It Really An Orphan?
It is not often to find a true
orphaned wild animal. Even if you find a nest or live
young without a parent, it does not mean the babies are
abandoned. Enjoy the scene, but unless there appears to
be something amiss (nest out of the tree, broken legs or
wings, wounds or bleeding), LEAVE IT ALONE! Many species
of animals are raised by only one adult that is at the
moment away from its offspring in search of the next
meal. Most reptiles don't even have a parent to care for
them... they are born completely ready to feed and fend
for themselves. For those that have them (mainly birds
and mammals), wildlife parents are very devoted to the
care of their young and rarely abandon them. Usually
only in injury or death does this happen. However, they
cannot be in two places at once, and so it isn't unusual
for the young to be alone at their nest site several
times a day. And remember, almost all young reptiles
will be found alone... THEY ARE NOT ORPHANS!
May I Raise a Wild Animal
Native wildlife are legally
protected. It is illegal for anyone to possess a native
wild animal unless permitted by the ODNR Division of
Wildlife. Wildlife rehabilitators have a permit to
provide care to orphaned or injured wildlife.
Act Only On Positive
If you have found an obviously
injured wild animal, or know for a fact that the animal
is orphaned, intervention is an acceptable course of
action. But don't plan on raising babies or caring for
injured wildlife on your own. Wildlife require special
care and feeding that is beyond what the average
household is prepared and able to manage. Contact your
district wildlife office for assistance in finding a
local wildlife rehabilitator in your area with which to
place the young or injured animal, or find an authorized
Ohio wildlife rehabilitator HERE.
Humans are always a wild
animal's LAST hope for survival, NEVER it's best hope. A
young or orphaned animal should only be removed from the
wild after all avenues of leaving it there have been
What Can I Do To Prevent
-Check for nests and wildlife
before cutting down a tree or clearing brush.
-Place caps on chimneys,
vents, and window wells to prevent wildlife from taking
up residence or becoming trapped there.
-Keep your pets under control
so that they do not injure wild animals.
-Educate children to respect
wild animals and their habitat, and not to try and catch
or harass them.
-Exercise caution when driving
and watch the roadsides for wild animals, especially at
dawn and dusk.
-Conserve habitat for
-Most importantly, if you see
wildlife in it's natural environment... LEAVE IT ALONE!