If you are unsure if an animal needs assistance, use the following flow chart for guidance:
Information and Resources About Injured or Orphaned Wildlife
Click on a Species for More Information
It is illegal to possess, trap, destroy or relocate a wild animal without a permit. If you have found an animal in need of care or have a conflict with a wild animal, contact a wildlife rehabilitator in your area for help. For a list of licensed rehabilitators in Illinois, visit the Department of Natural Resources website and search by county.
Injured, sick, and orphaned wild animals will need to be trapped for transport to a licensed rehabilitator. If the animal is small enough or safe to handle, an inexperienced person can use gloves and a towel, blanket, net or box to catch the animal and place it in a secure container. It is important to keep the animal in a warm, dark and quiet place to reduce the stress of capture. Do not feed the animal. Feeding an injured or sick animal can cause severe and even life-threatening complications. Instead, bring the animal to a rehabilitator as soon as possible so it can be properly examined and treated. If the animal is too large, active or dangerous to handle, call a rehabilitator for help.
Do not approach a wild animal unless you are comfortable doing so, know how to handle it and understand its defenses. All wild animals can be dangerous- even those that appear harmless or severely debilitated. An animal that bites someone may need to be euthanized for rabies testing, so take proper precautions for your own sake as well as the animal’s.