Wildlife Rehabilitation

This page contains a lot of information and links to various resources for wildlife issues.  Please read through it carefully if you have an animal in need, in order to determine and locate the correct response or resource.   Many, but not all, of the links are specific to Louisiana.  There is a link to the public listing of LA rehabilitators near the bottom of this page.

General Information:

PLEASE DO NOT TRY TO REHABILITATE AN INJURED OR ORPHANED WILD ANIMAL WITHOUT A LICENSE AND TRAINING.  Not only is that activity illegal, it is dangerous for the human and animal involved.  For more info, visit: The Reason You Should Never Feed Injured or Orphaned Wildlife.

There is no legal rehabilitation in Louisiana of deer, bears, alligators or wild turkeys.

The public is advised to contact your LDWF Field Office to report injured Bald or Golden Eagles.  You may also call 1-800-442-2511.

If you touch a rabies vector species, the animal will need to be euthanized to check for rabies, and you will be advised to seek medical attention.  If you run across a skunk, coyote, raccoon, fox or a bat, DO NOT handle the animal.  Call a wildlife rehabilitator for advice on what to do.  If you do capture or contain the animal, do so in a way that does not expose your skin or clothing to the animal.  Even the saliva on the animal’s fur is a potential disease vector.

Rabies has been detected in DeSoto Parish in 2017.  LDWF was notified of four confirmed rabies cases in skunks in the Grand Cane area, north of Mansfield. An additional ten unconfirmed skunk cases and one unconfirmed rabbit case were reported as well.

Animals with rabies may exhibit the following symptoms:  Agitation, biting or snapping at imaginary and real objects, and drooling excessively; they may appear tame and have no fear of humans, wobble or circle excessively, appear partially paralyzed or disoriented, and exhibit self-mutilation. Nocturnal species such as skunks may appear in the daytime.  Note that the symptoms of distemper or other illnesses may appear similar to the symptoms above, so an animal exhibiting these symptoms may not necessarily have rabies.

A nocturnal animal such as a bat seen walking around on the ground in the daytime is a sign of distress.  Call a wildlife rehabilitator.

There are some species of animals, such as foxes and rabbits, that get stressed very easily, which can cause further medical complications.  Please do not delay getting these (or any) animals treatment.

Sometimes an animal needs to be euthanized.  This is an emotional task for wildlife professionals and members of the public who are trying to help an animal.  If a wildlife professional has advised you that an animal needs to be euthanized, please respect that their decision is based on many factors and do not try to treat it yourself to “avoid it getting killed.”  You would be doing the animal harm, and potentially exposing yourself to injury, disease and criminal liability.

If you are calling a rehabilitator because there is a fledgling bird and you are worried your cat or dog will attack the animal- the recommended solution is for you to keep your pet inside and/or supervise them during this time while the youngster is vulnerable.   The bird’s parents are still watching over him, and taking him away from them should be avoided whenever possible.


If you have a reptile or amphibian in need of care in north Louisiana, click here.

If you have a non-native (pet) animal in need of assistance, click here.  L.E.A.R.N. takes in reptiles, amphibians, invertebrates and exotic birds, mammals and aquatic animals at our facility.

If you have found a baby bird, click here first to view a flowchart to determine if the animal is in need of assistance or not, and what you can do to help it.

If you have found a baby mammal, click here first to view a flowchart to determine if the animal is in need of assistance or not, and what you can do to help it.

The downloads above also have information about how to reunite animals separated from their parents, and how to safely transport, if needed.  You may want to read those PDFs even if the animal you found is not an orphan.

A baby mammal or bird’s best chance of a healthy life is with its mother, so please do not collect the animal unless you have looked at the corresponding flowchart above and followed the instructions.  Over half of the calls we get about “orphaned” wildlife are baby animals in a perfectly normal situation that does not require interference.

If you have found a mammal or bird that is obviously injured, or if the flowcharts above indicate that an orphan is in need of assistance, the correct action is to bring it to a wildlife rehabilitator licensed for the type of animal needing help.  Alternately, a licensed veterinarian can legally take in the animal for up to 72 hours for transfer to a licensed rehabilitator, if necessary.

AGAIN, PLEASE DO NOT TRY TO REHABILITATE THE ANIMAL YOURSELF.  Not only could you get into a good bit of trouble, there are numerous aspects of wildlife rehabilitation that an untrained person cannot know, such as zoonotic diseases, diet, imprinting, fostering, release site choice and methods, and more.  Following the rules is better for you, and it is better for the animal.

L.E.A.R.N. recommends Wildlife Education and Rehabilitation of Louisiana for species in NW Louisiana that L.E.A.R.N. does not serve.  Click here to visit their website.  WERLA is typically unavailable outside of regular business hours.  A good option in NW Louisiana is Janette Armstrong; her cell number is 337-319-9855.  You may need to leave a message or text and wait for a callback.  

The official list of Louisiana licensed rehabilitators is located here.  The licensees are broken down by parish and species served.  You should start by calling the closest licensee to you that serves the type of animal you have and work your way outward.  Many rehabilitators will be too busy to answer the phone when you call.  Some may be too busy to call you back in a timely fashion.  Leave a message, and then keep trying to reach someone.  You should plan on bringing the animal to the facility listed, as many rehabilitators do not have the manpower to drive to every animal in need.

If you have an animal that is not in distress, but you feel cannot remain where it is, such as a raccoon in your attic, the correct person to call in that scenario is a Nuisance Wildlife Control Operator.  The list of operators can be found here.  Further information about resolving wildlife conflicts is available on the LDWF website.

Additional links:

Living Alongside Wildlife– a website about how to live in harmony with urban wildlife.

Please note that wildlife rehabilitators are not funded by any government agency, but are just concerned individuals trying to assist wildlife, so please consider making a donation if you can.