Animal Humane Society will be closed on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day.

Overnight Care of Reptiles, Amphibians, and Turtles

Overnight care of reptiles, amphibians, and turtles

  • Safe environment Place the animal in a small waterproof container with adequate air holes for ventilation. For frogs, toads, or salamanders a warm moist washcloth should be placed in the enclosure for the animal to gain moisture from. For turtles a small amount of water can be added to keep just their feet moist. *If the turtle has a broken shell DO NOT give it any water please keep it completely dry. Snakes may be kept in a small container that they cannot escape from; a tied pillow case works best.
  • Reptiles have slow metabolisms and feeding them is not necessary for overnight care.
  • DO NOT give any medical treatment or medications, including flea sprays etc. Many medications that are safe for use in your pets or humans are not safe in wild animals and can have severe to life threatening adverse effects. DO NOT ATTEMPT TO REPAIR BROKEN SHELLS in any way! The method for repairing shells is very specific and “home repairs” result in the need to rebreak the shell for proper fixation. The best thing for the turtle is to keep it clean, dry, and indoors.
  • Get the animal to a licensed wildlife rehabilitator or facility as soon as possible in the morning. Injuries need professional medical attention as soon as possible to increase the likelihood of successful treatment. It is against the law and never in the animal’s best interest to keep or raise wildlife without the proper permits and education.
  • Wear gloves and always wash hands thoroughly after handling a wild animal.

Overnight Care of Orphaned Ducks and Geese

Overnight care of orphaned ducks and geese

  • Safe environment Place the animal(s) in a small covered cardboard box or plastic carrier with plenty of air holes for ventilation. Use soft bedding such as towels or old t-shirts. Do not use grass clippings, wood chips/shaving, newspaper or paper towels; these types of bedding become damp very quickly which can lead to hypothermia. Keep the box inside in a quiet, dark area away from pets and people. Handle the animal as little as possible; even young wild animals get stressed by captivity and over handling. Change the bedding if it gets wet. If the duckling(s) are jumping a lot put them in a shallower box (such as a shoe box) with lid so they cannot jump themselves to exhaustion; do not use a pet carrier or aquarium for these types of ducklings. 
  • Provide a heat source Infant birds cannot regulate their own body temperatures adequately and are susceptible to hypothermia. You can place a heating pad set to LOW under half of the box. If you do not have a heating pad you can fill a bottle with hot water, cover it with a barrier (towel) and place it inside the box. Water bottles will need to be checked frequently for loss of heat over time. It is important for the animal to be able to move close to or away from the heat source.
  • A very shallow dish (peanut butter lid, etc.) of water can be placed into enclosure for drinking purposes. Do NOT let them swim or get wet! They are reliant on their mothers for waterproofing and heat and can die from hypothermia if allowed to swim.
  • Commercially available duck/goose starter can be offered for food in a shallow dish. Other temporary alternatives for overnight only are crushed up Cheerios, bland hard cereal or cornmeal. Do NOT give bread, seeds/corn, chips, popcorn, etc. If fed inappropriate things young waterfowl are susceptible to getting an intestinal blockage.
  • Get the animal to a licensed wildlife rehabilitator or facility as soon as possible in the morning. It is against the law and not in the animal’s best interest to keep or raise wildlife without the proper permits and education.
  • Always wash your hands thoroughly after handling a wild animal. 

