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Caring for springtime’s orphaned or injured baby animals

Monica Wylie Professional Headshot of Monica Wylie May 2, 2018

REALTOR® Monica Wylie’s passion is animal welfare, and she’s here to share more info about what to do when you find abandoned baby animals.

Mother Nature tends to be very busy this time of year. Typically, there are wild babies showing themselves along with the daffodils. And so many times, we find ourselves wondering what to do when we find them.

Baby Rabbits

PAWS Wildlife Center offers some great tips on what to do if you find yourself in such a situation. If you have discovered an uninjured baby rabbit (not one your dog or cat has gifted you with), see if you can find the nest and put it back, being careful to cover it up with leaves or twigs.

“Nests” lined with fur are quite often a depression in the ground, an obscured spot under a bush or even a tuft of tall grass. The mother usually visits the next at dawn and dusk for a few moments at a time. If the baby rabbit is at least four or five inches long, its eyes are open, its ears are up, and it is able to hop around, however, it is actually old enough to be on its own and does not need to be put back in a nest.

Baby Birds

Springtime is also a time for baby birds to test their wings. What do you do if you find a nestling? If you know where the nest is, wear gloves and put the baby back in its nest. If you do not know where the nest is located, or if you’re unable to perform the actual act of putting the baby back in its next, you can place the baby in a surrogate nest. This would be a small box with leaves, paper towels, or a clean soft cloth with a warmed rice heat pack covered with a towel. Place the surrogate nest in a bush or tree near where you found it and watch from a distance if possible.

Other Animals

There are other “orphans” during this time of year, including baby squirrels, raccoons and opossums. Squirrel nests can be dislodged after a high wind. You can create a surrogate nest, similar to the baby bird nest described above, and place it as high up as you can safely manage near where you found the nest. For raccoons and opossums, a similar scenario will suffice.

However, if you have seen the mother become a victim of a vehicle or other fatal incident or if she is injured, please contact Puget Sound Wildcare at (360) 886-8917 or send an email to You can also contact PAWS Wildlife Center at 425-412-4040. Featherhaven also rehabilitates Washington’s native songbirds.

Monica asks everyone to please be a voice for wildlife and give our wild neighbors a break—their lives depend on us.

REALTOR® Monica Wylie has been sharing helpful animal welfare information here! If it’s an orphaned kitten you’ve run across, you might find her abandoned kitten blog post helpful. If you are interested in learning more about animal welfare in our community or have questions for Monica, please send her a message at

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