|Collect and Stabilize the Animal|
Collecting the animal : NEVER attempt to rescue a bat, fox, raccoon, bear, or deer !!!! EVER!! The risk of exposure to rabies and or serious injury is too high, no matter how small the animal may seem. Contact animal control and leave it to the professionals.
If it is an infant mammal, wrap it loosely in a soft cloth or rag and place in a box or container with a breathable lid. Be careful, many young ones can get out and hurt themsleves. Heat is required.Contact a rehabber as soon as possible.
If it is a baby bird, put the baby in a container with some shredded paper. Cover with a breathable lid. Avoid using terry cloth as they tend to get tangled and injure themselves. Heat is required. Contact a rehabber as soon as possible.
If collecting an adult animal, ALWAYS wear gloves for your protection. They do not mean to hurt you but they are injured and frightened and will probably lash out at their rescuer. The cardinal has a pretty rough bite for their size so be very careful with those little guys. It is best to use a sheet or large light weight rag. Don't use terry cloth especially with birds as their claws tend to get tangled and cause further injury. Try to cover and scoop them up in one motion. Wrap them very gently in the same cloth and place them in a box. Put the box in a dark, quiet place. Heat is recommended as is wards off shock. But in this case put the heat under one end of the box allowing the animal to choose if it wants the heated end of the box. Contact a rehabber as soon as possible.
You will be amazed at the poor little lathargic ( lifeless or very little movement ) creature in your hands that you gently place on a heating pad. Come back to check on it and find it moving around , just by getting it warm! Here are a few for getting the critters warm while you contact a rehabber.
Hyperthermia ( low body temperature) is one of the biggest killers in small animals. If you can get the animal warm, you may be buying valuable time for the rehabber. First, use a heating pad, set on low placed UNDER the container. Check it every 15 minutes to make sure its getting warm. Not getting too warm. If you don't have a heating pad, get some used plastic drinking bottles ( water or pepsi) and fill with very warm water. Place them in the container with the animal. Be sure to wrap them with cloth so its not too warm against their skin. Be absolutley sure the animal has room to move away from the bottles if you use this technique. And don't use zippy bags as they may leak and drown them or get them wet and cause a chill.
Remember, a rehabber cannot feed a cold animal, by getting them warm, you have not only made them feel better, you have gotten them ready to be fed as well. Saving time that the animal may not have had otherwise. Use the time you have wisely. You took the time to get involved, now take the time to do it right.