"I've found this abandoned baby squirrel/fox/bat/bird/other! What should I do?!"
With springtime upon us, our local wildlife will soon be busy raising little ones. April is the month during which our clinic receives the most calls regarding orphaned baby wildlife. It is only natural to want to help when we see what appears to be a helpless baby. But “rescuing” animals who do not need our help is one of the many reasons for the high mortality rates of baby birds and animals. Animal parents will often leave babies alone while they search for food. A baby bird on the ground might simply be having his first flying lesson. Their parents are often closer than we think, and in many cases, human intervention is not only unnecessary, but can do more harm than good.
If you see a featherless baby bird that has fallen from a nest, the best course of action is to put it back in the nest. The parents will not abandon it if it has been touched by humans. This is a myth that has been thoroughly disproven. The same should be done for baby mammals found near a nest or den. Do not risk getting bitten, as even bites from babies can be dangerous. If a baby is brought to you by a dog or cat, has an obviously broken limb, or is bleeding or shivering, then it needs your help. Ditto for babies that wander or cry for more than a couple of hours. If a parent does not respond to their cries, or if you see a dead adult nearby, it is time to intervene. The South Florida Wildlife Center is a great resource for helping injured wildlife. They can be reached at 866-SOS-WILD, or by clicking here http://www.humanesociety.org/animal_community/shelters/wildlife_care_center/contact_us_sfwc.html?referrer=https://www.google.com/ Since special licensure is required to work with wildlife, your veterinarian may or may not be able to assist you.