Before you try to rescue an animal, find out if it really needs help

by WFSU Public Media

People in North Florida often come across wild animals, including some that are sick or hurt. Knowing what to do can be the difference between life and death for them.

Sandy Beck is a wildlife educator, long affiliated with St. Francis Wildlife Association. She says before you try to rescue an animal, find out if it really needs help.

“Because often, it doesn’t and what you’re doing is kidnapping a baby squirrel or a baby bunny,” she says.

There’s a common myth, for instance, that if a baby bird falls out of the nest, its mother won’t touch it. But Beck says wild animals are just as maternal as human beings.

“And a mama squirrel or a mama racoon or a mama owl – they want their baby back. And they don’t care if it smells like a stinky human.”

Beck says St. Francis Wildlife Association is available to give advice over the phone if anyone finds an animal they think may be in need of help. Injured animals can also be dropped off at Allied Veterinary Clinic or Northwood Animal Hospital, 24 hours a day.

I Found a Wild Animal | St. Francis Wildlife (

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