ANIMALS IN NEED GUIDE

*Due To The Current Avian Influenza, It Is Important That You Do NOT Bring Any Birds To The Center Without First Talking To Our Staff

BABY BUNNIES or NEST OF BUNNIES

  • WATCH A VIDEO ON NESTS HERE   
  • Mom bunnies often build nests in the middle of an open area. The nest will look like a shallow hole with dead grass and fur on top of it.
  • Most of the time the nest or baby bunnies that you found are perfectly fine! Mother rabbits feed their young twice a day, during the night. They are very secretive so people are unlikely to see them when they visit their nest. To see if mom is around try this test: 1) take 4 strings (not sticks or straws or hay) and lay them in a tic-tac-toe board over the bunny nest. 2) Take a photo.3) In the morning, because mom bunny will feed her babies once in the evening and once in the morning, take another photo and compare it to the one last night. 4) If the strings have moved slightly (it will not be a dramatic change) there is a good chance that the mom is coming back to feed her babies. If you are still concerned that mom might not be coming back, see below.
  • If the nest fails the string test above, it is imperative that you call us; Do NOT try to feed the babies.
  • When you call us we will ask you to do the following: 1) Take a bunny out of the nest (mom will come back to take care of them even if she smells “human” on them, that is just a myth). 2) get a good photo of the bunny in your hand, get a photo of its belly, and get a photo from the side; different angles will help us remotely determine if the bunny is abandoned.3) send the photos to: naturesnurseryphotos@gmail.com or Facebook DM. (call us to let us know you emailed the photos and put your name in the email, we do not check this regularly and will miss it) Most of the time you can put the bunnies back.


BUNNY NEST WITH DOG

  • I have a bunny nest in my yard and have dogs, can I move it? Moving a bunny nest is extremely risky and most of the time, mom will not come back to the nest if it is moved. For three weeks bunnies will be in the nest and there are a couple things that can be done to protect them. 1) You can take your dog out on a leash.2) Laundry basket technique: while your dog is out in the yard, place a laundry basket on the nest and weigh it down with bricks or something heavy. When you let your dogs back in the house, remove the basket. 3) If your dog is too strong and can still move the laundry basket; you can put the bunnies temporarily in a box while your dog is out and then put them back into the nest after bringing your dog back inside. Mom bunny, like most animals, will still take care of her babies even if she smells “human” on them.


SMALL BUNNIES ON THE MOVE

  • Young bunnies leave the nest when they are about 3 weeks old and the size of a man’s fist (4”-5” long). At this time, they are fully able to care for themselves. If a bunny has to be chased to be caught, it doesn’t need help.

A NEST OF BABIES FELL DOWN

  • WATCH A VIDEO ABOUT FALLEN NESTS HERE
  • 1st: did it have eggs or babies? If so, then you can put the nest and eggs/babies in a Tupperware container with holes in the bottom or a hanging basket and put it back up in the location where you suspect the nest fell. If it was empty, then no worries. If you cannot get the nest back up where it came from, call Nature’s Nursery.

A BIRD IN MY YARD CAN’T FLY

  • This could be a fledgling bird. They are youngsters who are developing the muscles to fly and they do that by being on the ground. This is a crucial step for their success as an adult. Fledglings are fully feathered but often look younger and are typically smaller than adults. Watch for an adult to come to the bird- they are usually there for protection. Now if it looks like an adult watch for attempts to fly or walk and see if there is a difference in the way they move. If it is an injured adult, it will need to go to a rehabber for assessment and care.

BIRDS MADE A NEST IN/ON/BY MY _____ CAN I MOVE IT?

  • If the nest is empty, you can remove it. If it is not, it is actually against federal law to move or destroy a nest containing eggs or young of any bird, which is protected by the Migratory Bird Act. The young birds will leave the nest in a few weeks depending on the species. If you move the nest, the parents will not know where they are and the babies will not hatch or be fed.

