DFW WILDLIFE HOTLINE | AVAILABLE 7 A.M. – 10 P.M. DAILY – 972-234-9453 (WILD)
If you have found a wild animal that you believe to be rabid, call animal control immediately at 972-771-7750 ext. 3 or the police department.
Please note that neither the Rockwall Adoption Center or Rockwall Animal Control are certified to care for and/or rehabilitate injured or orphaned wildlife. Local resources for orphaned and/or injured wildlife include Crosstimbers Wildlife, Rogers Wildlife Rehabilitation Center, or Spiritual Wildlife Rescue.
What do I do if I have found orphaned wildlife?
Baby Opossums: These guys stay in mom’s pouch until 3 months of age & the size of a mouse. If they are found alone and smaller than 7 inches long (not including tail) then they need a wildlife specialist.
Baby Bunnies: A nest of uninjured bunnies found intact is normal, mom only visit 2-3 times daily. They are able to survive on their own at 3 weeks of age and at that stage they fit in the palm of your hand. These babies should be left alone or moved to an area outside of your yard. If you believe they are younger than 3 weeks of age and orphaned, place an X made of sticks or yarn over the nest. If it is undisturbed for 12+ hours, or you are not able to move the nest outside of your fenced area to protect from pets in your home injuring them, contact a wildlife specialist. Click HERE for more information about baby bunnies who live in the wild.
Baby Raccoons: Mothers closely supervise their young. If a baby is seen by itself for more than a few hours, it is likely lost. If you are certain a few hours has passed without mom, call a wildlife specialist.
Baby Skunks: Skunks are near sighted and follow their mother nose to tail. At times they lose sight of them if a car or animal scatters them. If a few hours has passed without mom, call a wildlife specialist.
Baby Ducks: If you know what pond the duck came from, return it to rejoin it’s family. If he was left behind and origin is unknown (found in a drain, ect) place an upside down laundry basket over him to see if mom returns upon seeing him. If mom does not return in a few hours, contact a wildlife specialist.
Baby Squirrel: If tree work was recently done, give mom a chance to come back to retrieve her baby assuming he is uninjured. Do not cover him with a blanket or put in a box as mom will not find him. Put him in a wicker basket or something similar and attach to the tree in which he came from, as high and safely as you can place it. The baby squirrel must be in the immediate vicinity of where he fell, or mom will not find him. If it is cold or the baby doesn’t have much fur, he will need a heat source, such as a hot water bottle or hand warmer. Always place a piece of fabric between the animals and heat source. Give mom an entire day to retrieve her young. It may take her that long to find him or make a new nest. Do not feed the baby because they have a specialized diet, but their screaming for hunger helps mom find them. If the baby isn’t retrieved by dark, or is trying to crawl up a person or following people, call a wildlife specialist.
Baby Birds: Put the birds back in the nest if possible – it is a myth that the mom won’t come back if the babies are touched. If it is unreachable or destroyed, put in something like a wicker basket and secure it close to where the original nest was. The basket should not be more than 4” deep, as mom will not jump into something she cannot see out of. Watch carefully to see if mom has returned as birds are quite secretive. Fecal deposits are a sign that birds are being fed. If no return from mom, call a wildlife specialist. If the bird can’t fly and has short, full feathers, he’s a fledgling who has left the nest before he could fly. This is normal. They will spend a number of days on the ground being fed by parents. If the feces around him are white/gray, he is being fed by parents since they defecate after being fed. Monitor closely and you are likely to see parents return. If no return, contact wildlife specialist. You can also read this article for helpful info.
If a coyote is in your neighborhood
If you spot a coyote in your neighborhood, relax: Most coyotes avoid people. “Seeing a coyote out during the day is not a cause for alarm, especially in the spring and summer when they’re looking for food for their pups,” says Lynsey White, HSUS director of humane wildlife conflict resolution.
If a coyote displays no fear of people, he’s probably been fed. You can reinstill his fear by raising your arms and yelling to drive him away. This is called hazing. Unlike trapping, which sometimes catches pets or other wildlife but rarely the coyotes who are causing problems, hazing works.
Coyotes may mistake small, unattended pets as prey or attack large dogs they view as threats to territory or dens. To keep your animals safe, take two simple steps:
- Watch your pets. Keep cats indoors, and never leave small dogs outside unsupervised or let any dog out of your yard off leash.
- Secure food sources. Store garbage in wildlife-proof containers and feed pets indoors.
If coyotes are a problem in your community
Residents of Riverside, Illinois, started seeing coyotes around the village and soon some even lost pets.
There were calls to kill coyotes, and trappers contacted the village looking for business. But instead, in 2014 Riverside became the first community in the country to adopt an HSUS plan that uses non-lethal methods to keep communities safe: hazing bold coyotes and teaching residents to protect their pets and remove food sources.
This is more effective than trapping, which has to be repeated again and again, at great expense, and usually doesn’t catch the coyotes causing problems. The more coyotes are killed, the more they reproduce. Says White, “It doesn’t matter how many are trapped, there will always be coyotes in urban areas.”
In the first months after Riverside adopted the HSUS plan, coyote attacks on pets—and calls for coyotes to be trapped—stopped. They’re not likely to resume, White says. “Hazing changes coyote behavior and teaches them to avoid people and neighborhoods.”