Signs that a wild animal is sick or injured

If you have found an adult* wild animal that you think may be in need of help, the first step is to check it for signs of injury or illness. An adult animal showing any of the following signs, or who otherwise appears to be sick or injured, will need help from a wildlife rehabilitator:

  1. Obvious signs of illness or injury like visible wounds, injured limbs, twitching/shaking, loss of balance, missing fur/feathers
  2. Known contact with a cat—even if no injuries are visible, medical attention is still necessary
  3. Abnormal behaviour like appearing sleepy when approached closely, allowing people to approach within 1–2 feet, or appearing blind
  4. Material stuck/tangled on animal like a can on its foot, string wrapped around a limb or sticking out of its mouth, or grease on its fur/feathers
  5. Animals (including water birds) that look wet when it isn’t raining, or turtles that seem unable to submerge themselves underwater, are also likely in need of help

*Baby animals require different care. If the animal appears to be a baby, please read these special care instructions for baby orphaned wild animals

What to do if you’ve found a sick or injured wild animal

If the animal appears to be sick or injured, follow these guidelines to contain a sick or injured wild animal