Rabies Vector Species
In Rhode Island, Striped Skunks, Red & Grey Foxes, Woodchucks, Raccoons and all species of Bats are considered to be Rabies Vector Species (RVS). If you come across an individual of any of these species that you think may be in distress or in need of assistance, please DO NOT TOUCH them with your bare hands.
Any bare-handed contact is considered an "exposure" by the RI Department of Health and the animal is required by law to be euthanized and submitted for Rabies testing. Proper handling protocols must be adhered to in order to ensure that WRARI will be able to provide care to injured or orphaned individuals of these species.
The RI Department of Environmental Management is required by law to direct WRARI to euthanize RVS if you fail to follow this guidance. BEFORE you handle, please contact us for guidance. We can be reached at (401) 294-6363 or you can contact the RI DEM at (401) 222-3070.
If you find a wild bird, mammal, or reptile, see the links below for more information.
Please note it is illegal to take a wild animal into your home and keep it as a pet or care for and release it unless you are a licensed rehabilitator. It is also illegal to move a wild bird or mammal across state lines.