BIRD ATTACKING ME WHEN I LEAVE MY HOUSE- NEST NEARBY

  • You can go out another exit of the house or take an umbrella out with you and it will shield you from the bird. This is usually a parent protecting the nest, and it wont last for long.

BIRD KEEPS HITTING THE GLASS

  • They aren’t trying to enter the house; they see their reflections and think the reflections are intruders to their breeding territories. The glass should be covered on the outside with paper or plastic sheeting (or garbage bag). Leave the windows covered for a few days. You can also get Feather Friendly bird safe window markers to help prevent birds from running into windows.

BIRD HIT THE WINDOW AND IS STUNNED

  • Safely contain the animal in a box or even a paper bag that it cannot fly out of and is properly ventilated. The bird may seem just fine, but it could have head trauma and injuries that are not readily visible and while it may be fine now, it might not be in a couple hours.

BIRD CAUGHT IN STICKY TRAP, STRING, MESH… 

  • Contain the animal safely without coming in contact, and contact your wildlife Rehabilitator right away. These injuries can be life threatening and need immediate attention from trained rehabilitators especially if it is in a sticky trap. Sometimes removing the animal can be even more harmful than the initial incident!

ADULT BIRD ACTING STRANGE

  • Any adult bird which allows itself to be picked up is either injured or in shock or otherwise in trouble.
  • Injured wing: both wings are not resting in the same position on the body.
  • Injured leg or foot: bird is unable to perch or is extending one wing out to support itself.
  • Bird just hit the window: place the bird in a paper bag, do not wait for it to recover. It can have unseen trauma like a head injury. Call Nature’s Nursery.
  • Diurnal (daytime) bird is trapped in a building: darken the room and leave a window or door open. Birds will be attracted by the light outside and fly out.
  • During spring, some birds (usually Robins and Cardinals) repeatedly fling themselves against glass windows and doors. They aren’t trying to enter the house; they see their reflections and think the reflections are intruders to their breeding territories. The glass should be covered on the outside with paper or plastic sheeting (or garbage bag). Leave the windows covered for a few days. You can also look into Feather Friendly products for a more permanent solution.

A NEST OF SQUIRRELS FELL DOWN

This happens frequently with arboreal squirrels. To prepare for this, a mom squirrel has made multiple nests before having her babies. Wait a few hours, stay away from the babies (maybe try to keep feral cats and dogs away), and wait for mom to come back and reclaim them. This may take awhile as she has to relocate the nest and make it fit for living, then come back to pick up her babies one by one to move them into the next nest.

If mom does not come back after a few hours to reclaim her babies, give us a call for further instruction. IF IT IS COLD, WAITING TIMES SHOULD BE SHORTENED

SQUIRRELS ARE MISSING HAIR

Squirrels missing hair can be a by-product of breeding (especially if hair loss around shoulders), but may more likely be caused from mange. This condition is caused from a mite that burrows under their skin, causing irritation and scratching. Some animals will become completely bald. Mange does not kill, but exposure to the cold and infection form open sores from scratching can. Animals can be treated, but must be caught to be medicated. Mange can be contagious, but pets and humans would need direct contact to the animal. Feeding squirrels can cause the disease to spread as they all gather in one spot. Nests may be infected also, causing a recurrence even after treatment.

SQUIRREL FELL DOWN A CHIMNEY

The squirrel will climb up a lowered rope. If you decided to retrieve the squirrel from the fireplace side, have someone hold a tent of cloth around the fireplace to prevent the squirrel from entering the room. If it is during the day, you can also block off the room, remove all breakables, darken the room and open a window to the outside. You should place a board or rope for the squirrel to climb up to escape out the window. All entries to the room should be closed. Cap the chimney after the rescue.

SQUIRRELS ARE IN MY ATTIC

Trim tree branches which act as bridges to the attic, as well as to seal all holes around the house.

