BC SPCA Wild Animal Rehabilitation Centre (Wild ARC) Donate Volunteer Contact

Location and contact information
1020 Malloch Road
Victoria, B.C.
V9C 4G9
(250) 478-9453 (WILD)

How to help an injured animal

Capturing an injured wild animal can be stressful to the animal and to you. Find out how to protect yourself and the animal during the containment process.

To capture and confine a wild animal in distress:

  • Do not handle any wild animal if doing so risks your safety or the safety of others. If you are injured, you cannot help the animal. When in doubt, do not attempt capture, and call a wildlife rehabilitation centre for advice.

  • Use a towel to cover the animal's head to calm it down and reduce shock.

  • Do not handle or pet the wild animal. Rather than being a source of comfort, this just creates more stress and may lead to deeper shock - many wild animals in shock in fact look like they are resting. Keep a safe distance from the animal, and do what you can to protect it from harassment by pets or other people.

  • Wear gloves and protective eyewear for long-billed birds.

  • Do not offer the animal food or water, and do not leave food or water in the box with the animal. Because the animal has not been medically examined, it is impossible to know the exact extent of its injuries. Feeding the animal or forcing it to drink water at this point could cause death. As with humans, hospitalized animals need to be very gradually rehydrated and fed using special formulas and techniques. Wild animals have specific dietary requirements that are unique to each species - feeding the wrong food can greatly impact the animal's health.

  • Prepare a well-ventilated, covered box of appropriate size by lining it with something absorbent, like newspaper or clean cloths (without holes or ragged or fringed edges). If you have no other alternative, wrap the animal in a towel or sweatshirt for immediate transport to a wildlife rehabilitation centre, or until a suitable box can be acquired from a nearby home or store.

  • Place the box in a safe, quiet, dark place that is free from noise and pet and human traffic. If the animal is not yet fully furred or feathered, or has become wet, place a heating pad set on the lowest temperature, underneath half of the box. This allows the animal some room to move away from the heat if it gets too warm.

  • Do not attempt to treat the animal's injuries. The best treatment possible is to leave the animal as is until it can be transported to a wildlife rehabilitation facility. Additional handling causes stress, and improper treatment can cause further injury. One exception is if the animal is bleeding excessively. If this is the case, simply apply gentle pressure to the wound to stop the bleeding. Do not apply a tourniquet of any kind.

  • Wash your hands immediately after containing the animal, as many wild animals can transmit diseases to you, your children, and your pets.

  • Do not attempt to rehabilitate the wild animal on your own. Each animal has nutritional and care needs that are highly specific to its species. Call a licensed wildlife rehabilitation facility to arrange to drop off the animal.


Feedback Give us your feedback      printer-friendly version Printer Friendly version      Tell a Friend     

Join the conversation; follow us online: