Animal Care Instructions

The proper first response to wildlife in crisis can have a definite effect on survival rates. Please remember the following:

  • Handle all animals with extreme care.
  • Always wear gloves.
  • Wash your hands thoroughly after animal contact.
  • If bitten, contact your doctor immediately.

Basic Emergency Care for Injured Animals

If you have found an injured animal, please follow these instructions:

  • Prepare a cardboard box or pet carrier by placing an old towel or rags inside. The box should only be large enough for the animal to rest comfortably in but not so large that it can thrash around and cause further damage. Make sure there is adequate ventilation.
  • Wear heavy gloves to prevent risk of injury or transfer of diseases.
  • If the animal is small and not attempting to bite, scratch or puncture you with talons, pick it up and place it in the container.
  • If the animal is large or attempting to do any of the above, gently use a broom or similar item to scoot it into the container. If the animal is winged, you can throw a sheet or blanket over it and slide it into the box.
  • Keep in mind when capturing the animal the way in which it hunts or forages for food. Does it use its talons, its beak or its teeth to hunt? It will also use these to defend itself.
  • Be mindful of the animal and the chosen transport container. Make sure that it is secure. Many animals can squeeze through the smallest of gaps and can push or pull with great strength when scared. Also, many animals such as chipmunks and squirrels can chew through cardboard. Keep this in mind as loose animals in a car can be a tricky situation.
  • Place the container in a warm, dark, quiet place away from people and pets to reduce its stress until you are able to get it to Walden’s Puddle or your local wildlife rehabilitator.
  • Warmth is critical as the animal’s body temperature is lowered when in shock. It may be helpful to place a heating pad on LOW underneath only half of the animal’s box or carrier.

Professionalism and Care at Walden’s Puddle

Our Animal Care Staff has many years of in-class and field experience. All animal care employees have received training in Basic Wildlife Rehabilitation offered by the International Wildlife Rehabilitation Council (IWRC). They also receive continuing education through the National Wildlife Rehabilitation Association (NWRA). They are trained to care for most animals that are native to Tennessee.

Walden’s Puddle maintains permits and strong collaborative relationships with the two governmental organizations that oversee wildlife rehabilitation -Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency (TWRA) and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. We are also permitted by the USDA. Walden’s Puddle receives no government funding.

We are members of the National Wildlife Rehabilitator’s Association (NWRA), the International Wildlife Rehabilitation Council (IWRC) and the Tennessee Wildlife Educators and Rehabilitators Association (TWERA).

Please Note

Tennessee state law prohibits individuals from keeping wild animals without a permit. This is done for the well being of the animal and you. Walden’s will assist you with emergency instructions for wildlife care until you can until you can bring the animal in to our facility. We are not allowed to provide feeding instructions due to state law.

Please schedule an appointment. Call (615) 299-9938 and LEAVE A MESSAGE. DO NOT E-MAIL.

We may not be able to answer immediately so please leave a message. We will return your call as promptly as possible and schedule a time for your admission.

By law, we can only rehabilitate animals found in Tennessee.