It’s very common this time of year to find baby animals in neighborhoods or on your outdoor walks. Animal lovers are often tempted to “help” in these situations, however, before moving any wild animal it’s important to consider these things to make sure you aren’t doing more harm than good.
Baby bunnies, raccoons, squirrels, and other small mammals are commonly found without their mothers. These wild animals often leave their babies alone for extended periods of time while they are out foraging for food. Even if you cannot locate their mother or parent, it does not mean that they have been abandoned. In fact, parents may stay away from their nests specifically because a person is too close and observing the area. Stay away from the nest during observation and give it plenty of time for a mother to return before determining that they have been abandoned.
Similarly, baby birds are often found on the ground outside of a nest after windy or stormy conditions. In most cases, the best way to help these birds is simply to gently place them back into their nest if possible. Blown over nests can also be placed back into trees in a more sturdy location. It is a myth that mother birds (or other animals for that matter) will avoid their babies if you have touched them. The scent of a human won’t repel wildlife parents, but it is also a good idea to avoid handling wildlife unless absolutely necessary.
Wild animals should not be brought to the Cedar Valley Humane Society. CVHS is not equipped for, or licensed as, a wildlife care provider. However, if you have determined that the animal you found is abandoned or injured, please give us a call (319-362-6288) and we can get you in touch with a wildlife care provider or rehabilitator. Again, you cannot bring wild animals to the Cedar Valley Humane Society shelter.
Running across a litter of kittens can be a complicated situation. Again, it is important to determine whether or not the litter has been abandoned or is being taken care of by their mother. A nursing mother will return to her litter regularly to feed her children and take care of her milk. Removing kittens from their home unnecessarily actually does more harm than good. By disturbing the litter and removing them from their mother, kittens will miss out on the nutrients and antibodies that they receive through nursing. This can lead to higher chances of sickness and poor health both as kittens and later in life.
In many instances it’s best to let mom take care of her kittens. If you have a litter on your property that you need to surrender to a shelter, remember that it is best to bring in the mother of the kittens with them, as she will then be able to continue nursing and caring for the babies. Please call ahead to the shelters to determine if you are in their area of jurisdiction. Cedar Valley Humane Society and Cedar Rapids Animal Care and Control share a similar area but have very specific jurisdictions. Call ahead to CVHS (319-362-6288) or CRAAC (319-286-5993) before bringing in any animal for surrender.