Injured Wildlife

Nature Reach is no longer a licensed wildlife rehabilitation facility. 

We cannot take injured or abandoned wildlife. The closest rehab facility in Kansas is Operation Wildlife.

General Information—Including Prevention!

Home/Property Invasions:

Do yourself and the animals a favor. Make the area surrounding your property inhospitable. You can do things such as covering window wells and chimneys with wire mesh so wildlife has less of a chance of creating nests or falling into places where they cannot get out. Rodents and bats can get through holes the size of a dime so keep your home in good repair if at all possible. Inspect your house and outbuildings regularly. If you notice animals such as squirrels gnawing in places where they shouldn't, take action now rather than later. It is much easier to try to prevent problems before they arise.

Other things to do to prevent wildlife from causing trouble around your house:

  • Have locking lids on trash cans
  • Add fencing around the bottom of your porch/deck
  • Fence off sensitive areas such gardens
  • Plug holes in and around buildings
  • Do not leave cat and dog food out for stray animals—pet food is highly attractive to raccoons, skunks, and opossums!
  • Keep your pets inside
  • Do not kill every snake you see around your home. Most snakes are not venomous in this area. They significantly reduce the rodent population in the area.
  • Need help with snake identification? Visit the Great Plains Nature Center for assistance.

Have other questions? Contact us! 


Mammals (including bats)


How do I remove bats from my home?

Try watching where they are going in and out when they are most active, at dusk. When they leave to feed, close up the holes so they cannot get back into your home.

If you would like to help bats, put up bat houses near the entry. Remember, bats are quite helpful because they eat a lot of insects.

Is the bat gray in color? If so, it might be a gray bat (Myotis grisescens), give us a call or send us an e-mail with a photo attached. Gray bats are a federally endangered species, and we would like to know where they are!

If you still need help, you may contact:

Interstate Exterminators (620) 231-3060. They may be able to provide additional advice. They do charge a service fee.


I found an abandoned fawn. What should I do?

Immediately take the fawn back to the spot where you found it and leave it there. The mother should come back again looking for the fawn. The mother was probably feeding not far away when you found the fawn. Even if you have touched the fawn, the parent will still likely take care of it. 


I rolled over a nest of bunnies with my lawn mower. They appear to be fine, but I don’t see the mother.

Place a piece of string over the nest if you are not sure the mother is feeding. If the string was disturbed overnight, the mother is still taking care of them.

My cat found a nest of baby bunnies!

Put them back where you found them. Even if you have touched the babies, the parent will still likely take care of it. If they are still in a nest, place a 2’ X 2’ or larger piece of flat wood over the nest, with the wood perched on bricks or other material so that the parent cottontail can get to the youngsters but dogs or cats cannot. Keep your pets indoors. 


I think the storm blew this baby squirrel out of the nest last night. What should I do with it?

Put the squirrel in a small container at the base of the nearest tree. The adult squirrel will retrieve the baby if it is left alone. 


I found baby raccoons on the ground near a large tree. Should I bring them home and care for them?

No. Most likely the young raccoons are merely exploring and their mother is nearby. They are probably old enough to capably climb back up the tree to their den when they are ready to return.

I have a young skunk stuck in my trash dumpster/window well. How do I get it out?

Put a board, ladder, or something similar in the dumpster for the animal so it can climb out of the dumpster on its own.

Something ate my chickens last night! What should I do?

It is up to you to predator proof your chicken coop. Mammals or other animals, including raptors, are just doing what comes naturally to them. If you have a problem animal, you can purchase and place a live trap. If you need verbal assistance on how and where to place the trap, give us a call, and we will walk you through the steps over the phone.


A baby bird has fallen from its tree nest in my backyard. Should I bring it into the house and feed it until it is able to fly?

No. The best thing to do is put the bird carefully back into the nest, or shepherd it into some thick shrubbery or other protected space in your yard. The parents will continue to feed and care for the fledgling. Also, keep your dogs and cats in the house to allow the young bird’s parents to care for it. As a last resort, a nestling can be placed in a clear plastic butter dish with a napkin in the bottom. This artificial nest can then be put in a bush or tree near the place the nestling was found.

