If adult mammals can be approached within a couple of feet, they need help. Check out our Rescue 101 page for tips on containing these animals.
If you find an injured adult opossum, call our hotline for further assistance. Sometimes you will see babies in the pouch, or climbing out of the pouch. If the mom is dead, the babies can sometimes be saved. If you can put the mother’s body into a box and contact us, we can remove them from the mother and attempt to help the babies. If the mother is deceased, and the babies are loose or climbing on her, contact us for assistance.
If an adult bird can be approached within a few feet, it needs help. Check out our Rescue 101 page for tips on containing adult birds. Then contact us for further assistance.
Birds Attacked by Cats
If a bird is attacked by a cat—even if no visible wounds are seen—it is imperative that the bird get to a wildlife rehabilitator or veterinarian experienced in wildlife. A bacteria called Pasteurella is found in a cat's saliva and when an animal is bitten by a cat, it can be fatal if left untreated. Contact us for assistance.
Broken Wing or Angel Wing?
When young waterfowl are fed an improper diet while growing, it can cause nutritional problems. As they grow, they can develop a condition referred to as "angel wing". A bird is afflicted with angel wing when the last joint of the wing is twisted and the wing feathers point out. Since the wing feathers do not lay smooth against the body, these birds are unable to fly. Sadly, this developmental is irreversible. Being unable to fly also means that the individual cannot escape harm. Please contact us if you have found a bird with this condition.
Guide to Bird Identification
Not sure what you've found? Click here for a list of commonly encountered birds on Long Island, complete with photos & descriptions.
Got a smartphone? Download the Cornell Lab of Ornithology's "Merlin Bird ID" App!
Raptors can be very dangerous. Do not attempt to handle these animals yourself unless you have previous experience doing so. If the bird is on the ground and mostly immobile, you can put a laundry basket or similar container (with air holes) over the bird. This will keep it in place until help arrives. Please contact us for assistance with raptors!
If you encounter a turtle that is visibly injured, it will need to be rescued. While it is important to remember that any turtle can bite, most turtles found on Long Island can easily be contained in a box. However, snapping turtles can be very dangerous. Please contact us for assistance. Do not handle a snapping turtle yourself unless you have previous experience doing so.
If you encounter any kind of turtle crossing the road, it is okay to help it along. However, please carry it to the side of the road in the direction it is heading. By putting it back on the side it is crossing from, it will start crossing the road all over again.
To learn more about Long Island's native turtles, check out Turtle Rescue of the Hamptons' Turtle ID page.
If you encounter a healthy Eastern Box Turtle (pictured left), please leave it where it is. Box turtles have a home range of about one mile and they remain in this region their whole lives. Moving a box turtle to what seems to be a “safer” place may be harmful to the turtle. Eastern Box turtles will try to return to their home range, which often means crossing highways that it would normally not have to encounter.
Long Island is home to several species of snakes. All of the region's native snakes are non-venomous and if you are bitten by a native snake, you will not be poisoned. The only venomous snakes found on Long Island are escaped pets. If you need help identifying a snake, please e-mail us a photo at .
Snakes are occasionally found in houses or other buildings in the colder months, due to the fact that the building is warm. Snakes are ectothermic ("cold-blooded") and typically hibernate when the outdoor temperature is too cold for them. Mother snakes lay their eggs from late spring to the early summer. After hatching, the baby snakes are completely self-sufficient and should be left alone. If you find an injured snake, contact us.
Please do not attempt to collect wild snakes as pets, or release your own pets into the wild, as it is often illegal and always unwise. For information on snakes and other reptiles as pets, check out the Long Island Herpetological Society or Kingsnake.com.
There are 13 snakes that are native to Long Island, none of which are venomous. For a more detailed description of these species, you can visit Dr. Burke's Key to Regional Snakes.