Capture and Transport
by Jan Shadick
BE SAFE. If your safety is in question, do not attempt to capture the animal. Call a Conservation Officer or Licensed Rehabilitator.
Do no harm to the animal. Do not try to capture the animal if an attempt risks harm to the animal. Call your local Conservation Officer or Licensed Rehabilitator.
If you decide to capture the animal, the following are some ideas and guidelines:
- Have a plan ahead of time.
- Keep on-lookers, people and pets, out of the area, and quiet.
- Move slowly, gently, and stay calm, even if (especially if) the animal is panicked.
- Avoid eye contact, which may be threatening to the animal.
- Use Heavy gloves, thick clothing and protective eyewear as needed.
- Guide and lure the animal if possible, rather than chase the animal. Some animals will die from the stress of a chase.
- Cover the animal with a towel or blanket, tucking it under them, keeping paws and claws and wings tucked in. Covering their heads can reduce the visual stimuli and stress, but take caution not smother them.
- Make sure you are not covering the animals mouth or nose.
- Do not over-restrain as this could exacerbate an injury.
- Do not squeeze a bird’s chest which may prevent it from breathing.
- If the animal is an infant, or if it feels cold to the touch, provide heat (a hot water bottle or soda bottle of warm water). Do not use your air conditioning in the car.
- Do not play the radio during transport and keep all conversation to a minimum, whispers only.
- Most small animals and small birds truly in need of care will be weakened and somewhat easily captured with a towel thrown over them, or with a butterfly net. The animal or bird should then be put in a cardboard box slightly larger than the animal. The top should be secured, and air holes put in the sides (preferably BEFORE putting the animal in the box).
- Despite the injury or weakened condition of the animal, their survival instincts will take over and they will likely resist, especially the adult animals.
- Keep the animal/box out of direct sunlight during transport. They are likely to be dehydrated already.
- Do not attempt to feed or water any animal or bird. This will only make matters worse. Take it Immediately to WCVM or a Licensed Rehabilitator.
Make sure you are not covering the animal’s mouth or nose.