Reuniting healthy babies with their parents is a priority for wildlife rehabilitators. The species specific information below will guide you through the steps of reuniting baby animals with their parents. Please read and follow the instructions carefully, and if the reuniting is unsuccessful, please call Dane County Humane Society’s Wildlife Center at (608) 287-3235, or your local wildlife rehabilitator for further assistance.
Determine if the baby is healthy enough to be reunited with their parents
Reuniting should only be attempted with healthy babies. Below are some signs that a baby needs to be seen by a wildlife rehabilitator and reuniting should not be attempted:
- Bleeding wounds, bruising or broken bones
- Animal is surrounded by or covered with a large number of insects (flies, maggots, mites, fleas, ticks, etc.)
- Fly eggs are present on animal's fur (fly eggs look like tiny, white grains of rice)
- The animal is cold, limp or unresponsive
- The animal was injured by a cat, dog or other predator
- A young animal is repeatedly approaching or following people or pets
- The animal has been vocalizing for an extended period of time
- The parent is known to be dead or no longer available
If you note any of the above signs or you’re not sure if the babies are healthy enough for reuniting, please contact your local wildlife rehabilitator for further advice before attempting to reunite. Snapping a quick photo of the babies with your cell phone is a good way to help a rehabilitator assess the baby’s condition.
Before reuniting healthy babies of any species
- Please do not offer any food or water to the babies - doing so can have deadly consequences
- The babies see you as a predator – please do not play with or excessively handle them
- A mother will not abandon her babies because you touched them. While it is advisable to handle them as little as possible, and to wear gloves while doing so, you can rest assured that mom will return to retrieve her little ones if she is able
- A baby’s best chance for survival is with the care of its mother - reuniting is the right thing to do
Learn more about reuniting babies of each species
Incorrect identification of species or age of animal may cause unintentional kidnapping, or delayed or improper care. Please call DCHS's Wildlife Center for assistance with which reunite document is appropriate to your situation.