Is 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 Myself?

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 Information

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 explored.

What Can I Do To Prevent Wildlife Orphans?

-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 wildlife.

-Most importantly, if you see wildlife in it's natural environment... LEAVE IT ALONE!