Providing compassionate, rehabilitative care to orphaned, ill, and injured wild animals, and advising our community on helping wildlife.

Our Patients

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Second Chance provides care and rehabilitation to ill, injured, and orphaned wildlife — especially those that have been negatively affected by human activities — with the goal of returning them to the wild.

Each year, concerned citizens and animal services officers bring us about 3,000 wild animals: songbirds, raptors, waterfowl, squirrels, groundhogs, chipmunks, bats, rabbits, turtles, and a host of other native species.

Note: Second Chance Wildlife Center does not have a permit to work with beaver, raccoons, foxes, or deer and cannot accept these animals. We do not rehabilitate rats or mice, nor do we accept domestic species — dogs, cats or exotic pets; feral or stray cats; domestic ducks, chicken, or other livestock; or wild animals who have been kept captive for more than a week or so.  Please call your local animal shelter for help with these animals.

Wood DuckA Wood Duck admitted on December 10 was originally found badly injured in the outdoor tiger enclosure at the National Zoo. She had deep punctures and lacerations around her neck, which we believe were more likely to have been the result of a hawk attack, as opposed to a tiger attack. Our pro bono veterinarian, Dr. Klein, performed two separate surgeries to suture the duck’s torn esophagus and lacerated neck, and staff had to gavage (tube) feed her while her inner injuries were healing. She is currently fully healed and growing new feathers. We are looking forward to releasing her in the spring and will be searching for a spot where Wood Ducks congregate in the general vicinity of zoo.


HawkMontgomery County Animal Services also brought us a juvenile Red-tailed Hawk on January 15. Weak and easy to catch, this young lady was uninjured but extremely emaciated, a common occurrence with juvenile raptors this time of year. She weighed 30 percent less than she should have, and such a drop in body weight can cause serious organ damage. Our rehabilitators placed her on a three-times daily fluids and gavage feeding schedule in the hopes of “restarting” her digestive track. She has rebounded fantastically! The hawk has gained back half the weight she needs and has begun eating on her own. Once she is back to a normal weight, we will be scouting a suitable release site. Winter is hard on juvenile raptors; adults force them to live on the fringes of better hunting territories and not all first-year birds are able to find productive hunting grounds.
OpossumIn November 2014, an independent wildlife rehabilitator brought Second Chance a Virginia Opossum who had gotten stuck on a glue trap in Glen Burnie. His fur was completely covered in adhesive and the glue trap was still stuck on his back.  In an attempt to clean himself, the opossum had smeared adhesive all over his face. Even his ears were glued closed. We had to sedate him, shave off almost all of his fur, clean him thoroughly with warm oil, and then give him several baths before he woke up.  The entire process took four people two hours. Now the opossum is doing quite well, but he will have to spend the winter in our care as he grows his fur back.