Dedicated to preserving and enhancing San Francisco's rich biodiversity and increasing public appreciation of our native wildlife

Determine if an animal needs your help or is orphaned

An "orphan" is a young animal that is not able to care for itself and whose parents cannot be found or are known to be dead.

Springtime is baby season for birds and small animals. Young nocturnal animals seen outside in the daytime in early summer are not necessarily orphaned. Mammals, like children are naive to dangers such as cars. For mammals this "naive" stage of development includes not knowing that it’s not safe to be out in the daytime. Their mother would spank them if she knew that they’d been sneaking out during the daytime exploring on their own!

Any animal that appears thin, weak, dirty, eyes sunken in, or injured, should be rescued and treated at a wildlife rehabilitation facility.  If a cat or dog has attacked an animal, presume it is injured even if no injury is obvious.  Pet attacks usually cause significant internal damage. Very small animals should be kept warm.

For help determining whether an animal really needs your help, click on the species in question. Thanks for caring!

This animal does need my help. What do I do?