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

Injured or Orphaned Woodchucks

Injured or orphaned woodchucks (groundhogs)

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

It is illegal to keep a wild animal as a pet. These animals should always be returned to the original location where they were found. 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. 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 the Wildlife Exam at (763) 489-2223.

Injured or Orphaned Snakes

Injured or orphaned snakes

Seventeen species of snakes live in Minnesota, including two varieties of rattlesnake. Our largest native snake, the bull snake, attains a length of approximately five to six feet. Snakes have a varied diet that consists of insects, earthworms, frogs, small mammals, birds, and eggs. These species live in a variety of different habitats including forests, wetlands, and prairies.

Most native Minnesota snakes are not venomous. Only two of the Minnesota varieties are venomous, the Massasauga and the Timber rattlesnake. They are rare, occur only in the southeastern counties of Minnesota, and are protected under state regulations. Both species of venomous snake are dangerous, but their bites are rarely fatal. No one has died from a venomous snakebite in Minnesota for over 100 years. If seen, these snakes should be left alone. An uninjured snake does not need to be moved from your yard. In fact, the presence of snakes may help to decrease the rodent population.

If a snake is in a dangerous location or if you need to remove a snake from a building, take precautions to protect yourself. Wear long pants, shoes, and gloves. Place a box or container over the snake. Slowly slide a piece of cardboard under the container so you do not injure the snake. With the snake trapped inside the box, and you are able to lift up the bottom piece of cardboard and carry the entire package safely outside. Carry your container away from the building, set it down, and gently tip the box over and release the snake.

With the snake released, try and locate the entrance to repair it. Look for foundation cracks, rotting floorboards, open doors, and holes where the snake may have been able to enter the building.

If the snake you have found is injured, 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. Get the animal professional help as soon as possible.

It is illegal to keep a wild animal as a pet. These animals should always be returned to the original location where they were found.

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 the Wildlife Exam at (763) 489-2223.

Injured or Orphaned Skunks

Injured or orphaned skunks

The striped skunk is easily identified by its shiny black coat and bushy tail, with a white stripe on its forehead, a white crown on its head, and two stripes that extend down either side of its back. The striped skunk is found throughout Minnesota but is not common in the northeastern part. It is less likely to be found in areas of dense forest and swampy areas, and it favors environments where there is a concentration of small rodents. Striped skunks live in dens, which they usually dig themselves, although in the summer they may choose another convenient shelter. In about mid-November, they den up for the winter. They do not hibernate, but rather they become inactive during cold weather and may come out in spells of warm weather.

Striped skunks are nocturnal. As adults they are solitary except at mating time and at winter denning time, when several adults may share a den. They are omnivorous, and their diet includes insects, small mammals, eggs and young birds, amphibians, snails, crayfish, fruits and berries, nuts and carrion. 

Skunks are well known for their ability to defend themselves by spraying a strong, repellent liquid from their anal glands. They have few natural predators, except for the great horned owl, but domestic dogs running loose, unaware of the significance of the skunk's flashy black and white colors, may become victims of the skunk's spray if they chase or attack it.

Before spraying, skunks will face the intruder and stamp their front feet. They will sometimes also charge a few paces towards the intruder and then retreat. If they continue to be threatened, they will turn their rear toward the intruder with tail raised and spray. While spraying is their primary defense, they will also bite if an intruder makes direct contact.

Striped skunks mate in late February or March, and the young are born in May. There are usually four to six young in a litter. They become independent in about 12 weeks. 

Unfortunately, this valuable and beautiful creature is also a potential carrier of rabies. For this reason, they may be admired from a distance, but people should avoid all contact with them. Children should be specially warned not to approach them, and dogs must be controlled when skunks are known to be present.

