for her baby.

Kidnapping a Fawn – A fawn has spots for a reason. It is camouflaged and designed to be alone the first two weeks of its life while the doe (who is not far away) stays away so that she does not attract predators. Unless you see clear signs that there is a problem, PLEASE leave it alone and stay away from the area. The doe will move the fawn within a few weeks and when the fawn is able to follow her. This is true for most species!

Trapping a Raccoon – Raccoons are not usually visible during the day. However, from March through June, it is common to see a mother raccoon out moving her babies or feeding herself to feed them. She has litters 4-6. Relocating a raccoon is illegal, and you will be killing her as well as all her young by removing her. Raccoon babies are with their mom for a full year. Note: raccoons in Michigan have not had rabies since the 1970s). Call us for advice..

Helping Injured Animals

What should you do if you find a wild animal?

  • Is it truly orphaned? see signs below.
  • Wear gloves if picking up wildlife to protect you and the animal.
  • Animals WILL be stressed. That is the #1 killer. Wrap in a warm towel or whatever is available.
  • Put animal in a safe, warm place away from pets, children and noise. Warm a towel or blanket, or put a heating pad under a towel on the lowest setting.
  • Never give anything to to eat or drink to a cold animal until you have consulted a wildlife rehabber. Never give any kind of milk. No solid foods. Drips of water after warming is ok. Call us! If a rehabber cannot be located within 4 hours, you can give drops of plain pedialyte or a rehydrating solution from Tractor Supply.

Signs of orphaned or injured animals: Is it truly orphaned? 

  • Dead mother nearby
  • Diarrhea or feces on animal
  • Maggots on animal – likely in ears, eyes, rear end
  • Clear sign of dehydration ( listless, tented skin, sunken eyes)
  • Animal lying on its side
  • Visible bleeding or non stop crying
  • Birds will have drooping wing, not able to fly
  • Animal limping or  favoring a leg
  • On road and can’t move

Helping adult injured animals: Caution!!! Wear Gloves!!

NOTE: The animal may be in shock, very frightened, and/or temporarily unconscious

  • Put a thick blanket over the animal and put it in a secure, ventilated box or animal carrier.
  • If very frightened: you could be severely bitten or scratched. Wrap the animal tightly and keep its face away from you.
  • If Unconscious (may be temporary). Make sure you put it in a secure place.
  • Keep the animal in a quiet place and out of bright light.
  • Do not feed it or give it anything to drink until speaking with a licensed rehabber or veterinarian.
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