Hang a bright light, play loud music, or place ammonia-soaked rags (but not near young) where the squirrels are living. If there are young squirrels, practice tolerance until the young are old enough to leave their nest with their mother. If that is not possible, allow the mother squirrel plenty of time to remove her young before you seal the hole.

A BABY SQUIRREL KEEPS FOLLOWING ME, WHAT DO I DO?

When a baby squirrel is following you around, it is most likely an orphan. Mom squirrels would have taught her babies to shy away from people (unless they are being fed constantly by a person which causes its own problems, especially if that person goes on vacation and that squirrel is now relying on you for food). In this situation, contain the squirrel and call the center to set up an appointment time to bring it out. It needs to be raised with other squirrels.

SQUIRREL KEEPS GETTING INTO MY BIRDFEEDER

There are multiple things on the market that will prevent squirrels from getting into your bird feeder; birds have an underdeveloped sense of taste. If you put red pepper flakes into your bird seed it will deter squirrels. Pepper spray around areas you do not want them (do not spray the animals or yourself!). Springs around the pole, PVC around the pole to make it wider. Apple Cider vinegar sprayed around areas you do not want them (it will kill plants, beware). Squirrel repelling plants: daffodils, hyacinths, allium, lily of the valley, peppermint and geranium (does not work all the time).

Alternative food stations for squirrels that are easier for them to get to than the bird feeders. They like corn, sunflower seeds, fruit and other grain seeds. There are many clever feeders and squirrel repellent techniques. Check out some bird feeding books like Outwitting Squirrels by Bill Adler.

INJURED RACOONDS:

Nature’s Nursery can not rehabilitate racoons, however If the animal is in poor condition Nature’s Nursery can humanely euthanize it. Unfortunately we do not have the proper facilities or funding to adequately care for hurt, sick or orphaned raccoons; especially in the volume we would be receiving them. 

If it is an injured baby, we suggest calling the Wyandot County Humane Society. If it is an injured adult and its injury is small, raccoons are very resilient and the chances of them healing from that injury without our help is high. 

NUISANCE RACOONS

What should I do to get a raccoon out of my attic?

In most cases, when a raccoon has set up house in your attic, shed, chimney etc. it is a female who is looking for a place to have her babies. Many people rush to call a live trapper. This should really be your last resort. Live trappers in Ohio are required to either euthanize raccoons they have trapped, or they must release directly back on site. Quite often you can take care of the problem yourself, saving money and making it easier on the animal. Raccoons are looking for a warm, quiet, dark place to have their babies. If you can change the environment of your attic, she will likely move her babies to another location (hopefully a dead tree with a hollow in it if you are lucky enough to have one around!). 

Use methods in the raccoon’s sleeping area during the day since raccoons are nocturnal to entice them to move out of a structure:

 Play loud music or a radio station talk show

 Shine bright light

 Place Ammonia- soaked rags in room (do not place near young)

 Place a fan blowing directly at the nesting spot 

All these things will help her to decide that your attic isn’t the right place for her! Give this some time. It may take up to a week for her to find another location and get all the babies moved. Once you are certain she is gone, repair the area where she got in so that the next wild animal to come along won’t take advantage. Feel free to call Nature’s Nursery if you’d like to talk to somebody about your situation.

Once the raccoon has left, seal all entry holes immediately. You can also create one way doors and place them in the entry holes prior to when the raccoon leaves. These doors will then prevent the raccoon’s re-entry until the holes can be sealed. Do not use one way doors if there are young animals present.

If a raccoon with young is being evicted, be sure all young are removed prior to sealing an entry. Also allow the mother to move her young on her own rather than live-trapping and removing them from the home territory to ensure the young raccoons survive. 

If all else fails, you can live-trap the raccoon. See the section on live-trapping for advice. We recommend to not remove the raccoon from its territory after it is trapped. Take a look at the raccoon’s belly (without touching the raccoon) while it is in the trap to be sure it is not a nursing mother. If it is, you should either tolerate her until her young are weaned or, if that is not possible, to be sure to release all young and the mother together.

