Help! I found a wild animal!

Author: Naomi Avissar/Monday, April 17, 2017/Categories: Blog, Conservation, Education, Wildlife Watching

Would you know what to do if you find an injured wild animal? Do you know who to call for wildlife problems or concerns? The North Carolina Wildlife Resources Commission receives thousands of calls each year on these kinds of issues, so we thought we’d share a few frequently asked questions that come up in the spring and our best advice for each scenario.

  1. I found a fawn! Female deer hide their fawns while they feed, returning several times a day to care for them. People find these fawns and worry that they have been orphaned, but most of the time, they’re not. Unless the fawn is in distress (calling incessantly, visibly injured, or found next to a dead doe), we advise people to leave it in place and check back in 24 hours. If it’s still in the same spot the next day, call a licensed fawn rehabilitator for guidance.
  2. I found a bird that can’t fly! In the spring, people often call to report a bird fluttering on the ground. These are usually fledglings: young birds that have left their nest and are learning to fly. Fledglings are often mistaken for adults because they are adult-sized and fully-feathered, but fledglings have a short tail (much shorter than body length). It’s best to leave fledglings alone and keep pets away from them. If the bird is injured, call a wildlife rehabilitator for advice.
  3. There’s a snake in my yard! Snakes are common across North Carolina, and can provide benefits to people such as keeping common garden pests under control. However, if you are concerned about snakes, keep your yard clear of vegetation and potential hiding places. Six of the 37 snake species in North Carolina are venomous, with the copperhead being the most common (learn how to identify them at  In general, if left alone, snakes pose no threat to humans or pets. In most cases, given time, the snake will move out of the area on its own. If you have a snake in your house, the best thing to do is call a Wildlife Damage Control Agent for removal.
  4. There’s an animal in my attic (or under my deck)! Springtime is when many animals look for safe areas to raise their young, and in residential areas, that can be in or near people’s homes. A good way to prevent this is to keep areas around your home sealed off and inaccessible (for example, install lattice under your deck). If an animal has already found a way in, a Wildlife Damage Control Agent can assist you with removing it and sealing the entryway. You can also visit our website for more tips on co-existing with wildlife.
  5. The new NC Wildlife Helpline can assist with these and other types of human-wildlife interactions. You can reach them Monday through Friday, from 8 AM to 5 PM, at 866-318-2401.



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