How You Can Help
All wild animals, babies or adults, need all three – quiet, warmth, and hydration. An adult may not need a heat source unless it has extra needs such as low body temperature or emaciation.
A wild baby does not need to be in your living room with the neighborhood kids petting it. There are some species that can die simply from the stress of being around people. It is called “capture myopathy”. People will frequently call and say it’s so calm it is sitting in their laps, they took it home sitting on the front seat of the car, etc. We have seen these babies while people think it is calm and we can see the stress the animal is going through that these untrained people cannot. Believe us, they are petrified. There also is the danger of the animal attempting to flee and getting injured when it is not in an appropriate container such as a covered box or a pet carrier. The animal needs to be in a room, normally with dim light, alone away from all household noises, and needs to be kept warm and hydrated.
Warmth and hydration are emergency measures you can easily do. A baby animal’s nest is very warm. It may be a nice day for us but a baby will be cold if it is away from its nest. You can provide heat by pouring uncooked rice into a sock and tying the sock in a knot at the end. Heat this in your microwave for 1 ½ minutes and it will hold heat for one to two hours. Place the rice sock (or two) in the bottom of a box, cover it with a t shirt, put the baby on the t shirt, and fold the t shirt back over the baby. Do not use towels as their claws can get caught in the loops. You can also use a heating pad set on low. Place half of the box or the container you are using over the heating pad. If the heat is too warm for the baby it can squirm off the heat source. You can also put warm water in sealed bottles, but be careful to monitor the warmth as the cooled bottles will chill the animal’s body. Hydration can be easily provided by dripping warmed water or warmed unflavored electrolyte solution on the baby’s tongue with an eyedropper or syringe. If this is a larger animal such as a raccoon, fox, or fawn, it can drink much more water.
You can try a baby bottle if you have one. (Note: pet nursing bottles are not appropriate for raccoons. They have big mouths and use a human baby bottle.) Do not force drinking. The animal can get fluid in its lungs and die. Do not force fluids by mouth if the animal is unconscious. We hydrate it using fluids injected under the skin. If the animal is more alert, it may simply drink from a container.