Overnight care of orphaned songbirds

Overnight care of orphaned songbirds

  • Safe environment Place the animal(s) in a small cardboard box or plastic container with plenty of small air holes for ventilation. Use soft bedding such as towels or old t-shirts. A mock nest can be set with up with a small Tupperware container with paper towels inside. Do not use grass clippings or wood chips/shavings. Change the bedding immediately if it gets soiled. Keep the box inside in a quiet, dark area away from pets and people. Handle the animal as little as possible even young wild animals can get stressed by captivity and over handling. 
  • Provide a heat source Infant birds cannot regulate their own body temperatures adequately and are susceptible to hypothermia. Place a heating pad set to LOW under half of the box/nest. If you do not have a heating pad you can fill a bottle with hot water, cover it with a barrier (towel) and place it inside the box and next to the nest. Water bottles will need to be checked frequently for loss of heat over time.  It is important for the animal to be able to move close to or away from the heat source. 
  • We prefer animals to be assessed by a wildlife professional first before any oral fluids are offered but we understand this recommendation is difficult to follow overnight. Songbirds have a higher metabolism than other species and need nutrients more frequently, about every half to one hour, however the bird(s) must be rehydrated first before complex nutrients are offered. The first few feedings should consist only of warmed water or Pedialyte. Afterwards diluted commercially available baby bird formulas, lactose-free protein drinks (such as vanilla Muscle Milk) or canned dog or cat food (or dry food soaked in water to soften) may be offered.  Do not feed seeds/nuts, bread, milk, or any other homemade recipes. Infant songbirds have tiny digestive tracts that can easily get blocked if they are fed inappropriate things. In birds the risk of aspiration (getting fluid into the lungs) is very high and we recommend only attempting to feed if you have a small 1cc or less syringe (no needle) or eyedropper. The opening to a bird’s airway is on the bottom of their mouth behind the tongue (visible if bird has mouth open wide). It is very important that nothing gets into that opening and into their lungs or respiratory tract which can cause life threatening complications. Only one drop at a time should be offered and the animal must be warm before feeding the body cannot function properly in a state of hypothermia. You can also drip water off the end of your finger if you do not have any supplies available to you.
  • Get the animal to a licensed wildlife rehabilitator or facility as soon as possible in the morning. It is against the law and not in the animal’s best interest to keep or raise wildlife without the proper permits and education.
  • Always wash hands thoroughly after handling any wild animal. 

Overnight care of orphaned mammals

Overnight care of orphaned mammals

  • Safe environment Place the animal(s) in a small cardboard box or plastic carrier with plenty of small air holes for ventilation. Use soft bedding such as towels, old t-shirts, or paper towels. Do not use grass clippings or wood chips/shaving. Keep the box in a quiet, dark area away from pets and people. Handle the animal as little as possible even young wild animals get stressed by captivity and over handling. 
  • Provide a heat source Infant mammals cannot regulate their own body temperatures adequately and are susceptible to hypothermia. Place a heating pad set to LOW under half of the box. If you do not have a heating pad you can fill a bottle with hot water, cover it with a barrier (towel) and place it inside the box. Water bottles will need to be checked frequently for loss of heat over time. It is important for the animal to be able to move close to or away from the heat source. 
  • We prefer animals to be assessed by a wildlife professional first before any oral fluids are offered but we understand this recommendation is difficult to follow. If you are going to feed the animal, it is vitally important to offer ONLY rehydration fluids (water, Pediatlyte, Gatorade) and NOT milk, formula, or other home-made recipes of any kind. It is very important the animal is rehydrated first before complex nutrients are added into their diet for medical reasons. Switching from mother’s milk to other formulas too quickly can cause diarrhea or other complications that decrease the animals’ chance for successful rehabilitation. In infants the risk of aspiration (getting fluid into the lungs) is very high and we recommend only attempting to feed an animal if you have a small 1cc or less syringe (no needle) or eyedropper. Only one drop at a time should be offered and the animal must be warm before feeding the body cannot function properly in a state of hypothermia. A small bottle with nipple can be used for raccoons and fawns. All liquids should also be warmed before feeding.
  • Get the animal to a licensed wildlife rehabilitator or facility as soon as possible in the morning. It is against the law and not in the animal’s best interest to keep or raise wildlife without the proper permits and education.
  • Always wear gloves and wash hands thoroughly after handling a wild animal. Wild animals can carry parasites that can also infect humans. Raccoons commonly carry an intestinal roundworm, baylisascaris, which can be very harmful to humans.

