Should you come across wildlife in peril during your visit to Jones Park, please inform the staff or report the location of the sighting in the nature center.

Hardly a spring day passes that a wildlife rehabilitator does not receive a call concerning baby wildlife. First the rehabilitator determines if the baby is actually abandoned and needs help. Although a parent may not be seen tending the youngster, it is not necessarily an abandoned animal. If the baby looks alert and healthy, the parents may just be gathering food for them.

Below is a guide to identify and help baby wildlife. If an animal needs help, it should be confined in a warm, quiet, dark place until it can be taken to a rehabilitator. Avoid handling wild animals, which causes stress. Animals perceive humans as predators and do everything they can to escape, including using their teeth and claws.

  • Do not feed, touch, or otherwise harass or harm wildlife. Please be respectful of their home.
  • Do not litter, or pick or break plants, including wildflowers.
  • All of Jones Parks’ plants and wildlife are PROTECTED BY LAW!

If you encounter orphaned or injured wildlife elsewhere, the following links provide important information to keep you and the animal safe:

Below is a list of wildlife rescue facilities for injured and orphaned wildlife and rehabilitation information along with references for nuisance wildlife, bees and wasps, pets, and other area animal resources. Should you have any problems reaching any one of the resources listed, please contact Jones Park during regular office hours.

 

Wildlife Services

Houston area wildlife rehabilitation organizations:

  • Wildlife Center of Texas—serve 9 county area (Accepts all native wildlife. No appointment necessary except for skunk, bat, fox, coyote, raccoon)
    Phone: 713-861-WILD (9453)
    Website: wildlifecenteroftexas.org
  • TWRC Wildlife Center—Houston and surrounding areas (Appointments required, admittance restrictions)
    Phone: 719-468-8972
    Website: twrcwildlifecenter.org
  • Friends of Texas Wildlife—Magnolia (Accepts Montgomery County wildlife only)
    Phone: 281-259-0039
    Website: ftwl.org

Wildlife Rehabilitation Information by County

  • Texas Parks & Wildlife Department
    Phone: 281-931-6471
    Website: tpwd.texas.gov/huntwild/wild/rehab/list/

Nuisance Wildlife Services

  • 911 Wildlife
    Phone: 719-287-1911
    Website: 911wildlife.com
    Services: Certified humane animal control, removal, and relocation services for all wildlife problems.
  • Riki’s Reptile Relocation
    Phone: 832-705-5505
    Website: rikisreptilerelocations.com
    Services: Free reptile relocation and identification service—including snakes.
  • Houston Herpetological Society
    Phone: 281-433-3286
    Website: petflytrap.com/snakeskeylist.html
    Services: Reptiles and Amphibians—identification, education, and removal.
  • Texas Snakes & More—Clint Pustejovsky
    Phone: 713-934-7668
    Website: clint@texassnakes.net
    E-mail: clint@texassnakes.net
    Services: Snake removal

Bee and Wasp Information and Removal

  • Chris Watkins
    Phone: 281-376-6202
    Services: If on Harris County Precinct 4 property, public right-of-way, or county facility.
  • 911 Wildlife (referral for humane removal)
    Phone: 713-287-1911
  • Harris County Beekeepers Association
    Website: harriscountybeekeepers.org
  • Houston Beekeepers Association
    Website: houstonbeekeepers.org
  • Honey Bee Information—TAMU
    Website: honeybee.tamu.edu

Houston/Harris County Area Animal Services

Pet Information/Lost and Found

  • City of Houston—Bureau of Animal Regulatory Control (BARC)
    Phone: 713-229-7300 x 3 (to reach Animal Control)
    Website: houstontx.gov/barc/
  • Houston SPCA
    Phone: 713-869-7722
    Website: houstonspca.org
  • Houston Humane Society
    Phone: 713-433-6421
    Website: houstonhumane.org
  • Citizens for Animal Protection (CAP)
    Phone: 281-497-0591
    Website: cap4pets.org
  • Lost and Found Pets in Humble, Kingwood, Atascocita
    Website: facebook.com/groups/HKATexasPets/
  • Lost and Found Pets in Spring
    Website: facebook.com/bjayne19/

Injured Animal Rescue

  • Harris County Animal Control: 281-999-3191
  • Houston Police Animal Control: 713-884-3131
  • Houston SPCA (24/7): 713-869-7722

Dead Animal Pick-Up

  • Harris County Road Maintenance
    Phone: 713-755-5000
  • Houston City Street
    Phone: 713-669-1113

Livestock Pick-Up

  • Harris County Sheriff’s Department, Livestock Division (breathing, loose livestock only)
    Phone: 281-454-6235

It is a myth that parent birds will kick the babies out of a nest if humans have touched them. Birds’ nurturing instinct is much stronger than their sense of smell. A bird’s olfactory nerve, used to smell things, is very small. A good example of their poor sense of smell is the fact that the favorite meal of a Great Horned Owl is a skunk.

Find out what kind of bird you have found.

