FAQs

What should I do if I find injured wildlife?

Animals will often be more aggressive if they are injured. Be extremely cautious when approaching any potentially injured wildlife. If an injured animal is found and you know the number of a licensed wildlife rehabilitator in your area, you can call them for assistance. See Contact a Wildlife Rehabilitator for more information and contact numbers. You can also call the NC Wildlife Helpline at 866-318-2401 to obtain the name and telephone number of a licensed rehabilitator in your area. Bats, foxes, raccoons, coyotes and skunks cannot be rehabilitated due to the possibility of carrying rabies and should not be handled. Wildlife Enforcement should be contacted for any injured deer or black bear at 800-662-7137.

I found a baby animal what should I do with it?

If you have found a juvenile animal by itself, it is very important to first determine whether or not it truly is orphaned. Many animals will be left alone during the day so that predators are not alerted to their presence. If the animal does not have any visible wounds and appears active and alert, chances are it is not truly orphaned, and the parents are close by keeping an eye on things. It is always best to leave the animal alone and reassess the situation in 24 hours. If in 24 hours the animal has not moved, and there have been no signs of the mother returning, you should contact a licensed wildlife rehabilitator. You can find contact info here or call the NC Wildlife Helpline at 866-318-2401 to obtain the name and telephone number of a licensed rehabilitator in your area. Bats, foxes, raccoons, coyotes and skunks cannot be rehabilitated due to the possibility of rabies and should not be handled.

There is a fawn laying alone. Is it ok?

Just seeing a fawn laying by itself does not mean it has been orphaned. Fawns will be left alone for long periods of time until they are old enough to keep up with the mother. This allows the mother to forage for food without attracting predators to the location of their fawn. Fawns are often found hidden within tall grass or bushes, but they can sometimes be found in more conspicuous locations like backyards. If you find a fawn and are concerned it may be orphaned leave it alone for at least 24 hours to see if the mother returns. If the fawn has not moved after 24 hours and there have been no signs of the mother returning, contact the NC Wildlife Helpline at 866-318-2401.

If I touch a baby bird will the mother abandon it?

Birds do not readily abandoned nests because they “smell humans”. However, if a nest is repeatedly disturbed by humans (especially before the eggs hatch) a mother bird may choose to abandon the nest if she believes the area is no longer safe. If you find a young bird on the ground that is featherless or fuzzy and has closed eyes, try to locate the nest and gently place the bird back inside the nest. If the bird has feathers, open eyes, and appears alert it has likely fledged the nest and is being cared for by its parents on the ground.

How can I become a Wildlife Rehabilitator?

Becoming a Wildlife Rehabilitator is not a decision to take lightly. Applicants must be able to document their experience in the field, and acquire a Wildlife Rehabilitation Permit. Click here to see the rehabilitator guidelines, and here for upcoming training opportunities.

 


Call 866-318-2401

Monday- Friday 8am- 5pm

wildlifehelpline@ncwildlife.org

Injured and Orphaned Wildlife

 

If you have found a wild animal, the best thing you can do is leave it alone or put it back where it was found. If you are truly concerned that the animal is injured or orphaned, but not sure, please read the following information:

Due to high risk for carrying rabies, the following wild animals should not be handled and cannot be rehabilitated: bats, coyotes, foxes, raccoons and skunks. Please, leave these animals alone. If your pet has brought one of these animals to you, contact your local veterinarian for advice. Other species that cannot be rehabilitated include adult deer, bears and wild turkey.

Please note:  It is illegal in North Carolina to keep most wildlife species without a permit. Volunteer wildlife rehabilitators are the only individuals that have proper licenses and training to provide care for wild animals until they can be released back into their natural habitat.

Contact a Wildlife Rehabilitator

There are volunteers across the state that are trained and licensed to rehabilitate wild animals until the animal can be released back into their natural habitat. Rehabilitators dedicate their time and money to caring for orphaned and injured animals; before contacting someone, be sure the animal needs assistance by considering the information below.

