What to Do if You Find a Wild Animal

Call us for advice: (850) 627-4151

Before you pick up or rescue a wild animal, please call St. Francis Wildlife for advice. We will help you determine if the animal truly needs to be rescued, if it should be left alone, or —if it is a baby — if it can be reunited with its mother. 

These animals always need to be rescued:

  • The parent is dead, and the baby is too young to be on its own.

  • The animal is weak, thin, cold or appears sick.

  • The animal is injured.

  • A cat or dog caught the animal (even if you don't see wounds). 

  • Flies or other insects are on or around it. 

  • The animal is in obvious danger--any life-threatening situation. 

Individual species information can be found at the bottom of this page.

Baby Owl

How to Transport Wildlife

  • Get a cardboard box or plastic container, punch air holes in the top, and place an old t-shirt, sheet or pillow case (not a towel) on the bottom.

  • Your safety is the first priority. Never put yourself at risk; think before you act. 

  • Wearing gloves, place the animal in the box, which should be taped and secured.

  • Keep it quiet, warm and very dark. Do not keep it longer than absolutely necessary. 

  • Don't stare at it or handle it. They view you as a predator. Stress can kill a wild animal.

  • Note exactly where you found it. This is important for release. 

  • Baby animals always need an external source of heat. Warm a plastic water bottle or sock with rice in the microwave. Wrap an old t-shirt or pillow case around it, and place it in the box. 

DO NOT

  • Do not give it water or food.

  • Never handle bats, raccoons, foxes or skunks (common rabies vectors). ALWAYS call us.

  • During transport, do not play the radio, smoke or blast AC.

  • If you call St. Francis Wildlife and we send a rescuer, please don't leave until we arrive. Remain nearby to monitor the animal's movement.