If you have found what you think is an injured or orphaned wild animal, please contact us at (401) 294-6363 before taking action so we can assess the situation with you in real time. Not all circumstances require intervention or may require special instructions.
Please note that it is not legal in Rhode Island to keep or raise wild animals without a permit and native wildlife, including all species of turtles, cannot legally be kept as pets.
You can also use the website AHNow.org to find a Wildlife Rehabilitator or animal rescue professional in your area.
SKUNKS, FOXES, WOODCHUCKS , RACCOONS & BATS
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.
Rhode Island does not permit the rehabilitation of adult White-tailed Deer, however WRARI is able to provide care to White-tailed Deer fawns and young of the year.
If you have encountered a White-tail Deer fawn and believe it needs assistance, please contact us before intervening. Mother deer will leave their young in a particular spot for several hours at a time. The fawns are excellently camouflaged and carry no scent which helps to protect them from predators. If you come across a lone fawn, even one that is vocalizing and walking around (like any toddler, they sometimes throw a tantrum when they don’t have their mom) please do NOT assume the fawn is orphaned or in need of intervention unless it is visibly injured.
Please do not attempt to raise a fawn on your own. Not only is it illegal, but commercially available formulas are NOT suitable for deer and will often cause debilitating diarrhea leading to dehydration and death. Even a few days can mean the difference between our rehabbers being able to save a fawn or not. Each year we receive at least 2 or more fawns that don’t make it, or require extreme measures to save them, just from being fed improperly for days before they came to us. Additionally, there are few, if any, permanent placement options for older, habituated/tame deer and The Wildlife Clinic is not able to provide placement for them. RI DEM will euthanize deer raised by unlicensed individuals.
The picture posted to the right is an excellent graphic to help you determine if an otherwise healthy looking fawn needs assistance.