Rescue Advice

RESCUE ADVICE

Found an injured or orphaned animal? Please consult this page and our animal-specific advice, then call our rehabilitators at the Sanctuary at 434-263-4954 or 434-962-7429. If you are unable to reach us, call the Wildlife Center of Virginia at 540-942-9453.

ORPHANED ANIMALS

Many baby animals brought to wildlife sanctuaries are not really “orphans” in need of rescuing. They are often still in the care of their parents, or at a stage in life where they are ready to live on their own. Often the best care you can give a young animal is to leave it alone. If you are unsure about whether an animal needs help, please call. For most orphaned animals who do require assistance, we recommend for you to:

  • Call the Sanctuary to discuss the situation
  • Wear heavy gloves if you need to touch the animal.
  • Place the orphaned animal in a small, cloth-lined container or box with both privacy and ventilation.
  • Keep the orphaned animal warm with a heat pad or water bottle filled with warm water (make sure the heat source is not directly on the animal).
  • Do not attempt to feed any orphaned animal anything until you have been advised by a professional.
  • Always wash your hands well after handling animals. Soap and water for at least 30 seconds.

INJURED ANIMALS

If you find an injured animal, please call us immediately. Injured wild animals require expert care and not every veterinarian is equipped to deal with the particular needs of different species. By calling the Sanctuary or the Wildlife Center of Virginia, you ensure that the animal you’ve found will receive the best possible care. For most injured animals who do require assistance, we recommend:

  • Call the Sanctuary to discuss the situation
  • Wear heavy gloves if you need to touch the animal.
  • Place the animal in a small, cloth-lined container or box with both privacy and ventilation.
  • Keep the animal warm with a heat pad or water bottle filled with warm water (make sure the heat source is not directly on the animal).
  • Do not attempt to feed any animal anything until you have been advised by a professional.
  • Do not attempt to treat the animal’s wounds.
  • Always wash your hands well after handling animals. Soap and water for at least 30 seconds.

STAYING SAFE IN AN ANIMAL ENCOUNTER

Wild animals and humans aren’t always a great mix. Whenever you encounter a wild animal, wear heavy gloves and protect your skin. Be especially careful with high-risk rabies species: raccoons, skunks, foxes, bats, and groundhogs, along with other mammals, are at risk for this dangerous disease. Always call an expert before handling a wild animal.

It can be tempting to care for found animals, but we can give them the proper care they need before releasing them into the wild where they belong. Don’t put an animal (or your home) at risk! Call a Sanctuary and help protect the animal you’ve found.

ANIMAL-SPECIFIC INSTRUCTIONS

BIRD

BIRD

FOX

FOX

GROUNDHOG

GROUNDHOG

OPOSSUM

OPOSSUM

RABBIT

RABBIT

RACCOON

RACCOON

SKUNK

SKUNK

SQUIRREL

SQUIRREL

EASTERN BOX TURTLE

EASTERN BOX TURTLE

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Rockfish Wildlife Sanctuary is a 501(c)3 organization.