The following pertains to all rescues:

Wild animals are extremely stressed out by human contact. High levels of stress are detrimental to an animal's health. No matter what animal you are rescuing, always keep the animal in a dark, quiet setting after the initial rescue. Boxes containing animals should be covered with a sheet or towel. Children and pets should be kept away from the wild animal. Do not speak unless absolutely necessary, and if you must, keep the volume of your voice as low as possible. Wild animals are not comforted by petting, cooing, or singing. Please keep the animal's best interest in mind. 

Mammal Rescue Instructions:

To determine if a mammal needs rescuing, click here.


Squirrels, Rabbits, Opossums, and Groundhogs should all be contained in the same manner, whether they are adults or babies. Approach the animal from behind and cover the animal with a towel, sheet, pillowcase, or other soft cloth to block their vision. Gently pick up the animal by the midsection and place it into a cardboard box or similar sized container with air holes poked in. If you don't feel comfortable touching the animal, you can place the box on its side and gently push the animal into the box using a separate piece of cardboard, a stiff notebook, etc. Cover the box with a sheet and place it in a warm, dark, quiet place. If the animal is cold to the touch, place the box half on a heating pad set on low. Then contact us for further assistance.

Small Rodents such as mice, rats, voles, and shrews should be contained in the same way as above, but placed in a very thick plastic, glass, or cardboard container, with very tiny air holes. These animals are extremely good at gnawing through material, and can escape if contained improperly.

If you have found a raccoon, skunk, or bat, please click here.

If you have found a larger mammal, such as a fox or coyote, contact us.


Reptile Rescue Instructions:

To determine if a reptile needs rescuing, click here.


Most turtles can simply be picked up and placed in a carboard box or similar container with airholes. 

Snapping Turtles should not be handled by the public. Please contact us if you have found an injured snapping turtle.

Domestic (Pet) Animals and Exotic Animals

We are a strictly wildlife hospital. Our organization cannot assist with the care or rehoming of domestic and exotic animals. These include:

Cats, dogs, rabbits (excluding Eastern Cottontails), guinea pigs, domestic mice and rats, ferrets, pet reptiles, racing pigeons (banded pigeons or white doves), peacocks, peafowl, pheasants, parrots, parakeets, cockatiels, domestic farm birds (chickens, ducks), or other farm animals. Please click here for resources pertaining to these animals. 

How do I rescue an animal?

Rescuing wild animals is sometimes necessary for their survival. However, it can be hard to tell if an animal needs rescuing (particularly babies), and if so, how to rescue it. Please check out our wildlife help page to determine if the animal you have found needs rescuing.

Bird Rescue Instructions:

To determine if a bird needs rescuing, click here.


Songbirds are small and therefore can be contained by most members of the general public.

Start by preparing a box to put the bird in. Make sure to put air holes in whichever box you are using. Cardboard is typically the easiest to work with. Line the box with a soft cloth such as a hand towel, scarf, or pillowcase. You will need to put a top on your box to keep the bird as stress-free as possible. Blocking their sight of humans greatly reduces stress. 

To pick up the bird, gently place a hand towel or pillowcase over it to block its vision. Then, gently wrap your hand around the bird's midsection, keeping the wings close to the sides. If the bird you have found has a visible wing injury, adjust your grip to avoid the injured wing. Place the bird in the box and cover it. If the bird is cold to the touch, place the box half on a heating pad set on low, or in a warm location. Contact us for further assistance.

Gulls, ducks, and small herons are larger, but typically not difficult to contain if they are in need of rescue. You will need a larger box or container to rescue one of these birds, unless they are babies (see Songbird directions). Laundry baskets, plastic storage bins, or large pet carriers are all good options. Additionally, leftover boxes from large packages (such as boxes from Amazon, UPS, etc) will also work. Make sure whichever container you use has air holes poked into it! Line the bottom of the container with a soft cloth. Gently cover the bird with a sheet or towel to block its vision. Approach the bird from behind and pick it up by its midsection, placing your hands over the wings to keep them flat against the body. If a wing is visibly injured, adjust your grip to avoid the injured wing, usually by placing on hand underneath the bird's midsection. Place the bird into your container and cover the container with a separate sheet or towel. Contact us for further assistance.

Geese, swans, large herons, and other large wading birds are much more difficult to contain. If you have a container large enough for the bird, please contact us for assistance. We can advise on capture depending on the resources you have available.

Raptors can be extremely dangerous. Do not attempt to handle these animals unless you have previous experience. If the bird you have found is on the ground and immobile, please place a laundry basket or storage container with air holes over the bird. This will keep it in place until help arrives. Contact us if you find a raptor in need of rescue. 

194-A Bayville Road Locust Valley, NY 11560

(516) 674-0982

Volunteers for Wildlife, Inc. is a tax exempt 501(c)3 not-for-profit charitable organization. Copies of our annual audited financial statements as well as annual IRS 990 and NY State CHAR500 reports can be accessed on the NYS Attorney General's Charity website

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