Posted by: Wild Instincts | June 2, 2020

They Helped It to Death

This is the time of year when many well-meaning people are finding many different species of wildlife babies…ducklings, squirrels, bunnies, birds, raccoons and especially fawns.

People decide to help their newfound wild friend by reaching out to find a wildlife rehabber because they realize this is a job for a professional.

A small percentage decide they don’t need no stinkin’ rehabber and they will proceed to try and help the animal themselves. After all Google will reveal all the secrets. Some think it will be a great lesson for their kids.

This is a very frustrating and heartbreaking event for rehabbers that happens almost daily this time of year.

If you come across a person in need of medical attention, even if it’s minor, you don’t take them home into your basement, garage or spare bedroom and start looking up what might be good to feed them to make them better. You call a medical professional! Think of wildlife rehabbers as wildlife paramedics.

If a child is wandering the street all alone, you call the authorities to help find their parents. Wildlife rehabbers are wildlife authorities.

Even though you have chickens or remember as a young child, Grandpa had a pet raccoon, the truth is, you are unlikely to be equipped to effectively help the animal you to which you are now attached.

Just because you dropper or tubed fed a litter of kittens, you will not have the special formulas. The incorrect formula(s) can cause death. Google doesn’t tell you that nor which ones are the worst of the worst. You will not have special enclosures. In addition, many of these animals carry diseases and parasites you or your pets can get.

You don’t know what you don’t know. Believe us when we say it is a tremendous amount.

You will not have decades of experience and knowledge of handling thousands of wild animals from hundreds of different species. What formulas at what stages of that species’ life, how often, how much are just a few of the things wildlife rehabbers know.

The lesson you will be teaching your child is that of death and heartbreak.

Rest assured, you will pass that heartbreak onto the rehabber you finally decide to contact at the end; when your wild charge can no longer endure the Googling and the inexperience.

The rehabber will spring into action and try all the tricks, use all the medical intervention that should have been given when the animal was first found a week ago. They will pour their heart, time and resources into the wild animal you care so much about because they care about it, too. Their heart will break when it turns out to be futile and the death you started ends in their arms.

This fawn was admitted today after a well-meaning person tried to help it. Even though the formula she was being fed said it was for fawns, she was slowly starved to death over a week’s time. The body condition score was 0.5-1.0.  She died in one of our intensive care units that controls temperature, humidity and oxygen about 30 minutes after admission.

Your wild animal should be given the best chance at the life it was supposed to live.

Please don’t help it to death. Help it to life.

Call a rehabber right away.


  1. exellent details that explain why to call trained person

  2. Keep up the good work Coonmom!

  3. On paper, “call a rehabber right away” is great. But I’ve spent hours on the phone trying to find one, more than once. Most don’t even call back, some return the call days later to say they’re full. Finding a rehabber that will take an animal needing care is really difficult.

    • Depending on where you are, that can be an issue. We answer the phone 24/7 and get calls from all over the country because other places aren’t answering their phones, etc. We are available for advice and guidance. A few years ago we were even contacted by someone in Sweden!
      In this case, though, it was not a lack of available rehab facility, it was simply thinking they could do it themselves.

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