Frequently asked questions

A dark, quiet place

Keep the animal in a dark, quiet place indoors. A basement, heated garage, or spare bedroom will work well. This will minimize stimulation and stress, keeping them calm and reducing the risk of further injury or complications. Unlike pets, wild babies or adult animals are NOT comforted by people talking to them, petting them, or looking at them; keep children, pets, and people away and contact to a strict minimum.

A heat source

Baby animals are not capable of thermoregulation and require an external heat source to stay warm without their mothers. There are a few options for a safe heat source: -a clean sock filled with dry, uncooked rice, microwaved for one minute. -a plastic bottle filled with hot tap water, covered in a sock. -an electric heating pad set to “LOW” and placed under half of the box. Re-heat water bottles and rice socks as necessary.

Why shouldn’t I feed it or give it water?

If the animal is dehydrated, starving, or suffering from trauma, the body may not be capable of digesting anything, and the stress of trying could complicate their condition. If the animal is having trouble standing, or panics trying to get out, it could fall into the water dish. This can cause hypothermia, or even drowning. Furthermore, improper feeding technique can cause aspiration, bloating, shock, or death. If you feed the wrong food to the wrong species, it can cause serious and potentially fatal complications. Once you get the animal to an authorized wildlife custodian, they will assess its condition and offer appropriate foods for its health, species and life stage.

Why can’t I help it myself?

It is illegal in Ontario to keep any wild animal in your possession longer than 24 hours without approval from the MNRF. There are good reasons for this, as wild animals can be dangerous, even when immature or not feeling well. Wild animals also host many parasites and diseases that can be spread to both humans and pets if not handled carefully. Wild animals and birds require specialized, species specific, regimented care. The tools, supplies and knowledge needed to raise and rehabilitate native species effectively is something authorized wildlife custodians are uniquely equipped with.

Be Patient

Wildlife custodians are very busy, especially during the spring and summer. Follow their instructions on how to reach them, leave messages or send emails as requested and give them time to respond. Call around to other Authorized Wildlife Custodians in the area and be willing to arrange transportation for the animal once a rehabilitator has responded. Remember that there is no government funding for wildlife rehabilitation in Ontario, and all authorized wildlife custodians are funded entirely by private donations.

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