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What to Do If You Find a Baby Animal in Your Yard

Jun 23, 2024

Spring and summer in Northern Illinois often bring delightful surprises, including the sight of baby animals in our backyards. While these encounters can be enchanting, it’s crucial to know how to handle them properly to ensure the safety and well-being of both the animals and yourself. Here’s a guide on what to do if you find a baby animal in your yard.

Assess the Situation

1. Observe from a Distance: When you first spot a baby animal, observe it from a safe distance. Resist the urge to approach or touch it immediately. Many baby animals, especially mammals, are often left alone for short periods while their mothers forage for food.

2. Look for Signs of Injury or Distress: If the animal appears injured, weak, or in distress (such as continuous crying or an inability to move), it may need assistance. However, if it looks healthy and is in a safe location, it’s best to leave it alone as its mother is likely nearby.

Identify the Animal t0 Know the Species

Different species require different approaches. Here are some common baby animals you might encounter and what to do for each:


Nestlings (featherless or sparsely feathered): If you find a nestling on the ground, look for its nest and gently place it back if possible. Birds have a poor sense of smell, so handling the baby won’t cause rejection by the parents.

Fledglings (fully or mostly feathered): These young birds are often found hopping on the ground as they learn to fly. It’s best to leave them alone; their parents are likely nearby watching and feeding them.


Rabbits: If you find a nest of baby rabbits (often shallow and covered with fur and grass), leave them alone. The mother visits the nest only a few times a day to avoid attracting predators.

Squirrels: If a baby squirrel has fallen from its nest, watch for the mother to retrieve it. If she doesn’t return within a few hours, contact a wildlife rehabilitator.

When to Intervene

1. Contact a Wildlife Professional: If the baby animal appears injured, orphaned, or in immediate danger, contact a local wildlife removal service. They have the expertise to handle and care for the animal properly.

2. Avoid Feeding or Giving Water: Feeding a baby animal the wrong food or giving it water can be harmful. Leave this to professionals who understand the dietary needs of different species.

Preventing Future Encounters

1. Secure Your Yard: To prevent future wildlife encounters, ensure your yard is secure. Close off any potential entry points to attics, garages, and sheds, and keep trash bins sealed to avoid attracting animals.

2. Educate Yourself and Neighbors: Share knowledge about local wildlife and appropriate actions to take when encountering baby animals. This helps create a community that respects and safely coexists with wildlife.

Encountering a baby animal in your yard can be a heartwarming experience, but it’s important to act responsibly. By observing from a distance, identifying the species, and knowing when to contact a professional, you can ensure the safety and well-being of both the animal and yourself. Remember, in many cases, the best course of action is to let nature take its course. If in doubt, always reach out to a wildlife expert for guidance.

For peace of mind and expert care, contact us today and let us handle your wildlife concerns responsibly.

We are available 24 hours a day, so contact us anytime at 224-431-7956. And to make sure you rest easy; our work is guaranteed by a renewable one-year warranty after the work is completed. For daily tips and information on keeping your home wildlife free, visit us on FacebookInstagram, or Twitter.