For injured deer or black bear please contact the NC Wildlife Helpline at 866-318-2401 (Mon-Fri. 8 am- 5 pm) or the Wildlife Enforcement Division at 800-662-7137 outside of business hours.



Is it injured?

  1. If the animal is able to move on its own, then it’s not injured. Best thing to do is just leave it alone.
  2. If it’s still alive and just not moving, then it’s still not necessarily injured. Certain species have a tendency to become very still when they think they're threatened or cornered. The best thing to do is leave it alone for at least 24 hours and allow it to move on its own.
  3. If it is obviously injured and is not one of the high risk for rabies listed above, then go to the bottom of this section to search for a Wildlife Rehabilitator in your county.

Is the animal orphaned?

  1. Just because a young animal is alone and the adult cannot be seen doesn’t mean the animal is orphaned. Many juvenile animals are left alone by the adult for long periods of times or merely have fallen out of their nest. Since it’s always best to give the adults the opportunity to re-establish contact and take care of their own offspring, a good rule of thumb is to leave it alone for 24 to 48 hours to determine if parent will return.
  2. If the dead adult is found close by to the young animal and is not one of the high risk for rabies listed above, then go to the bottom of this section to search for a Wildlife Rehabilitator in your county. 

 

Find rehabilitators in your county by selecting from the drop-down list below.

POP-UP REMINDER NOTE - When a county is selected, the page will open in a new window and sometimes be recognized as a pop-up page.  On some devices and browsers, pop-ups must be enabled for the drop down menu to function properly. For information on how to enable pop-ups, see browser or mobile device documentation on how to enable pop-ups.

 

 

Contact a Fawn Rehabilitator

It is common to find fawns left alone for long periods of time by the doe (the female parent). The doe knows when to return and will not do so if humans are around. The best thing you can do if you find a fawn is leave it alone for 24 hours or put it back where it was found, unless it is truly injured or orphaned. Even if it is injured or orphaned, it is okay to put it back or leave it alone.

If you are truly concerned that the fawn is injured or orphaned, but not sure, read the following:


Is it injured?

  1. If the fawn is able to move on its own then it’s likely not injured. Best thing to do is just leave it alone.
  2. If the fawn is not moving, but still very young, then it’s likely not injured. Very young fawns (for the first 2 to 3 weeks of age) by instinct do not move. They may lie perfectly still even if they are out in the middle of an open area. This is an instinct to protect them from predators. The mother licks the fawn to reduce any scent that could attract a predator. Best thing to do is just leave it alone.
  3. If the fawn is unable to move from the site where found then go to the bottom of this section to find a Fawn Rehabilitator near you.

View the list below to contact a permitted fawn rehabilitator:

Fawn Rehabilitator Contact List, Sorted by County (PDF)


Is the animal orphaned?

  1. Just because the fawn is alone and the parent cannot be seen, doesn’t mean the fawn is orphaned. As stated before, fawns are left alone by the doe for long periods of times. A good rule of thumb is to leave the fawn completely alone for 24 hours to determine if the parent is not returning.
  2. After leaving it completely alone for 24 hours, and the fawn is in the same location, clearly distressed and bleating (crying) loudly, then go to the bottom of this section to find a Fawn Rehabilitator near you.
  3. If the dead parent is found close by the baby, then go to the bottom of this section to find a Fawn Rehabilitator near you.

View the list below to contact a permitted fawn rehabilitator:


Seen a Sick Deer?

If you have seen or harvested a sick deer, please call your local District Biologist or the Wildlife Helpline at 1-866-318-2401.

Signs to look for:

  • Isolation from other animals
  • Listlessness or showing little or no interest in their surroundings
  • Lack of coordination
  • Frequent lowering of the head
  • Blank facial expressions
  • Walking in set patterns    
  • Drooling and grinding of teeth
  • Drinking lots of water and increased urination
  • Low weight

For more information, see our Chronic Wasting Disease Fact Sheet (PDF).