Orphaned Wildlife

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Orphaned Wildlife

Orphaned wildlife would be wildlife such as raccoon, opossum, squirrel or rabbit that is too young to survive on its own but has been abandoned by its mother for 24 hours or more.  It's common to see baby wild animals outside during spring, as a new generation makes its way into the world. Baby wild animals might seem like they need our help, but unless the animal is truly orphaned or injured, there is no need to rescue them.

How can I help orphaned wildlife?

Residents can bring orphaned wildlife into SBARC if it has been abandoned for over 24 hours.  Animal Control Officers can pick up an injured wild animals Monday through Friday Between the hours of 9am and 4pm.  If a resident finds an injured wild animal outside of these times, they may contact SBARC's emergency line at (574)235-9303.

What should I do if I find baby rabbits?

Rabbits at least four inches long with open eyes and erect ears and who hop well are independent from their mother and should be allowed to fend for themselves. Uninjured baby rabbits in an intact nest should also be left alone. Although they might look abandoned because their mom isn’t around, mother rabbits visit their dependent young only a few times a day to avoid attracting predators. If the nest has been disturbed, lightly cover it with natural materials you find around the nest, like grass, fur or leaves and follow these steps:


  • Keep all pets out of the area.
  • Avoid touching the babies, because foreign smells may cause the mother to abandon their young.
  • Use yarn or string to make a tic-tac-toe pattern over the nest to assess whether the mother is returning to nurse their young. Check back 24 hours later.
  • If the yarn or string was moved aside, but the nest is still covered with fur, grass or leaves, the mother has returned to nurse the babies.
  • If the “X” remains undisturbed for 24 hours, contact 311.




311 Process Notes

For injured wildlife calls before or after SBARC hours, please contact the non-emergency number for the Police Department at 235-9201.