A skunk may choose a denning site near human habitation, if that site is attractive as a source of food or shelter. While some people may be willing to share their area with a skunk and be grateful for its contribution to rodent and insect control, others may not. Forcibly removing a skunk will not solve the problem, because if the location continues to be attractive, another may move in. Rather, some common sense precautions should be taken to discourage wild animals from being attracted to an inappropriate site. Pet food and garbage should be secured in metal bins with lockable lids, open compost piles should be located away from the house and outbuildings or replaced by secure compost bins, holes and crawl spaces under houses or outbuildings should be sealed. On farms, manure piles should be located away from livestock yards and barns, and all livestock food should be stored in areas secure from wild animals. Rodent control is part of good livestock husbandry, and it should discourage skunks from moving in as well.

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

Injured or Orphaned Shore Birds and Raptors

Injured or orphaned shore birds and raptors

The following information is provided NOT to encourage you to get involved in the rescue of an injured raptor or shorebird, but to provide you with some tips for your own safety if you have decided an emergency situation leaves you with no other choice.

Always try to contact the Raptor Center at the University of Minnesota before approaching any raptor at (612) 624-4745. You may also want to contact Wildlife Exam at Animal Humane Society at (763) 489-2223.

Raptors

If you feel you must move or capture an injured raptor, wear heavy leather gloves. Wearing protective goggles is also recommended. The main defense for hawks, eagles and owls is their talons, the sharp claws on their feet. Offering a rolled towel for them to strike at with their feet will help to keep their talons busy. Then you can secure the legs between your gloved fingers. Place a towel or blanket over the bird’s head to help decrease stress. Carefully position the wings next to its body, and gently wrap a towel or blanket around the bird. Place the bird in a well-ventilated box or carrier not much larger than the bird itself and transport it to the Raptor Center at the University of Minnesota.

If you do get grabbed by the bird’s talons, carefully raise its center toe to force it to release its grip. Again, remember that raptors can be dangerous and that they are protected by a variety of state and federal laws. If at all possible, just watch the bird and call the Raptor Center at (612) 624-4745 for help before you attempt to pick it up!

Shorebirds

Shorebirds refer to the long-legged wading birds such as herons and egrets. These birds are capable of seriously injuring a person trying to capture them, and it is best to call the Wildlife Exam at Animal Humane Society (763) 489-2223 before approaching the injured shorebird.

However, here is information provided for your own safety. Shorebirds have long, pointed beaks and long, serpent-like necks. In the wild these birds fish for minnows and stab at them with accurate, lightning speed using those long, sharp beaks. These beaks are also their defense. They will strike at any shiny object. ALWAYS wear goggles and use some sort of safety shield such as a garbage can lid when approaching shorebirds. A towel or blanket over the bird’s head will help to subdue it. Always move slowly and carefully so as not to further injure the bird. Do not talk, and keep pets and children away. Any large bird is capable of injuring a person by thrashing their wings, so a towel or blanket gently wrapped around the bird with its wings close by its body will help prevent this. Place the bird into a box or carrier, well ventilated, and transport it to Animal Humane Society in Golden Valley.

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 the Wildlife Exam at (763) 489-2223.

Injured or Orphaned Reptiles and Amphibians

Injured or orphaned toads, frogs, salamanders, and lizards

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

If the animal is not injured, please review this information to further determine whether your wild animal needs assistance.

There are nine species of salamanders and lizards that make Minnesota their home. Salamanders are amphibians which live near the water and need to lay their eggs in the water. Lizards are reptiles which lay eggs on land. Both are shy creatures who avoid human contact as much as possible.

There are 14 species of toads and frogs in Minnesota. They can be found in backyards often quite far from any obvious source of water. They may spend a large part of their life in the leaves of the forest floor, and do not need to be moved from your yard and placed in a pond or lake. Many species lay their eggs in water while others lay their eggs in clumps attached to moist vegetation. The tadpoles of some species may take up to 2 years to transform into adults.

Toads, frogs, salamanders, and lizards eat enormous quantities of insects as their diet.

Window wells that do not have protective covers can become a trap for many animals. You can easily rescue the animal that is in the window well, by gently scooping them up into a large sturdy container such as an ice cream pail or by gently scooping the animal up in your hand. Never pick a lizard or salamander up by its tail. You can release the animal away from the window well but do not relocate the animal from your yard. It is normal for frogs or toads to urinate when handled; this does not indicate any injury. You should always wash your hands if you have handled any animal.

