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Spring Babies

Posted on Wednesday, April 20, 2022
Spring is officially here which means you or your family might accidentally stumble upon baby wildlife animals. We assembled a quick "how to" list on how to make sure they are properly taken care of so they can return to wildlife!
One day it's bound to happen - you never went looking for it, but your dog brings you their prized found baby bunny, or maybe your cat stumbles upon a chipmunk nest and shreds it apart. What can you do to help the babies get back to nature safely? I always carry disposable gloves with me in the spring so I can make sure I am prepared to help any baby I come across!
If the found babies do not appear to be injured, you do not need to take extreme measures when helping them back to their mothers to be raised in the wild. All forms of babies will need to be kept warm until reunited with their mothers.
(This is just a quick guide and if you find an abandoned baby, it's your responsibility to find the proper resources and care to make sure the baby is safely taken care of)

Rabbits
If you have just found an abandoned bunny, first, determine if it truly has been abandoned. If several bunnies are together in a nest and there is no mother in sight, then they probably haven't been abandoned. Mother rabbits only feed their young once a day, and usually at night. They do not stay with their young. If, however, you have observed that one is alone or if the babies' stomachs look like they haven't been fed (a full baby has a nice fat tummy), then you might want to intervene.
Do: If your pet has disrupted a nest, you can put the babies back and cover with an upside-down wheelbarrow or put a temporary fence around them. Do whatever you can to make sure the babies are protected and can be taken care of by their mother. Wild rabbits have a high mortality rate if humans try to hand raise them.
Baby Emergency Kit: Baby Rabbits will eat kitten replacement formula with a syringe or small nippled bottle. Use gloves when moving the babies.
Who to contact: Rabbits rehabbers are in such high demand; you might have a hard time finding someone that can legally rehab them. Their best chance of survival is with their mother.
Don't: Immediately touch the rabbit - mother's will not come back to take care of babies that smell like humans. Do not move the nest.
Fun Fact: Baby rabbits are called kittens!

Raccoons
Baby raccoons will generally spend most of their time in a nest or den with the mother, especially for the first few months after birth, but there are occasions when the mother does go out to forage for food, or the baby manages to find a way out of the den. Baby raccoons are also more active during the day than adult raccoons, and it is possible that a baby raccoon has just ventured a short distance away from their mother sleeping nearby. The problem with an orphaned raccoon is that it does require very specialist care, so for those who do find an abandoned raccoon and would like to help, the best way to do so is to try and ensure that the kit is reunited with its mother. Intervening too quickly to try and help the baby raccoon can often do more harm than good, and can prevent the mother from recovering her baby.
Do: Try placing the baby raccoons in a tote where mom can come back and grab them.
Baby Emergency Kit: Baby Raccoons will eat kitten replacement formula with a slow flow bottle or syringe.
Who to contact: A licensed rehabber in your state.
Don't: Never relocate a family of baby raccoons with their mother. This is almost always a death sentence!
Fun Fact: Baby raccoons purr when they sleep and make over 200 different sounds!

Squirrels
If you happen upon a baby squirrel on the ground, be sure to stop and look around for adult squirrels. It is important to keep any contact you have with the baby at a minimum. An infant squirrel cared for by its mother in nature has the best odds to survive and thrive.
Do: Create a shallow box with materials to keep the baby warm. Using gloved hands, place the babies in the box and close to where you found it. If you find a baby under a tree, odds are she fell out of her nest in the tree.
Baby Emergency Kit: Use gloves so you don't leave your scent on the baby. Baby squirrels will need a special mix with goat milk if you need to feed them.
Who to contact: A licensed wildlife rehabilitator in your state.
Don't: Never try to feed a baby squirrel right after you find it. Baby squirrels have a high mortality rate and are almost always reunited with their mothers.
Fun Fact: Squirrels are unable to burp or regurgitate.

Opossums
The rule of thumb is to rescue a baby opossum if it is less than 8 inches from nose to butt. Use a 6-inch dollar bill as a handy ruler. They are extremely vulnerable to predators. Often, they will fall off the mom while traveling. Mother opossums never return for the baby.
Do: You will rarely see a baby possum on it's own because mother's carry them in their pouch. You can handle baby possums without worry of your scent on them. But you will need to contact a rehabber quickly. If driving down the road and you see a hit possum on the side of the road, pull over and check the pouch for babies. Baby possums can live in their dead mother's pouch for up to five days.
Baby Emergency Kit: Formula, Pedialyte, sugar and salt (find online recipes)
Who to contact: A licensed rehabber in your state.
Don't: Leave baby possums unattended since their mother's do not come back to get them. Contact a rehabber ASAP.
Fun Fact: Possums eat annoying bugs such as spiders and ticks. They also play dead!

Birds
Most of the baby birds people find are fledglings. These are young birds that have just left the nest, and can't fly yet, but are still under the care of their parents, and do not need our help. Fledglings are feathered and capable of hopping or flitting, with toes that can tightly grip your finger or a twig. These youngsters are generally adorable and fluffy, with a tiny stub of a tail.
Do: Scan the surroundings. If a baby bird has fallen out of it's nest, use a gloved hand and put it in it's nest. You will also need to determine the age of the baby, sometimes they are old enough to be out of their nest hopping around. You can also use guides to tell you what kind of bird it is that you just found.
Baby Emergency Kit: You will need gloves. Each bird species has a different diet, so research is a must!
Who to contact: Licensed rehabber in your state
Don't: Try to raise the baby on your own. It's illegal and has high mortality rates.
Fun Fact: Baby birds often do not look like their adult parents!


Find a rehabber in your area: https://www.humanesociety.org/resources/how-find-wildlife-rehabilitator