I saw a hawk on the ground. It might have a broken wing.

Since there are federal laws against possession of migratory birds, including hawks and owls, see the contact information below for licensed rehabilitators or contact the nearest office of the Kansas Department of Wildlife, Parks, and Tourism.

Keep in mind that sometimes raptors have just finished a meal and are so full, they cannot fly until part of their meal is digested.

Finally, if a raptor has been on the ground for several days due to a broken bone, it is highly unlikely that a rehabilitator (even with the help of a trained veterinarian) will be able to rehabilitate that bird back to full health. It may still end up being euthanized, if it is not placed in a permanent educational facility like a zoo or nature center.

Birds keep flying into my windows and hurting/killing themselves!

  • Put up window stickers so birds can see that it is a window. 
  • Hang paper or curtains on the inside of the glass if you think the birds see their own reflections.
  • If the bird does knock itself out—leave it alone or put it in a box or paper sack for 20 minutes so it can recover. Usually, they are just stunned. If it still not acting normally, place it back outside, out of immediate danger to people, pets, or extreme weather. 

Help! Woodpeckers are drilling on my house!

Hang tin foil or Mylar strips on the outside of your house. Birds don’t like the movement.

I was hunting and found this eagle—it was unable to fly, shaking, and disoriented.

This bird likely has lead poisoning. Leave the bird there and call a licensed rehabilitator and/or Kansas Department of Wildlife, Parks, and Tourism.

An Owl/Hawk has flown into my barbed wire fence. What should I do?

  • Immediately contact KDWPT, a game warden, or a licensed rehabilitator.
  • If you must handle the bird, wear very thick gloves such as welding gloves.
  • Cut the bird out of the fence. Cut the fence and NOT the bird! Fences can be repaired; a bird cannot obtain a new wing.
  • Get the bird to a rehabilitator immediately.
  • Keep in mind raptors are highly dangerous animals. See comments below about handling animals.


What should I do if I find a raptor?

Many people are unsure about what to do if they find a raptor in need of help. Because all raptors are protected by law, it is important that you do not try to heal or raise a raptor yourself. Many of the young raptors people find are not orphans. At the fledgling stage, a young bird will exercise its wings vigorously and may fall out of the nest. Intense storms may also blow young birds from the nest.

If you find a young bird, look for a nest and carefully place the bird back in it or as close to it as possible. Its parents will probably continue to care for it. Watch from a distance, and if you do not see the parents after a couple of days, contact the proper agency.

Nature Reach is no longer a rehabilitation facility. The closest rehab facility in Kansas is Operation Wildlife.

If you find an abandoned or injured raptor in Kansas, contact the Kansas Department of Wildlife, Parks and Tourism at (620) 231-3173.


But what if the animal dies?

Death is an integral part of the natural world. It may even represent life to another wildlife species, which can use that animal as sustenance or to feed their young. Many animals die before reaching adulthood. For example, more than 75 percent of all rabbits die before they reach five months of age. While it may seem disheartening to see a young animal die, it represents only one individual in an entire population, which could not thrive if all young survived.

It’s common to encounter young wild animals, especially in spring and summer. Some people have an irresistible attraction to these wild youngsters and want to take them home. Every year, the lives of young wild animals are needlessly jeopardized by well-intentioned people who take them from the wild with the mistaken belief that the animals are abandoned or orphaned and will die if not given care. In fact, rescuing wildlife from the wild often results in the death of the animal.


Reasons to leave wildlife in the wild

1. They’re not abandoned.

Bird and animal mothers will often leave their young while they search for food during the day. This is the time when the young are most vulnerable to well-meaning humans. Young fawns, for example, are quite safe when left alone because their color pattern and lack of scent help them to remain undetected until their mothers return. The adult animal is probably waiting for you to leave so it can return to care for its young.