If the raccoon is in someone’s yard, garage or barn in the daylight, it may be sick. Although distemper is epidemic in Central Ohio and rabies is rare, the symptoms are identical. Symptoms would include gummy eyes, inability to walk well, and neurologic symptoms. Do not handle the raccoon. Sick animals should be handled only by NN rabies vaccinated staff or volunteers or Division of Wildlife.

When-ever possible, turn on lights (use clamp lights if the area doesn’t have regular lighting), play a radio during the day (when they are generally trying to sleep), and use a fan to blow directly where she is nesting.

Due to the dangers of rabies and raccoon roundworm, as well as the obvious danger of being bitten or scratched, do not ever directly touch a raccoon, no matter how young or helpless the raccoon is. Adult raccoons should not be rescued by you. Either a NN vaccinated staff or volunteer should be called to assist, or if no NN volunteer is available, then the local Wildlife Officer or local animal control should be called. NN will take the sick/injured raccoon. If no one else is available to pick it up, another agency wishes to bring it to us. We do not rehabilitate raccoons so it will be humanely euthanized or it should be dealt with by a Division of Wildlife Officer

Since 2009, the State of Ohio does not permit the rehabilitation of white-tailed deer for multiple reasons. 

Nature’s Nursery does not accept deer – adults or fawns

THERE’S A FAWN IN MY YARD:

Leave it alone and enjoy its temporary presence if it is quietly curled up somewhere in your yard! It is perfectly fine. Mother deer leave their young hidden in the grass for several hours at a time while they browse. Their mothers will leave them unattended for 8 or more hours at a time, while she forages for food. This way she doesn’t attract predators to her babies.

If the fawn is bleating or crying, following humans or showing other signs of distress (has been in the same spot for over 12 hours, looks weak, ears curled or the grass under it is yellow and flies are buzzing around it)  it is most likely orphaned. In this situation, you can try to find a herd of deer in the same county with a lactating mother and attempt to have her foster the orphaned fawn (which is not a common occurrence as it is with Canada Geese.) If fostering is unsuccessful, then the fawn must be euthanized (see Ohio Administrative Code section 1501: 31-25-03). If a fawn must be euthanized you can call your local wildlife officer.

If you are in Michigan contact a MI Rehabilitator like Outback Wildlife (734) 777-1613. They do rehabilitate deer


DEER HIT BY A CAR:

  • Do not go near the deer. It is strong and its hooves are sharp and dangerous.
  • If a deer is hit by a car, the state highway patrol, the sheriff or the appropriate county Wildlife Officer must be called. See the Wildlife Officer listing under contacts.
  • Deer hit by cars must be euthanized in virtually all instances. The state does not allow the rehabilitation of deer in Ohio and it is more humane to ease their suffering.

DEER IN WRONG PLACE

  • In a business district – sometimes deer become confused and wander into a business district. When startled, they may jump through a window or run into a car. They are very sensitive to stress and can die on the spot. Immediately contact the Division of Wildlife or the local Wildlife Officer (contact information in the contacts section) and have them handle the situation. We are not equipped to intervene.
  • In a residential district – if the deer is not hurt, leave it alone and keep people and other animals away from the area. It will find its own way back out. Tranquilization or forced removal of the deer endangers it more than leaving it alone. It will not attack people unless people cause it to panic. Also please note that it is not uncommon for deer to be found in residential areas.

IN A HOUSE:

  • If a bat gets into the main part of your house, it may be very upsetting to some people. If you keep a cool head, you can remove the uninvited guest without any injury to you or the animal. The main reason for any concern is if you have very young children or an incapacitated adult in the house that could have possibly been bitten but are unable to communicate that to you. Bats do not carry rabies in any higher numbers than any other animals, but their bite is so small it could easily go undetected. 
  • When the bat settles, put on heavy gloves, take an empty coffee can or other container, and carefully pin the bat into the can against the wall. Slip the lid or a folder in between the wall and the container while taking care not to hurt the bat. If it is uninjured, the bat can be released outside between the months of May and September if the weather is above freezing. In all other circumstances, the you should bring the bat to NN so that it can be kept until warmer weather.
  • Bats are nocturnal creatures. If a bat is inside the house it can be induced to leave in the evening if a window is left open and the lights are on outside the building. An untrue myth, bats do not fly into people’s hair.


