Injured, Sick or Orphaned Animals

DeerThe City encourages residents to report sick, injured or orphaned animals to the Police Department's Animal Control Unit. The following are tips to protect and care for animals you feel are in danger:

  • Handle all wild animals as little as possible, especially birds, ducklings and goslings. Do not give food or water to animals you intend to bring to a rehabilitation agency.
  • When you find an injured or ill adult wild animal, check to see if it may be nursing. If it appears to be a nursing mother, look for a nest or young in the area. Without help, the babies will starve.
  • Check animals that appear scruffy with hair loss, bald spots and sores, possible signs of mange. Mange can be treated if the animal is taken to a rehabilitation agency.

Tips for other wild animals that appear to be in danger:

Bats are timid and do not attack people, but they may bite if handled. Wear thick gloves or use a towel when handling them. Never place a bat outside when the temperature is below 50 degrees.

A baby bird that is fully feathered and hopping around should be left alone. Stay away for several hours to give the parents time to attend to it. If no parent bird comes, or if the baby appears to be injured or in danger from predators like crows, dogs or cats, bring it to a rehabilitation agency. If you find a baby bird on the ground with no feathers or visible bare skin between the feathers, warm the baby by gently holding it in your hands and look for a nest. Return the baby to its nest, if possible. If you can’t find the nest but know the parents are nearby, punch several holes in the bottom of a margarine tub, put grass and leaves in it, and attach it to the tree as far up from the ground as possible.

Newborn deer can be the size of a cat. Mothers leave their young during the day staying hidden a short distance away, then return at dusk. Fawns should not be moved unless they are in danger. If moving is necessary, the fawn should only be transported a short distance away (25 feet or less) so the mother can find it. The fawn should be handled as little as possible, but if necessary try to wrap it in a towel before moving. Keep people and animals away and do not feed it. If the fawn has not been moved by the mother within 24 hours, contact Animal Control. The mother may have been killed. Although Animal Control cannot rehabilitate the fawn, there are rehabilitation agencies that can.

Eden Prairie residents have reported several deer with three legs or a fourth that is unusable. These animals survived getting injured by a car or in other ways. Our Police Department may euthanize deer that are badly hurt and suffering; those that are eating, getting around and seemingly doing fine are left alone. If you are uncertain of the condition of a deer, please call Animal Control. They will observe the deer and make sure it is not suffering and able to survive.

Ducks and Geese
If you find an orphaned duck, never place it with another paddling of ducks. Mother ducks will not accept a baby from another mother, and will actually attempt to kill the orphaned duckling. You can bring the orphan to a rehabilitation agency. A mother goose, however, will accept and care for goslings from another mother. If you see a mother duck staying in one spot and appearing anxious, her ducklings might be in danger nearby. When rains are heavy, it’s not uncommon to find ducklings in sewer drains. Call Animal Control, and along with a Public Works employee, they will remove the drain cover and rescue the ducklings. On weekends and evenings when the water department is closed, call the City's Utilities Division which may dispatch an on-call employee.

Despite its name and long tail, a muskrat is not a rat but rather a smaller cousin of the beaver. Muskrats live in marshes, ponds and streams. They eat roots, stems, leaves and the fruits of water plants. You may see them eating grass along the side of the road.

The Mid-Minnesota Racing Pigeon Club races pigeons in Minnesota. Often these pigeons start their journeys in other states. They may stop in yards where there is seed and water to eat or rest for the night. Many are quite tame and will welcome spending a safe night in a garage before they continue their flight. If you find an injured pigeon, check for a metal band on its leg. Several agencies will help you locate the owner by the markings on the band. Check wildlife resources for contacts.

Rabbits build nests in small depressions in the ground, in areas of tall grass or right in the middle of a lawn. Babies stay in or near the nest for up to 28 days. Mothers leave the nest day and night to distract predators, returning at dusk and dawn to feed and clean the babies. Babies should not be moved from the nest unless they are in danger or injured. Keep people and animals away. If you believe the nest has been abandoned, place a few small sticks in an X pattern over the top of the nest. Check the sticks in the morning to see if they have been moved. If the sticks have not been moved and the bunnies are chilled or have parasites, you can assume they are orphaned and need to be brought to a rehabilitation agency. If you find a baby but no nest, it may have been dropped by a bird or other animal. With no nest or mother to care for it, the bunny will need to be taken to a rehabilitation agency.

Squirrels usually produce two litters a year, in spring and late summer. If a nest falls and the babies inside appear fat and healthy, keep people and pets away for several hours to allow the mother to retrieve them. If the mother doesn’t appear, keep them in a warm, safe place; never leave babies outside overnight. Bring orphaned babies to a rehabilitation agency.

In June, you may see turtles crossing the road or wandering through yards as they seek a sandy bank, field or lawn to lay eggs. Turtles can travel long distances during this time, persistent in their journey. If moved, they will return to their original route. Snapping turtles can be aggressive on land; people and animals should stay away. Once she reaches her destination, the turtle will lay her eggs and return home. If you find a snapping turtle in the road, use a shovel to move it to the side of the road they are heading toward.

Resources for Injured or Orphaned Wildlife