Nestlings are birds without feathers but may be covered with soft down. (insert picture) If you find one that is warm and appears uninjured, place it back in its nest, if possible. If the nest cannot be located, then create a substitute nest out of a strawberry basket or any hanging basket with holes for drainage, lined with leaves and torn paper towels. Put the nestling in the basket and hang it in a tree near the site where the bird was found, avoiding direct sunlight. Their own parents are their best caretakers, feeding them every five to ten minutes. Stay out of sight and watch for the parents. If a parent does not return within an hour, call a rehabilitator. Do NOT give food or water.

Fledglings have primary and secondary wing feathers and look like small adults with short tails. Although small, they are too big for the nest and actively hop and flutter about to gain strength and coordination. They spend about a week on the ground while they are learning to fly. When hungry, about every 15 minutes, fledglings call to their parents who come down to feed and tend to them. Fledgling activities on the ground often attract the attention of cats and dogs. If your pet catches a fledgling, call a rehabilitator immediately, as the baby bird may need medical attention. Do NOT give food or water.

Baby mammals that look cuddly and helpless tend to bring out our nurturing instincts. However, it is important to remember they do not understand we are trying to help them and can react defensively. If the animal appears alert, healthy, and out of harm’s way (this includes extreme cold), leave them alone and remain hidden for a few hours so that the parent will return. They will not come back if they see you. Pets and children must also be out of sight.

Opossums: Do not attempt to rescue if the animal appears healthy and measures at least 9 inches nose to rump, not including the tail. This size indicates that it has dropped off its mom’s back and is big enough to be on its own. However—if the animal is injured, ant-bitten or covered in flies, call a rehabilitator. If they are less than nine inches or a “naked” baby with unopened eyes and no parent in sight, rescue it, and call a rehabilitator. Do NOT give food or water.

 

Deer: Although fawns lay quietly alone in fields, woods, and even yards, the mother is usually close by watching over her young. Do not attempt to rescue fawns unless they are covered with ants, injured, up running around ‘bleating’, or you know the mother is dead. Call a rehabilitator first. Do NOT give food or water.

 

Cottontails and swamp rabbits: Rabbits are born relatively scent-neutral, and their parents purposely stay away from them as much as possible to prevent predators from tracking them. This is important to remember if you stumble upon a seemingly ‘orphaned’ baby. Rabbits also mature very quickly and are on their own at only 30 days old. They will be fully-furred, eyes open, and the size of a baseball or larger. They also shock easily and attempts to rescue them may cause harm. If you suspect a nest of baby rabbits has been abandoned, the best thing to do is to make a recognizable pattern around the babies using a ring of flour, yarn, or sticks and leave it alone for at least 12 hours. If the mother returns to the nest, the pattern will be disturbed, and you will know that the babies are being cared for. Do NOT give food or water.

 

High-risk mammals (bats, bobcats, fox, raccoons, and skunks): In many cases, fears about rabies are out of proportion with reality. Most animals do NOT have rabies. In most cases, seeing a nocturnal animal in daytime does not mean they have rabies. Many wild mothers forage for food during daylight hours because they nurse their babies all night and daytime is the only time they have to themselves. Not all bats found on the ground are rabid. Many times, they are simply ‘grounded’ after touching down too closely while in flight. As they cannot get direct lift off the ground like birds can, they require a textured surface like a tree or brick wall to climb up, drop down, and then they let the air catch their wings. However, it is important to respect wildlife nonetheless and always give them space. Always contact a rehabilitator first for instructions on how best to proceed with an individual animal as no one rule applies to all. Do not handle or attempt to transport without professional guidance. Call a high-risk rehabilitator immediately for information on how to proceed. Do NOT give food or water.

 

Any baby that is covered in bites, scratches, ants, or flies needs to be rescued!

Rescue Techniques:
The best way to pick up an injured baby animal is to cover it with an old towel, sheet, or blanket. Covering an animal’s eyes will calm them considerably.

  1. Place the animal gently in a box on top of a soft towel.
  2. Place the box halfway on a heating pad set to the LOW setting or on a hot water bottle underneath a towel. If a heating pad is not available, use a warm rice sock (dry, uncooked rice), or a warm water bottle.
  3. Position the animal so it is warmed, but not scalded.

DO NOT FEED OR OFFER WATER. Disregard anecdotal information found online. Each baby requires specific care, which will be given by a trained and licensed rehabilitator who specializes in that species. For example, cow, goat, kitten, or puppy milks are not healthy for any wild animals and birds do not drink milk. It is extremely important to fight the urge to feed or water the animal as even the best intentions can lead to aspiration, illness, and/or death without proper training and tools. Please contact a rehabilitator first for the animal’s best interest.

Any baby that is covered with fire ants or has numerous ant bites needs to be rescued!

Rescue Techniques:
The best way to pick up an injured baby animal is to cover it with an old towel. Covering an animal’s eyes will calm it considerably.

  1. Place the animal gently in a box on top of a soft towel.
  2. Place the box halfway on a heating pad set to the LOW setting or on a hot water bottle underneath a towel.
  3. Position the animal so it is warmed, but not scalded.

DO NOT FEED OR OFFER WATER. Each baby requires specific care, which will be given by a trained and licensed rehabilitator who specializes in that species. For example, cow’s milk is not healthy for any wild animals and birds do not drink milk.