IN AN ATTIC:

  • Bats can enter buildings through holes as small as a dime.
  • If you simply know you have bats in the attic, there is a very simple exclusion device that will allow them to leave and not return. It is important not to use this device at the time of year when they may have babies in the attic. Call Nature’s Nursery with the specifics and we can talk you through the situation.
  • Sick bats should always be brought in to be tested for rabies. Do not handle the bat or allow anyone else to handle it. 
  • In general, make sure to document the exact location of where the animal was found, some species of reptiles have a specific territory range they live in, and will need to be returned to that area if possible after care.

TURTLES

  • Hit by car or man made object:
    • call a rehabber asap, the sooner we can address the injury increases the success of healing.
  • Turtle in the road:
    • Move the turtle in the direction it was going. Do not put it back on the side it was coming from, it will try to cross again- it knows where it is going and will turn around to keep heading that way.
  • There is a snapping turtle in my pond!
    • Is he injured? If not he is probably fine and you can leave him be. Chances are he will not stay there for long and will move on; he’s most likely been living there for a long while and you just now noticed him! If he is injured, you can give us a call for further instruction

SNAKES

  • Snake caught in a sticky trap, string, mesh, etc. :
    • Contain the animal safely without coming in contact, and contact your wildlife Rehabilitator right away. These injuries can be life threatening and need immediate attention from trained rehabilitators especially if it is in a sticky trap. Sometimes removing the animal can be even more harmful than the initial incident

AMPHIBIANS

  • Please make sure that when handling any amphibian you wash your hands before touching it as its skin is permeable and toxins can penetrate it easily. Do not handle it if you have hand sanitizer, lotion, bug spray, sunscreen or other products on hands. Please place it into a container and then wash your hands. If it is not injured, leave it be. It does not need help unless it has been attacked by an animal or looks to have a sickness or injury.
  • If you have found an injured or orphaned groundhog(s) please contact Nature’s Nursery.  
  • The best way to remove a groundhog is by sprinkling red pepper flakes (or other hot spices) around the den that it is living. This does not harm the animal and it will choose to live elsewhere if it is uncomfortable.
  • There are many laws involved if you trap an animal. It must be released elsewhere on your property, it must be released within 24 hours, if it is euthanized by a nuisance trapper and later you find its babies, they must also be euthanized. Refer to the Trapping section in this document under general information for more information about Trapping animals.
  • Another option is adding predator urine to the surrounding area. This can be purchased at hunting supply stores such as Bass Pro.

INJURED OPOSSUMS

  • Shovel or herd the injured opossum into a garbage can with a locking lid or into a pet carrier, and bring to NN. Opossums have 50 teeth, so do not pick up the opossum. Opossums can reach around and bite if picked up by the tail, so do not do so. You should wear a jacket and heavy leather gloves when rescuing an opossum. Opossums rarely carry disease but can bite.


DEAD OPOSSUM WITH BABIES

  • If an opossum is dead with young in her pouch, either pull the young from the pouch or to scoop the dead opossum into a box with the young in the pouch, and to call us immediately to bring it in. Supplemental heat (hot water bottles) are helpful.
  • Opossums do occasionally drop their young. If a young opossum is eight inches long (not counting the tail) it is on its own. If it is smaller, it may need to be rescued. It may be helpful to send in a photo to help determine age.
  • Young opossums do not have a suckling reflex like other mammals. As marsupials, they attach themselves to a thin nipple and do not release until they are old enough to leave the pouch. NN uses special methods to feed young opossums since they will starve if bottle fed. Please do not try to feed/raise them on your own; not only is it illegal for you to possess the opossum, you will not be able to properly feed it.


