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Found An Animal

PAWS Wildlife rescue and rehabilitation SC

Found an Orphaned or Injured Wild Animal? Here’s What to Do

Thank you for caring about wildlife! This page will offer you some “first response” guidelines on what to do and what not to do if you’ve found orphaned or injured wildlife.

There are a couple of important things to know:

  • Not all animals need help right away! If the animal is NOT in immediate danger from wounds or predators, monitor it from a distance and, before touching it, consult these guidelines and our species-specific resources below.

  • Wild animals can react strongly when experiencing fear or pain. Smaller animals also have delicate limbs and joints that can be damaged by improper or rough handling. Before touching the animal, protect yourself with equipment such as gloves, and protect the animal by capturing gently with towels, soft netting, or a padded box.

  • Captured wild animals must be kept in a quiet, dark place far away from children, people, and other animals such as pets. Wild animals can transmit parasites and illnesses to humans and other pets, and high contact with humans and animals can stress already traumatized wildlings. As much as possible, avoid handling wild animals, and take care to wash your hands.

  • If you already have the animal contained, DO NOT FEED IT. Animals experiencing injury, extreme stress, or shock need medical treatment first, and snacks later. (If your child broke an arm, would you rush her or him to a restaurant, or to a hospital?) Furthermore, many wild animals have very specific dietary requirements and limitations, and feeding them the wrong food can do more harm than good.

  • Do NOT  EVER feed cow’s milk or human baby formula to young wild animals! These fluids cause health issues that often kill animals! It is preferable not to feed at all while transferring the animal to a wildlife rehabilitator.

  • For animals that are young or in shock, a heat source must be provided. Put a heating pad (set on “low”) under only half of the carrier or box used to contain them, or fill a water bottle with hot/warm (NOT boiling) water and secure it near the animal, where it won’t roll onto small critters. Most importantly, the animal MUST be able to get away from the heat source if it gets too warm for them.

  • Find A Licensed Rehabilator. The best way to find a licensed rehabilitator near you is to Click Here for Wildlife Rescue League or do a Google search using the following search terms "licensed rehabilators in (your city or state here)"

  • For more details, see the following species-specific guides:






Licensed Rehabilator

Paws Animal Wildlife Sanctuary, Where The Broken Come To Heal

Located In Laurens, South Carolina

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A Non-Profit Wildlife Education, Rescue and Rehabilitation Organization

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