If You Find a Sick or Injured Animal
For the wellbeing of all wildlife in Vermont and for your own safety, taking
a wild animal into captivity is illegal. Only licensed
rehabilitators may legally care for wildlife.
If you find a sick or injured animal, it is important to locate a licensed
rehabilitator immediately. Licensed rehabilitators can provide care with the
ultimate goal of returning the animal to the wild as quickly as possible, giving
the animal the best chance of survival.
rehabilitators may legally possess and treat most common birds, mammals,
reptiles and amphibians with the exception of deer, moose, bear and wild turkey.
Only two facilities in Vermont are authorized to accept threatened and
Call the rehabilitator first to find out which wildlife species he or she
generally accepts BEFORE you try to capture or transport an
animal for care.
Rehabilitators are usually unable to pick-up injured wildlife, but they can
provide advice on the best procedures for safely collecting the animal and will
offer directions to their facility.find a wildlife rehabilitator
If You Find a Young Animal
Adult animals of many species, such as rabbits and owls, limit the number of
daily visits to their young. This prevents predators from discovering the
location of newborns or hatchlings.
To increase the young’s chance of survival, leave the area immediately.
Birds do not possess a strong sense of smell, and will not reject a youngster
placed back in the nest. Many backyard birds frequently outgrow their nest and
leave days before they can fly. The parent birds will continue to care for their
young, even away from the nest, so do not attempt to pick up the fledglings.
To protect young birds, keep cats and dogs away and/or move the chick to the
nearest shrub or natural cover. Then leave the area and allow the parent birds
to naturally respond to the food-begging calls of their young.
Never pick up a deer.
White-tailed deer fawns use their spotted coats as camouflage and remain
motionless to avoid detection from potential predators, including humans. If you
see a fawn curled up at the edge of a path or field, leave the area immediately
and do not return. Your presence will prevent the doe from returning to her fawn
for periodic nursing.
While they may appear abandoned, they are not abandoned – the mother only
returns a couple of times a day. This is true even if the young animal
appears hungry or seems to beg from you.
Wildlife rehabilitators are not authorized to accept deer fawns.
Fawns removed from their natural habitat are not equipped for
survival. When deer are removed from the wild, they do not learn how to
evade predators, find food, avoid humans, or find specific deer wintering
You should not touch skunks, raccoons, foxes or bats that appear in
need. Although all mammals can carry rabies, these animals are considered
rabies vectors and have a higher likelihood of being positive for rabies even if
they don’t appear sick.
Call the Rabies Hotline at 1-800-4-RABIES and do not attempt to touch the
animal until after contacting the hotline. Do not allow children, other people
or pets to come in contact with the animal.
People who handle rabies vector animals put themselves and their loved ones
at risk for contracting an extremely dangerous and frequently fatal
Learn more: www.healthvermont.gov/Rabies