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

Rescue Guidelines

The following general guidelines may help you decide if an animal needs to be brought to a rehabilitator.  For more detailed instructions, see our Guide to Rescuing Wildlife.



Any animal with visible injuries and/or bleeding.

Any animal that has been attacked by another animal, especially a cat.

Any animal that has been hit by a car, lawnmower or construction equipment.

Any animal that is swarming with flies and/or ants.

Cold or injured young that have fallen from their nest, or are lying out in the open.

Birds that have flown into a window and remain stunned or unable to fly after an hour.

Any animal tangled in netting, fishing line or stuck on a glue trap. DO NOT ATTEMPT TO REMOVE THE ANIMAL FROM THE GLUE TRAP. Cover any exposed area of the glue trap with paper towels and bring Second Chance the animal on the trap.

Any lone ducking or gosling.

Young animals that are approaching/following people or pets. Please use extreme caution.


Healthy fledglings – most of our native songbirds leave the nest before they are fully flighted, learning to fly from the ground while still be tending by their parents.

Re-nestable young – if a songbird has fallen from its nest and seems uninjured, try to put it back into its nest.

Uninjured rabbit kits – if you want to make sure the rabbit doe is visiting the nest (which only happens twice a day), place two pieces of string in an X over the nest and check back in 24 hours. If the string has been moved at all, you need not “rescue” the young.

Uninjured juvenile rabbits – Weaned rabbit kits are very small, about the size of a tennis ball, and are likely to freeze at your approach. If they appear uninjured, they can be left alone.

Uninjured juvenile opossums – Opossums are only about a foot long when they are weaned and are more likely to freeze at your approach than try to run. If they appear uninjured, they can be left alone.

Uninjured deer fawn – Does will leave their young fawns in a quiet spot for most of the day while she grazes nearby; the fawns will not flee from your approach. If there are no injuries or insects, they can be left alone.

Adult deer – Deer are extremely dangerous and should not be approached. Please call for advice.

Adult foxes, raccoons or skunks – Injured or sick adults should be reported to your local animal control agency.

Hatchling reptiles – Reptiles are independent from hatching and should be left alone.

Uninjured turtles – Uninjured turtles found in the road should simple be placed on the side of the road in the direction they were heading. Relocating the turtle to a new place is inadvisable for these highly territorial animals.


You can use a towel to drape over the animal for easier pick up.

You may want to wear gloves to protect yourself as injured animals may try to bite and scratch to defend themselves. They do not understand that you are trying to help; please keep all handling to a minimum.

Place a clean, non-frayed towel (or paper towel) on the bottom of a size-appropriate box (with secure lid!) or pet carrier.

DO NOT place any food or water in the transport container as it will end up all over the animal during transport.

Make sure the transport container is securely closed to prevent escapes en route to the rehabilitator.

Keep the car warm and quiet during transport; no loud radio or talking.

Remember to write down exactly where you found the animal.

Note: Please do not leave animals/birds at our door when we are not there. This is inhumane, and our residents raccoons and foxes generally find the animals before we do. 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.