If you find a mammal

Please remember that in Colorado, it is illegal to possess wild animals without a State permit. Please contact a licensed wildlife rehabilitator as soon as possible.

If the mammal appears hurt:

  • Cat or dog brought it in (You won’t always see the damage from the cat but there is usually severe damage in the form of puncture wounds.)
  • The mammal is bleeding
  • The head, leg or other body part has obvious damage
  • The mammal is wet and/or cold
  • The mammal appears weak and/or sick
  • The mammal has had an obvious accident or trauma

Please call a licensed wildlife rehabilitator.

If the mammal is normally a nocturnal animal but is out during the daytime:

You won’t usually see a bat or raccoon out during daylight. This animal may very well be sick. He may also be injured or, if young, separated from his mother. Be aware that bats, skunks, foxes and raccoons can carry rabies. Do NOT approach the animal if it appears unafraid; contact a licensed rehabilitator. If you have been bitten or if there is a chance that you, your pet or someone in your home has been bitten (or if a bat was found inside the house and/or in the bedroom), contact your local health department. Contact your health department if you have any questions or concerns regarding bats.

If the mammal is a baby or juvenile:

If the baby is injured, please call a licensed wildlife rehabilitator.

A baby mammal is completely fur-free or is fuzzy. Eyes may be open or closed. Where was the baby found? Did a pet bring in the baby? Was it by a car? (There may be more babies close by.)

If the baby appears uninjured, make every responsible attempt to put the baby back in its den or nest. Watch for several hours and see if the mother approaches. She won’t if she sees you. If the mother returns, the baby is probably okay. If she doesn’t return, please call a licensed wildlife rehabilitator.


Three sick foxes in rehab


If you find a wildlife baby in distress and you are trying to reach a rehabber or waiting for a transporter, it’s important to provide that baby with SUPPLEMENTAL HEAT while you’re waiting. Just covering or wrapping the animal won’t do it, especially if it’s still quite young, barely furred or feathered and already cool to the touch.

What to do: After you’ve prepared a small carton with flannel or fleece, either place the container half on, half off a heating pad set on “Low”. If the pad turns off automatically after a certain time, you’ll need to monitor and turn back on. Or: microwave a WET WASHCLOTH in a ziploc bag till hot, close the bag and place it UNDER the bedding. Make sure it doesn’t touch the baby and cause burns!–KEEPING THE BABY WARM BEFORE IT GETS OTHER TREATMENT BY A LICENSED REHABBER CAN MEAN THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN LIFE AND DEATH for that baby!

For information on baby squirrels, Click Here.


  • First, resist the urge to put food or water in the mouth!! Don’t do it.
  • Stress Kills. Stress is the noise, the handling and simply being in an unfamiliar situation to begin with, and wildlife see us as predators. Keep the kids, dogs, cats, and other pets away from the animal. Place the animal in a cardboard box or pet kennel (no wire cage, please) with a towel and put in a warm, dark, safe, QUIET place; outside, if possible.
  • Be Safe! Some animals bite, hard; some animals scratch with their claws; some animals have quills; and some animals may spray you. Goggles are a good idea when handling mammals. Always wear thick, heavy gloves and wash your hands, as well as your clothing and anything else the animal may have come into contact with, thoroughly. Understand that animals may carry parasites and/or disease.
  • Improper food kills animals. Sometimes the damage isn’t readily apparent for several days, or even longer, until the animal begins to get weak and sick, or doesn’t appear healthy. We get many animals in this condition each year, and oftentimes it’s too late to correct the problem. Remember, animals don’t eat what we eat, and cows’ milk is for cows!
  • Improper feeding technique can be fatal to animals. Opening up a mouth and pouring food down it can cause aspiration, which can cause pneumonia, and can be fatal. Some animals require gavage feeding or syringe feeding. Again, this may sound simple but it requires practice and experience to accomplish correctly.
  • Remember that some animals imprint. Very simply put, this means that they see themselves as people and prefer the company of people. This may seem cute initially but is a death sentence for the animal. As the animal matures and becomes hormonal, and wants to continue with the life cycle, the animal becomes stressed and frustrated. An animal may become aggressive and/or destructive. This is the time when people have usually grown tired of the animal, or for some reason or other no longer wish to keep the animal, which is ILLEGAL anyway. They either release the animal to “be free” or try to find someone else (a rehabber) to take the animal. Understand that an imprinted animal set free may be killed off by its own kind because they know it’s “defective” or will be chased away from a good territory. This animal may never mate. This animal may starve. This animal probably doesn’t know how to recognize a predator, find food, or may not even be physically prepared for life in the wild. Releasing an imprinted animal (or bird, for that matter) is cruel. An imprinted animal may look for humans and scare the human, resulting in injury or death to the animal.
  • Baby bunnies: remember that the mother doesn’t stay with her nest. She comes only at dawn and dusk to feed her babies. Her staying at the nest attracts predators. Nests are typically a very shallow depression in the ground, covered with grass. If you can find the nest, place the baby back in the nest. Place a tic-tac-toe made of thread on top of the nest, or sprinkle flour around the nest, and check back in the evening or morning to see if the threads or flour have been disturbed, an indication that the mother is caring for the baby. If it doesn’t appear the mother has been back, or if you can’t locate the nest, call a licensed rehabilitator. Remember, neonate (newborn) cottontails definitely do NOT do well in rehab. The bunny’s mother is the absolute best chance he has!
  • Fawns: the mother does not stay with her fawn. Doing so would attract predators. A safe fawn is a fawn found sleeping quietly in the grass; sometimes in the yard in the long grass! Please do NOT disturb the fawn. A fawn that needs your help is walking around, crying. If this is the fawn you see, please call a licensed rehabilitator. It is ILLEGAL to possess fawns, or any other wild animal.
  • Baby Raccoons: a mother raccoon will put her babies in separate places when out of the nest. You may think the baby is orphaned, but is probably just waiting for his mother to return at night. If possible, watch for the mother raccoon to return, at night. If the mother doesn’t return, call a licensed rehabilitator.

Lastly, let’s remember that when we find an injured or orphaned wild animal, we are given an opportunity to do the right thing and to help an animal that may otherwise not survive. Please remember to always do the right thing and put their needs above our own curiosity.