Overnight care of injured adult waterfowl

Overnight care of injured adult waterfowl

  • Safe environment Place the animal(s) in a cardboard box or plastic carrier with plenty of air holes for ventilation. Use soft bedding such as towels, old t-shirts, or you can line the bottom with newspaper for adults. Do not use grass clippings or wood chips/shaving.  Keep the box inside in a quiet, dark area away from pets and people. Handle the animal as little as possible wild animals can easily get stressed by captivity and over handling. 
  • A bowl of water can be placed inside the enclosure. Most wild animals are much too stressed initially to eat or drink so placing food in the enclosure is not necessary. However, if you feel you must offer food, cracked corn, duck/goose grower (available at farm and garden stores), or insects (not bees/wasps) may be offered. Bread can also be offered however it has little nutritional value. Do NOT feed whole kernel corn or other large seeds (sunflower) or nuts as this can lead to a crop impaction (blockage). Seagulls may be offered canned dog or cat food or dry food soaked in water to soften.
  • DO NOT give any medical treatment or medications, including flea sprays etc. Many medications that are safe for use in your pets or humans are not safe in wild animals and can have severe to life threatening adverse effects.
  • Get the animal to a licensed wildlife rehabilitator or facility as soon as possible in the morning. Injuries need professional medical attention as soon as possible to increase the likelihood of successful treatment. It is against the law and not in the animal’s best interest to keep wildlife without the proper permits and education.
  • Always wash hands thoroughly after handling a wild animal. 

Overnight care of injured adult songbirds

Overnight care of injured adult songbirds

  • Safe environment Place the animal(s) in a small cardboard box or plastic carrier with plenty of small air holes for ventilation. Use soft bedding such as towels, old t-shirts, or paper towels. Do not use grass clippings or wood chips/shaving. Keep the box in a quiet, dark area away from pets and people. Handle the animal as little as possible wild animals can easily get stressed by captivity and over handling. 
  • A small bowl of water can be placed inside the enclosure. Most wild animals are much too stressed initially to eat or drink so placing food in the enclosure is not necessary, except for hummingbirds. However, if you feel you must offer food, bird seed and/or insects (not bees/wasps) would be appropriate for most species. Berries can be offered to cedar waxwings and robins. Hummingbirds should be offered sugar water (4 parts water to 1 part sugar dissolved) through an eyedropper if they are hungry they will lap it out of the end; you do not need to drip it on them. It is vitally important that hummingbirds have the sugar water accessible to them at all times as their metabolism is very high and they can die of hypoglycemia (low blood sugar) very quickly. Crows can be offered canned dog or cat food or dry food soaked in water to soften.
  • DO NOT give any medical treatment or medications, including flea sprays etc. Many medications that are safe for use in your pets or humans are not safe in wild animals and can have severe to life threatening adverse effects.
  • Get the animal to a licensed wildlife rehabilitator or facility as soon as possible in the morning. Injuries need professional medical attention as soon as possible to increase the likelihood of successful treatment. It is against the law and not in the animal’s best interest to keep wildlife without the proper permits and education.
  • Always wash hands thoroughly after handling a wild animal. 

Overnight care of injured mammals

Overnight care of injured mammals

  • Safe environment — Place the animal(s) in a small cardboard box or plastic carrier with plenty of air holes for ventilation. Use soft bedding such as towels, old t-shirts, or paper towels. Do not use grass clippings or wood chips/shaving. Keep the box inside in a quiet, dark area away from pets and people. Handle the animal as little as possible wild animals can easily get stressed by captivity and over handling. 
  • A small bowl of water can be placed inside the enclosure. Most wild animals are much too stressed initially to eat or drink so placing food in the enclosure is not necessary. If you feel you must offer food to the animal the following can be offered to these species:
  1. Rabbits: romaine lettuce, carrots and carrot tops, grass (No fertilizer/pesticides), apples, timothy hay, rabbit pellets
  2. Squirrels/rodents: bird seed, unsalted/unflavored nuts, apples, berries, cheerios, dry dog food, small amount of peanut butter
  3. Raccoons: dry/moist dog food, berries, apples, peanut butter in moderation, unseasoned cooked meat
  4. Fox/coyote/mink/opossums: dry/moist dog food, unseasoned cooked meat
  • DO NOT give any medical treatment or medications, including flea sprays, etc. Many medications that are safe for use in your pets or humans are not safe in wild animals and can have severe to life threatening adverse effects.
  • Get the animal to a licensed wildlife rehabilitator or facility as soon as possible in the morning. Injuries need professional medical attention as soon as possible to increase the likelihood of successful treatment. It is against the law and not in the animals’ best interest to keep or raise wildlife without the proper permits and education.
  • Always wear gloves and wash hands thoroughly after handling a wild animal. Wild animals can carry parasites that can also infect humans. Raccoons commonly carry an intestinal roundworm, baylisascaris, which can be very harmful to humans.

