Wildlife Rehabilitation Network of Central Iowa
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Providing care and rehabilitation to orphaned and injured wildlife with the intent to return them to the wild.

If you have found an animal and do not know what to do,
please follow the following links: Mammal   or Bird .  


Frequently Asked Questions

A baby squirrel is lying at the base of my tree. Will the mother come and get it?

It's daylight and a big raccoon is walking through my backyard. Is it sick? 

Why is there a baby deer (fawn) lying in the back corner of my yard?

Many times baby squirrels will be found at the base of a tree that houses a squirrel’s nest. Sometimes they just fall through a poorly
built nest and usually the mother will retrieve them and return them to the nest. If they haven’t been injured during the fall the other main threat is that of a predator – cat, dog, fox, bird of prey. If you know there’s a nest in the tree and the baby is warm and uninjured, place it in a box (I usually suggest that you nail or securely tie the box to the tree so it’s off the ground) and watch for the mother squirrel. She will usually realize the baby is missing within hours. A baby with no fur can become hypothermic (low body temperature) pretty quickly. If this is the case, call a rehabber for advice BEFORE you rescue it. If the baby is cold, wet, or injured, bring it in the house and call a rehabber asap. 
Not necessarily. Sometimes they get frightened from their den or the tree they live in has come down. If it’s moving normally and looks uninjured, leave it alone. If it appears to be dazed, trancelike, or obviously injured, keep an eye on it and call a rehabber. Do not try to
capture an adult animal without getting professional advice first. You may also see foxes and coyotes running about during the day especially in late spring when they have a fulltime job finding food for their litters.
The doe will place her newly born baby someplace she thinks is safe for the day while she goes to find food. She will be back about 7 or 8 tonight to feed it. The fawn is OK unless you see some danger for him or unless he is up and wandering around and calling (sounds like a baby goat bleating). The fawn will call for his mother when it is hungry but if the bleating goes on for a long time there may be a problem. That’s the time to call your local wildlife center for advice. NEVER leave a fawn if it is cold and lifeless or there are flies circling around an
open wound on it. 

I found a dead mother opossum on the road and there are babies stuck to her! Should I pull them off? 

I found an injured baby bird. It eats everything I feed it, including my favorite cereal! Can I keep it?

Yes! Using gloves or a towel, remove any babies that are still attached to a dead mother as soon
as possible, to prevent ingestion of rancid milk. Immediately call your closest rehabber.
Sorry, but you can't keep that adorable bird. Almost all birds are federally protected and it is illegal to keep them as a pet even for a few days. By feeding it unnatural foods, you can kill them. They must be taken to a wildlife rehabilitator as soon as you find them and have
gotten advice. But call your local wildlife center FIRST so they can tell you if that baby bird really needs to be rescued.

How can I keep rabbits out of my garden?

There's a bunch of baby ducks (or goslings) running around in the street with no mother. Can I release them on a pond in the forest preserve?

The only true defense is a fence, tall enough not to be jumped over. Really determined rabbits will tunnel under. You may have some success
with a soap mixture of 3 tbls each cayenne pepper, Tabasco sauce and dish soap in one gallon of water. Unfortunately, it has to be applied frequently, daily if you are truly in love with the plant. Sometimes, once a plant gets more mature, it is not as tasty and the rabbits will leave it alone. 
No. Those babies are probably only a day or two old and they need to be with their mothers. Most times they get separated on their first trip
out of the nest on their way to a pond or some waterway. The mother duck may very well be around. You may even hear her quacking nearby or see her flying overhead. You can gather the ducklings up and put them a box
that can be tipped over when you see the mother return. She will quickly gather them up and be on her way. If the mother cannot be located, gather the babies, put them in a box and call a rehabber. DO NOT PUT THEM IN WATER. They are not necessarily waterproof yet and they may drown.

My kids touched the baby (bird, bunny, squirrel).  Now that it has our scent on it, the mother will reject it, right?

False.  Wildlife mothers do not care what their babies smell like for the most part.  It is always worth while to put the baby back, as most often the mother returns, glad to have her baby back.  If you MUST handle wildlife, always use gloves  and/or a towel to protect both the animal and yourself from potential zoonotic diseases.

HELP!  I found a nest of bunnies and the mother is nowhere to be found.  What do I do?

Leave them in the nest!  Mother cottontail rabbits visit their nest only twice a day at dawn and dusk.  When she does visit, she hovers over the nest for a few minutes while the babies quickly feed, and she is off again. She stays near the nest, hidden, and you can be sure she is keeping an eye on her babies.  Baby cottontails have no natural scent which helps them hide in plain sight.  If a predator gets too close to the nest, the mother will run out and draw the predator away from the nest.  Survival rates for cottontails taken from the nest are a dismal 1-5%.  If you suspect an orphan nest, you can place yarn or flour across or around the nest, then check in 24 hours for footprints or disturbed yarn.  If there are none, please contact your closest rehabber.  Baby cottontails leave the nest as early as 4 weeks old.  If his ears are standing and he hops away from you, he does not need to be saved.

How do I become a wildlife rehabilitator?

I have raccoons nesting / groundhogs digging / squirrels chewing / or other wildlife problems.  Can you trap and relocate the animals?

For informationon becoming awildlife rehabilitator please see the following links.  After looking them over, contact your closest rehabber formore information.
Unfortunately, as housing devolopments continue to spread in to wildlife habitats we see more and more human / wildlife confllict.  The answer is not as easy as trapping and relocating the wildlife.  Studies have shown very poor survival rates for animals relocated for a variety of reasons.  Loss of home, habitat, family groups, and know food and water sources are a few of those reasons.  Nuisance wildlife trappers have very little incentive to keep the animals alive, and most will dispose of the animal via drowning or Co2 poisoning.  It is always a challenge to deal with unwelcome wildlife, but the best solution is to make the place uncomfortable for the animal so they leave.  People have used bright lights, loud raidos to make a raccoon mother renest, and dont forget about easy acess meals that may have lured the critters in the first place.  Fido's food bowl is awfully inticing to a tired mother.    Once gone, secure the entrance to prevent any other unwelcome guests.