How To Tell If Baby Wildlife Is Truly Sick or Injured

Many wildlife babies are “kidnapped” by well-meaning members of the public who assume they are orphaned if no parent is seen nearby.  In the majority of these cases, the babies are not orphaned (learn more about identifying orphaned wildlife), the parents are nearby waiting to return when it is safe to do so.  Tufts Wildlife Clinic DOES NOT admit healthy baby wildlife.  If the parents are known to be dead and the baby appears to be otherwise healthy, please bring it to a wildlife rehabilitator.

Occasionally, wildlife babies may be sick or injured.  The following are indications that the baby may need medical attention:

Images of baby mammals

Baby Mammals

  • The baby is quiet, dull, the eyes may be closed and it is thin.
  • The fur may be unkempt and/or there may be obvious wounds.
  • Other abnormalities can include:
    • breathing problems
    • discharge from the eyes/nose
    • diarrhea
    • lameness or inability to stand
Images of baby birds

Baby Birds

  • The baby is quiet, dull, the eyes may be closed, and it has fluffed feathers (looks puffed up).
  • It may also have:
    • an obvious wound
    • breathing problems
    • a wing droop
    • show lameness or an inability to stand