NUISANCE OPOSSUMS

  • Many people mistakenly equate opossums with rats and so wish to destroy or remove them even when they are doing no harm. The harmless opossum residing in the area can be replaced by something worse if it is removed (like a raccoon or skunk). They are beneficial animals that eat thousands of ticks and don’t harbor diseases, and are nomads so they are on the move to find food most of the time. If you still want to be rid of an opossum read below.
  • Remove all food sources—bring in pet food dishes, keep garbage indoors until pick-up day, remove bird feeders ect. 
  • In an attic or building –place ammonia- soaked rags, play loud music, run a fan, and/or shine a bright light in the opossum’s sleeping area. Since opossum sleep in the day, use these methods during the day. Once the opossum has gone, the entry hole should be immediately sealed.
  • If opossums are found in a structure such as a garage in the daytime, the homeowner should leave the door open in the evening and the animal will leave. Close the door after it leaves. Opossums are also omnivorous, and are attracted to almost any type of food—like cat food!

GOOSE/DUCK NEAR WATER WITH INJURED WING

  • When a waterbird makes it to a water source, it is almost impossible to catch. They are made for swimming and will get away quickly. Your best luck in this situation in order to help the bird is to contact someone with a boat who can use a net to catch it. Nature’s Nursery does not own any boats to assist with water rescues. You can also watch and wait for it to go on land and then block its access to water; they are much slower and more awkward on land.

GOOSE/DUCK WITH INJURED LEG

  • These animals are nearly impossible to catch unless they are incredibly fatigued. The birds are still able to fly and will fly away before you even can get close enough to attempt to catch it.

A DUCK NEST

  • They lay 1 egg daily for up to 14 days. Ducks do not incubate their eggs until they have laid the full clutch and she may not sit on the nest until she is finished laying her eggs. Incubation lasts up to 30 days. As soon as all ducklings are dry, the mother duck leads them to the nearest pond or water source which can be over a mile away. Do not put food or water out for her as it will attract predators. 
  • Once the babies arrive, don’t try to get involved by catching them up to prevent them from crossing busy streets. The mother has a plan, and the most you should do is follow from a comfortable distance and help her to watch out for possible hazards, such as busy intersections, storm sewer grates, etc. Don’t try to get directly involved or the mother may fly away, making the situation worse.
  • If the family needs assistance in reaching the water you can place the ducklings in an open box and walk them to the pond and put them in the water. As long as mother keeps visual and auditory contact with her young she will probably follow the person carrying the box to the water. But let the mother take control.

DUCKLINGS FELL IN SEWER

  • Call the city to get them to remove the grate if unable to do it.
  • Collect all ducklings into a box, DO NOT return them to the mother, she could leave before all the babies are collected. If there is a closeby water source, you can keep the ducklings in an open box and walk them to the pond or the closest water source and put them in the water. As long as mother keeps visual and auditory contact with her young she will probably follow the person carrying the box to the water. But let the mother take control. If there is no closeby water source that you can see, let the babies go while making sure they do not end up in the sewer again.

INJURED BIRDS OF PREY

  • Birds of prey can be very dangerous to humans and small pets. If you find a bird of prey that appears sick or injured please call  Nature’s Nursery for specific advice and in many cases we will need to get a trained volunteer to get the animal.

HAWK/EAGLE JUST HOPPING AND NOT FLYING

  • When Birds of Prey (like hawks and eagles) catch their food they do something called “mantling.” They will have their wings slightly out and hunch over their food, almost like they are protecting it from other animals that may want to steal it from them. If the bird is still in that location hours later, chances are it may need our help. Please give us a call before going out after any Bird of Prey.

More questions? Review our general animal guide on injured, ill or orphaned animals.