At any given time, the Anniston Museum of Natural History houses and cares for 40-60 live animals. While we are not a wildlife rehabilitation center, we strive to educate and advise our guests about what to do with injured and orphaned wildlife. We recognize that our community cares deeply about the well-being of our native wildlife, and while we cannot accept or care for injured or orphaned animals found in our area, we can refer available resources for the public that will help answer many of the questions we are asked. These resources will offer specific advice to the public if an injured or orphaned wild animal is found.
If one finds baby birds, rabbits, or any other small animal that seems to be abandoned, please keep in mind that sometimes the mother is nearby. The best response is to the leave the animal alone. Baby birds found on the ground often fledge the nest and are cared for by their parents. Some of these animals will perish, with or without human intervention. However harsh or sad this may seem, it often serves as a greater purpose in the circle of life. Every day in nature, animals become food for other animals in the food chain. This is simply how nature functions.
In spring and early summer, we often see people removing turtles that are found crossing the road. Sometimes the Good Samaritan will take the turtle home or find another spot far from the road to relocate the turtle. Many times, the turtles that are found crossing our roads and highways are mothers, making their way to their yearly nesting spot. If they are taken from their familiar nesting area, the stress can actually make them egg-bound, and they could die. It is in their best interest to carefully help them cross the road in the same direction they are headed, and let them reach their chosen destination on their own.
If an injured or orphaned bird of prey is found, such as a hawk or owl, please call the Alabama Wildlife Center in Oak Mountain State Park at 205-663-7390 x 2. One must be EXTREMELY careful with birds of prey – even injured ones – as their talons can inflict serious injuries.
Please call the Alabama Wild Center Wildlife Hotline at 205-663-7930 x 2 with any questions about orphaned or injured birds. They are a licensed wildlife rehabilitation center and have experts on staff. You may visit their website at www.awrc.org.
For questions about orphaned or injured mammals, please call the Wild Mammal Care of Alabama at 205-871-7803.
For local, current wildlife rehabilitators, visit https://www.outdooralabama.com/wildlife-rehabilitation/current-wildlife-rehabbers.