Information About Injured or Orphaned Wildlife

When you come across an animal that you believe is injured or orphaned, you are concerned for its well-being, but you may not know what to do. This page will provide some guidance.

It is illegal to keep most types of wildlife under federal and state laws. However, officials allow a private citizen, acting in good faith, to rescue an injured or orphaned animal and transport it promptly to a licensed facility for appropriate care.
You should bring the injured wildlife to the Wildcat Creek Wildlife Center because...
We have the proper foods, housing, medications, time and expertise to rehabilitate wildlife. Our goal is always to release them back into the wild - we know how to care for their needs and prepare them to survive in their natural habitats.

We volunteer our professional and humane care for the animals. Then we go a step beyond to educate the public about our activities, the animals' natural history, humane and non-lethal resolutions to conflicts between humans and wildlife, and environmental awareness.

Our services are FREE to the community because we care about the health of the Indiana ecosystem and the animals that call it home. (We are funded solely by private donations; see our Donations page).

We hold the necessary permits from the Indiana Department of Natural Resources and the US Fish and Wildlife Service and comply with all state and federal regulations governing wildlife rehabilitation.


1. Determine if the Animal is Injured or Orphaned

Many times, an animal appears to be injured or orphaned when it is not. The Humane Society of the United States provides directions for determining if an animal is orphaned or injured (click here). If you have any questions, contact us before you intervene!

Here we provide species-specific and natural history oriented advice for determining if an animal is orphaned or injured.



  • Anytime the mother is killed, the young are orphaned and need care. It is rare for a male species to feed the young.
  • Cat and dog attacks always need treatment.

2. Don't Take Risks (when trying to handle wildlife)!

Any injured or orphaned wildlife can and may bite, scratch, and claw to avoid rescue! Wild animals see us as a natural threat, no matter how good your intentions.

3. Take Note of the Surrounding Area (before calling us)

The animal will likely move before you (or another rescuer) return to where it was found, so please note landmarks (such as a house address, the edge of a road, a field, the foot of a tree or building, or a nearby pond or stream) to help relocate the animal.

4. Contact us and the Volunteers Will Instruct You How and Where to Take the Animal

We attempt to return the animal to its mother whenever possible because she provides the best nutrition and care for her babies, but sometimes an animal needs to come to the center for care and treatment. Regardless, the sooner proper nutrition, stabilization and safe housing are provided for the animal, the better its chances are for release back to the wild.

5. DO NOT offer Food or Water Unless Instructed to do so!

6. Consider the Anatomy of the Animal Before Transporting.

  • To transport small animals, use paper bags with shredded paper or a small towel on the bottom. Do not use wire cages for birds since stress damage to feathers and tissues is certain to occur.
  • To transport medium size animals, use a cat carrier or a box. For large or adult mammals, a trash can or laundry basket may be used.
  • To transport snakes or turtles, a cooler or a small aquarium is appropriate

7. Consider Bringing a Donation (Monetary or Otherwise)

The Wildcat Creek Wildlife Center is funded entirely through donations from generous individuals like you! Though we greatly appreciate monetary help in caring for the wildlife of Indiana, you may also consider donating other items on our Wish List page.

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