It is illegal to keep a wild animal as a pet. These animals should always be returned to the original location where they were found.

If you find an injured toad, frog, salamander, or lizard, scoop the animal very gently into a bucket or a deep box. Cover the container with either a breathable fabric or a lid or cover with holes for air flow. A wet cloth or towel should also be placed in the container with any of these species. A wet cloth or towel provides the critical moisture to keep them alive while you are getting them 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. 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 the Wildlife Exam at (763) 489-2223.

Injured or Orphaned Raccoons

Injured or orphaned raccoons

If the raccoon has an obvious injury, is bleeding, feels cold or looks sick, is attempting to move away but is falling over, or is acting disoriented and has discharge coming from its eyes/nose this animal needs immediate help. Please review our Emergency Care information. 

If the animal is not injured, please read this information to further determine whether your wild animal needs assistance.

Raccoons are a clan animal. They live in groups of several adults and juveniles and are very dedicated and dependent upon family ties for survival, protection and nurturing. Mothers usually have only one litter per year born in April or May of two to five cubs.

If you come across raccoon cubs clinging to their dead mother on the side of the road, or if you find a group of infants that have maggots or many adult flies landing on them they need immediate assistance. Please carefully (while wearing gloves or another barrier) place them into a secure container with plenty of air holes and transport them to Animal Humane Society in Golden Valley.

In late summer or fall many times juvenile cubs who are still dependent on their mother will go exploring while she is away. These juveniles can be placed (while wearing gloves or another barrier) into an open cardboard box with peanut butter sandwiches inside and out. Place the box in the same area the cub was found, keep all pets and people away as the mother will not return if either are present. The mother will be looking for him and should return to retrieve him within a few hours. If she does not return the juvenile can be assumed orphaned and should be brought to Animal Humane Society in Golden Valley. Please search the area for any other cubs.

Please keep in mind that is it against the law to keep wildlife in your possession except for transport purposes. Raccoon cubs can be tempting to keep as pets however these babies grow into extremely dangerous adults and even if they are raised in a domestic household, natural instincts and hormones will prevail and cause a dangerous situation for you and your family!

Raccoons also carry a roundworm parasite that is potentially fatal to humans if it is contracted.

Wildlife professionals are trained and licensed to work with these animals. Please follow our advice.

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 the Wildlife Exam at (763) 489-2223.

Injured or Orphaned Opossums

Injured or orphaned opossums

If the opossum has an obvious injury, is bleeding, feels cold or looks sick, or the animal is attempting to move away but is falling over, or if you find babies clinging to or near a deceased parent these animals needs immediate help. Please review our Emergency Care information.

If the animal is not injured, please review this information to further determine whether your wild animal needs assistance.

A relatively new wildlife visitor to the Minnesota area is the opossum. They have migrated here from the South, and are adapting to our colder climate and our snow. Opossums are the only native marsupial in North America. Soon after birth the babies must make their way to their mother’s pouch, attach themselves to a nipple in the pouch and remain there for approximately 60 days to complete their development. In two months the babies are furred, and they are able to nurse from their mother outside the pouch, they either run along beside her or ride on her back. As their intake of natural food increases, their dependency on mom decreases.

Unlike many wildlife families, opossums are not territorial and do not maintain separate home ranges. They are solitary wanderers and rarely remain in one area for any great length of time. An opossum seen in your area one day, if left alone, will probably move on in a day or two.

Opossums are helpful to man in that they are omnivorous and eat most anything, including carrion, making them helpful scavengers of road kills. They also eat grubs, worms, crayfish, bird eggs, etc. They complete their diets by eating grass, corn, wild grapes, and other vegetation. About 65% of their diet consists of meat, mostly carrion, making them efficient little garbage disposals. The other 35% of their diet consists of plant material.

Should an opossum come into your yard or territory, the best advice is to keep your children and your domestic animals away from it, leave it alone, and it will leave your area. In most situations it is just wandering through to another destination. To prevent them from hanging around be sure that all food sources, such as garbage and pet food, are removed or secured in metal cans with lockable lids.

