IF YOU HAVE FOUND A WILD ORPHANED MAMMAL:
(This info is available if the wildlife you have found is not on our What do Do First list.)
Try to handle the animal as little as possible. Be mindful of being bitten. A frightened baby WILL BITE. This is a WILD animal. Use proper hand washing technique and use gloves when possible. No matter how tempting, DO NOT ALLOW SMALL CHILDREN TO HOLD THE BABY. Diseases and parasites
are a real concern.
It is illegal for a person to possess any protected, wild, furbearing mammal that is protected under Texas State law. Until you are able to contact and place the orphan with a permitted Wildlife Rehabilitator, you can follow these GENERAL CARE INSTRUCTIONS to give the wild infant mammal the best chance for survival.
First, be sure you are not KIDNAPPING. If the baby looks healthy and well-fed,
Mother may be close by, and she WILL come for her baby if given the opportunity. Move away and give her some time.
IF Mama Doesn’t Show…
Most all infant mammals younger than 5 weeks do not produce their own body heat to thermo-regulate. They need a heating pad, set on LOW setting. Place a bath towel, folded to make about a 1 to 1 1/2 inch thickness and put it on the heating pad. Now, place a box on top of the towel. Place your baby into a soft cloth such as an old flannel shirt, or old sweatshirt or sweatpants. Place the infant, nestled in the cloth, down into the box. That way, a gradual heat will come up through the layers and warm the infant, but not make him too hot. PLACE THE BOX IN A WARM QUIET PLACE. DO NOT ATTEMPT TO FEED THE WILD BABY MAMMAL. The digestive system of each of the species of wildlife babies is complex and individualized. COW’S MILK, WHIPPING CREAM, EVAPORATED MILK, AND HUMAN INFANT FORMULA, to list just a few, ARE DEADLY TO WILDLIFE.
If it has been over 12 hours and you are still unable to contact a Wildlife Rehabilitator for advice and placement of the baby, you can follow these instructions to prevent severe dehydration.
REHYDRATION: If the baby has not had any fluids in more than 12 hours, you can rehydrate with fluids AFTER the infant's body temperature is back up to normal.
NEVER give anything by mouth to a COLD animal whose body temperature has dropped below normal. A good rehydrating solution can be made by mixing the following: 1 pint of boiled (or distilled) water - 1 teaspoon of sugar - 1/3 teaspoon of salt.
HOW TO FEED: The best way to feed infant mammals is with a 1cc or a 3cc oral meds syringe. You can control the flow, and the baby doesn't
have a tendency to aspirate the formula by sucking in too much at a time.
If the infant should aspirate, stop the feeding, hold the baby upside down for a moment, and wipe the fluid from it’s nostrils as it sneezes. Continue the feeding once the nose is clear. If you're not familiar with syringes and cc's and ml's, most pharmacy’s will give you one or sell it to you for a few cents. SYRINGE FEEDING IS EASIER TO CONTROL THAN BOTTLES OR EYEDROPPERS AND DECREASES THE RISK OF ASPIRATION PNEUMONIA, WHICH IS USUALLY FATAL.
LEGAL CONCERNS: It is illegal for any person to possess any wild, furbearing mammal that is protected under State law. Anything the State lists on its long list of protected species requires a special permit for a person to have them in
their possession. You can view a list of the protected wildlife species at http://www.tpwd.state.tx.us/huntwild/wild/rehab/protected.