?Does it need help

Sometimes it is difficult to tell if a wild animal needs your help.
Before you do anything, assess the situation.

Signs an animal needs your help:
     *   Obvious injury i.e. blood, broken bones or wings, cuts and/or
     *  Unusual behavior: i.e. too tame, convulsions, staggering, limping,
          sickly looking;
     *   Animal appears thin, poor fur or feathers, or cold;
     *   Excessive crying;
     *   Has been alone for 24 hours or more or predators are in the area;
     *   Bad weather is coming or has just left the area
Signs that an animal DOES NOT need your help:
      Even the best intentions can sometimes be wrong. Many times, the
      public sees a cute animal and thinks it needs saving when it did not.
     An animal does not need your help if it is a:​
     *   A healthy, well grown animal near a nest or den OR  a baby in or near 
  • cover by itself – many wildlife mothers “stash” their babies while feeding;
​      *  A well-feathered young bird hoping or standing on legs; or
      *  A rabbit 4-5” long with eyes open, ears up and hopping around

If an animal need help call 1-785-595-1991 and follow these instructions:

  • Minimize all handling. Wildlife (especially rabbits) can literally be stressed to death by excessive handling. They also carry a variety of diseases, some of which are transferable to humans. Is that photo really worth the risk to your child?
  • DO NOT feed the animal. NEVER offer food to wildlife unless you are specifically instructed to do so by a certified wildlife rehabilitator! Wild animals require different care than domestic pets. Good intentions can cause more harm than good in a wild animal.
  • If you can safely capture the injured animal, place it in a clean box with a towel or newspaper lining the bottom. Keep it dry, quiet and warm until you can reach help. Infant wildlife are unable to regulate their body temperature and can easily die from exposure. Excessive noise (i.e. dogs barking) can also stress animals to death. 
  • Be careful! Avoid touching the animal if possible. If you must touch it, wear thick gloves and use extreme caution. Just like humans, they may bite and scratch when cornered and/or injured.   NEVER attempt to handle skunks or raccoons! They carry rabies and other dangerous diseases and parasites!

Still not sure?

Take the wait and see approach. Observe the animal for a few hours to ensure it really needs help. If it does, call the NEKSWR hotline at 785-595-1991. Be sure to leave a clearly spoken message that includes your name, a phone number. If we cannot understand your voicemail, we cannot help you.  A member of our team will contact you with further instructions. 

Baby birds normally jump from the nest BEFORE they can fly. Fledgling birds have a “ruffled” appearance (feathers sticking out all over their bodies). The nest simply isn’t  big enough to hold all the whole family as all the babies grow.. As a result, fledglings jump to the ground and spread out; mom and dad fly from baby to baby, feeding them on the ground until the rest of their feathers grow in and they learn to fly. This is a dangerous but IMPORTANT time for baby birds, but every wild bird goes through this phase. If you see a baby bird chirping on the ground, please leave it there. If you are unsure, observe from a distance that allows parent birds access — or, if it is in a danger zone, relocate it a safe short distance away. If you have dogs or cats, please try to keep them under control for 2-4 days until the baby birds have moved on.
Birds do not react negatively if humans touch their babies, so if you’ve taken the bird inside while searching for help (or finding this information), it is okay to take it back out to where you found it. The parents will NOT reject a baby simply because a human has touched it. Fallen nests can also be replaced in the general vicinity, and the parent birds will find it.  
Any bird that has come in contact with the mouth of a cat or dog MUST be taken in for proper care. Domestic animals — especially cats — have very high oral bacteria counts; the smallest bite can prove deadly for a bird. Domestic and feral cats are NOT natural predators in North America, and have devastating effects on wild bird populations. 

Read this before you rescue a bird.
Read this before you rescue a squirrel or
other mammal.

Baby squirrels and racoons are often found on the ground after storms, trees are trimmed, if one is sick or injured or if mom has died and the babies are trying to look for food on their own. If there is a chance that mom is still alive and healthy, she WILL try to retrieve her baby if her baby is warm and healthy. She won't take back a cold baby. She will think it is sick or dying. If the area is free of predators, fill a plastic water bottle with warm water, cover it with a sock and place it near the baby. You can warm the bottle in the microwave slightly every few hours to keep it warm. Just make sure it's not too hot or you can easily burn a baby. You can also try to reuinte the babies with the mother by using a small cardboard box filled with nesting material.  Put the make-shift nest 8-10 feet up in the tree to protect it from dogs and cats. If there are birds of prey in the area, try to hide the box in the branches. Walk away. If the baby is crying, you will see area others come out to see what is wrong. But remember: they won't come if you are standing there taking pictures.
If the baby is injured and/or crys excessively (with no mom response) it is important to contact a wildlife rehabilitator as quickly as possible. A good time to wait is 2-3 hours in good weather or until dark. 

Read this before you rescue a baby deer.

Step 1: PUT IT BACK! When people do not see the mother doe, many are quick to believe the baby has been abandoned and is in need of help.  This is NOT true! Unless you see a dead mamma deer, please DO NOT move the baby.  Leave the baby where it is. . Mother deer hide their babies where she belives to be a safe place, in tall grass or near a tree. She returns to nurse her baby, stimulate it to eliminate and clean it.  Baby deer do not have any scent for the first few weeks of life, but mom does.  If she stays with her baby she will attract predators.  So she leaves it for hours at a time, returning at dawn and dusk or to move it to a new location. It may move abouta little as its legs get stronger, but mostly it will stay hidden near where its mother left it. If something approaches it a healthy fawn may flatten itself to the ground and freeze in an effort to blend in. 

However, if a found fawn is bleeding or obviously injured, covered in flies or maggots, running around frantically, crying nonstop, running after you, lying stretched out on its side head back or next to its dead mother or it has been left well past the next dawn or dusk please call for help. NEVER feed a fawn cow’s milk, infant formula, puppy formula,or any other milk or formula. These can cause severe diarrhea and kill a fawn.  Wild animals require different care than domestic pets.  Fawns have delicate digestive systems. 


Northeast Kansas Wildlife Rescue


Wildlife Hotline
  NEKSWR is a non-profit 501(c)3