It is illegal to keep a wild animal as a pet. These animals should always be returned to the original location where they were found.

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 the Wildlife Exam at (763) 489-2223.

Injured or Orphaned Woodpeckers

Injured or orphaned woodpeckers

If the woodpecker 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.


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 the Wildlife Exam at (763) 489-2223.

Injured or Orphaned Fox

Injured or orphaned fox

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

If the animal is not injured, please review this information to further determine whether your wild animal needs assistance.

Both red and gray fox are native to Minnesota and can be found near metropolitan areas. Red fox live primarily in open areas and gray fox will be found in woods or heavy brush. Red fox are reddish orange in color with black legs and a white tip on their tail. The kits are more gray in color. Gray fox are brown/red in color and do not have a white tip on their tail. Both species are shy and wary of humans, but will seek food in areas populated by humans. Fox can carry parasites and diseases, but these are not easily transmitted to humans or pets.

Young fox kits are cared for by both their parents. As the fox kits grow, the parents will spend most of their time hunting to feed their growing family, and may not be at the den all of the time. The adult fox should be visiting the den two to three times per day. Sometimes a young fox kit will be dropped by its mother when being moved. A kit will wander away from its den if it is hungry.

If you see a young fox alone and it is in a safe area away from roads, observe at a distance. See if the adult comes to retrieve the kit. If the adult does not retrieve the kit within a few hours, the kit is probably an orphan who will need help. If you know that the parent has died, it may be necessary to remove the kits from the den.

Before removing kits from a den, seek professional advice. If you must handle a fox kit, you should wear thick, leather gloves, since even very young kits have sharp teeth. The kit should be placed in a plastic animal crate or strong cardboard box with ventilation holes. Make sure the top of the box is well secured. Please feel free to call Connie LaFond at (763) 972-6712 for further advice.

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. 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 the Wildlife Exam at (763) 489-2223.

Nuisance Raccoons

Nuisance raccoons

Raccoons are a clan animal. They live in groups of several adult individuals, as well as juveniles, and are very dedicated and dependent upon family ties for survival, protection and nurturing. For this reason we strongly discourage live trapping and relocating of raccoons. Studies done by the Humane Society of the United States have shown that more than 90% of relocated raccoons die within a short time in alien territory that is habitat to other resident raccoon clans. Many of them die on roads in their desperate attempts to get back to the safety of their own clan. Many others are killed by the resident raccoon clans protecting their territory.

If you have a raccoon that is alone and disoriented in your yard and has eye or nasal discharge this raccoon may have the distemper virus and needs immediate help. Please review our Emergency Care information.

The following information can be used to humanely evacuate or deter raccoons from inhabiting chimneys, attics, garages, overhangs, porches/decks, etc.:

Place a radio turned to a talk radio station with the volume as loud as practical, as close to the inhabited site as you can get it. The radio should be left on day and night for at least 48-72 hours. This will encourage the mother raccoon to move her family and will send a message that this is not a safe habitat for her family. In addition to the radio, place a few tin cans with ammonia soaked rags inside and around the inhabited area. The mother should move her cubs within 72 hours to a new nest site that has been prepared. After they vacate the area you must cap the chimney, or repair the entrance site to prevent another situation. PLEASE make sure ALL cubs have been retrieved before closing the hole. It is also important to remove all nesting material as it may be a fire hazard if located in an unsafe area.

Other ways to prevent any nuisance animals from visiting your yard include making sure there is not a food source accessible to them. Make sure domestic pet food and/or bird seed is stored in a secure metal container with a lockable lid. Garbage needs to also be stored in the same manner as scavengers will view this as a possible food source.

Freshly laid grass sod can also attract raccoons as there may be worms or grubs underneath it. If raccoons are damaging sod it is an indicator of the presence of grubs that need to be addressed. With the grubs taken care of, the raccoons should no longer be attracted to your sod.

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 the Wildlife Exam at (763) 489-2223.

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