Wildlife Supplies Needed

Wildlife supplies needed

Our wildlife rehabilitators provide care for over 3,000 orphaned and injured wild animals each year. These specially trained individuals are volunteers who donate their time, money, and energy.

The items listed below are a constant need in the well being of the wild animals we care for. You can make a difference in a wild animal’s life by contributing any of these items. Items donated are tax deductible and will be shared with our network of rehabilitators as needed. Thanks for your help!

Injured or Orphaned Squirrels

Injured or orphaned squirrels

If the squirrel has an obvious injury, is bleeding, feels cold or looks sick, or the animal is attempting to move away but is falling over, this animal needs immediate help. Please review our Emergency Care information.

We have four types of tree dwelling squirrels in Minnesota. Species include the gray squirrel, red squirrel, fox squirrel, and flying squirrel. The red squirrel has one litter of babies per year, whereas the other three species usually have two litters per year. Litters range from 2-7 young. All are omnivorous, which means they eat both plant material (such as nuts and seeds) and animal material (baby birds and eggs, carrion, insects, mice). All build leaf nests or use hollow cavities in trees.

Infant squirrels are usually found in one of these four circumstances:

  1. Tree trimmers have disturbed nests of squirrels in the areas in which they are working.
  2. Winds from summer storms have knocked down trees, branches or nests.
  3. A predator has invaded a squirrel nest and thrown babies to the ground.
  4. A mother squirrel has been killed and her hungry babies have fallen out of their nest in an attempt to find their mother and their milk source.

DO NOT feed the squirrels anything, infants can easily aspirate fluids (get liquid in their lungs) and get sick. Wildlife professionals are trained how to feed as well as have appropriate diets/formulas for squirrels.

Check the squirrels for any injuries, parasites (such as maggots or adult flies landing on them), temperature (if they feel cold), or look very thin; these squirrels need immediate help. Please review our Emergency Care information.

If they look healthy and are warm, place the infant(s) in a box they cannot crawl out of but the mother can jump into. Put a warm water bottle under a towel in with them to provide a heat source. Place the box in a safe area near where they were found — the mother should be coming to look for her babies so keep all pets and people away so she feels it is safe to come. Observe the box from a distance. It likely will take some time for the mother to come. Be patient and give her a few hours to return. If she has not returned after some time, you can assume the squirrels are orphaned and in need of professional help.

Contact a wildlife rehabilitator, wildlife facility, or a wildlife veterinarian as soon as possible. Do not keep the animal at your home longer than necessary. It is against the law to try and raise these squirrels yourself. Get the animal professional help as soon as possible.

Animal Humane Society's Golden Valley location provides care for all wild animals except skunks. We will provide phone advice for skunk situations. Please bring your wild animal directly to the Golden Valley location. If you need further advice or assistance you may call Wildlife Exam at 763-489-2223.

Injured or Orphaned Wildlife

Injured or orphaned wildlife

Follow these simple steps below when you come across wildlife that may need assistance:

Review our injured wildlife library (below) to determine your next steps. If you you need further assistance, please contact a wildlife technician at (763) 489-2223.

Injured and orphaned wild animals can be brought to our Golden Valley site during the following times:

  • 11 a.m. – 7 p.m. weekdays
  • 10 a.m. – 6 p.m. Saturday and Sunday

No appointment is needed for dropping off wildlife.

Upon arrival, all incoming wildlife animals receive an examination by a Wildlife technician. Injured wildlife are evaluated and treated. Once stabilized, the animal is sent to a Minnesota Department of Natural Resources licensed wildlife rehabilitator for further care and treatment until they can be successfully released back into the wild. Animals with serious injuries that can’t be successfully reintroduced to the wild are humanely euthanized to ease their suffering. Orphaned wildlife are placed with wildlife rehabilitators trained to give proper care and provide appropriate diets until the animals are old enough to be released.

Injured wildlife library

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