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Helping Animals in Distress

There’s no doubt that it’s very stressful to find a sick, injured or orphaned wild animal—stressful for you and for the animal. But there are a few simple things you can do to minimize the stress you both feel and, in the process, to increase the animals chances of survival.

Warm, Dark and Quiet

The most important thing you can do for a distressed animal is to keep it warm, dark and quiet—and this is an easy thing to do.

  • Find an appropriately sized cardboard box (not so large that the animals can thrash about and hurt itself, but not so small that it can’t rest comfortably) and line the bottom of the box with a soft cloth (not terry cloth as animals can catch their toenails in the “loops” and hurt themselves further). Make sure there are small air holes in the box and;
  • Place the animal in the box, close it up, and put the box on a heating pad set on “low.” If you don’t have a heating pad, you can put a homemade hot water bottle (see below for instructions) under the box, but wrap the bottle in a small towel first so it doesn’t make things too hot and;
  • Make sure the box is in a quiet place, away from human noise, such as radios, televisions, and people. Also make sure the box is away from domestic pets and;
  • Call Wildlife Rescue or your local wildlife rehabilitation service for assistance.
  • Do not give the animal anything to eat or drink, and fight the urge to peek at it; it only stresses the animal more and gives it a chance to escape.

Who To Call

Wildlife Rescue serves Palo Alto, Mountain View, Los Altos and Los Altos Hills, and because our resources are limited, we ask you to call the organization that serves your area for assistance.

Homemade Hot Water Bottle Instructions

To make a homemade hot water bottle, moisten a washcloth and place it in a small Ziploc plastic bag. Heat the unsealed bag in a microwave oven for 1-2 minutes, or until the bag is very warm. Carefully seal the bag, wrap it in a small towel and place it under the box with the bird or animal in it.


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