2. It’s illegal.

Picking up young animals is against the law. Both the Kansas Department of Wildlife, Parks, and Tourism and the Kansas Department of Health and Environment have regulations against such activity. Fines can be up to $1,000. State permits are required to legally possess most species of wild animals. For some species, federal permits are required and fines are more severe.

3. They may carry disease.

Even though they may look cute and fuzzy, wild animals carry a number of potential health threats. Rabies can be transmitted from a bite or saliva contacting an open wound. Distemper and rabies are the most common illnesses that household pets acquire from wild animals. Ticks and fleas borne by some animals carry lyme and other diseases. Wild animals may also carry bacteria, roundworms, tapeworms, mites, and/or protozoans that can cause diseases in humans or their pets.

4. They’re not pets.

Although young animals may be cute and cuddly, they are wild animals. Many well-meaning people have taken young animals home, and then quickly learned that they’re not equipped to handle the animal as it matures. “Adopting” young wild animals may be an irresistible urge for some people, but wild animals typically make poor pets as adults. Many people have been injured by animals that initially seemed easily tamed.

5. Good intentions can be deadly.

Many animals taken into captivity soon die. Those that don’t are denied the opportunity to learn how to survive in their natural environment, so they seldom develop the skills necessary for them to survive when they are eventually returned to the wild. Their ability to find natural foods is hindered, and the natural wariness that is learned in the wild is impaired. Young wildlife raised in captivity often develop an attachment to humans. Upon their release to the wild, they may have little fear of people and return to make nuisances of themselves, or put themselves in danger of traffic or attack from domestic animals. Furthermore, when released to the wild, they may be thrust as unwelcome intruders into the home range of another member of their species, or you might relocate an animal with disease into a population that did not have the disease.


Why doesn't Pittsburg State's Nature Reach Program have a Rehabilitation Program anymore?

Nature Reach is, first and foremost, an educational outreach program. As such, the animals currently in the program are given our full attention to ensure that they receive proper care. As federal and state funds have decreased in recent years, so too have our program options. Unfortunately, Nature Reach simply does not have the funding or the facilities to properly house a rehabilitation program anymore. Per federal and state regulation, we would first need to build an appropriate building and outdoor facility dedicated to rehabilitation. We would also need to have steady funding to pay at least one full-time rehabilitator and a few part-time paid staff. Volunteers and paid staff would need annual training which is costly. Finally, we would need a substantial budget just for feed. Here is one example. If we were called to “rescue” a nest of barn owls (they can have 1-11 owlets per nest) below is what it would cost. Let’s assume there are six owlets that are approximately two weeks old. They will need care for at least 28 more days. One rat will cost about $1.75 each.

6 owlets x 2 rats/day x 28 days = 336 rats x $1.75 = $588.00!

In one spring, we may get 10-20 calls about a nest of owlets needing rescue, in addition to the calls about automobile collisions or other incidents. Finally, that dollar amount does not take into account any medical issues that may arise or the personnel hours needed to prepare food, keep records, or clean up after the animals.


If you have to handle an animal

This is ONLY to be done to get it out of immediate danger or to take it to a licensed rehabilitation center. Keep in mind you are putting yourself AT RISK OF SERIOUS INJURY. It is your choice to handle that animal. We do no suggest handling any wildlife if at all possible. Please make sure you have made every attempt possible to contact a game warden, KDWPT, or a licensed rehabilitator before handling the animal.

  • Quickly secure the animal by immobilizing its limbs and/or head. Keep in mind, the animal is terrified and hurt. Even if the animal appears too weak to cause harm, always wear protection (gloves, goggles, proper shoes and clothing). Examples:
    • Raptors will use their talons to defend themselves.
    • Vultures will bite and vomit.
    • Waterfowl (such as herons) will try to stab your face with their beaks.
    • Mammals (or any animal with a mouth) will try to bite and could cause physical damage or spread disease through saliva.
  • Keep the animal warm and in a dark, quiet, safe space such as a covered pet porter or box.
  • Do not feed the animal.
  • Do not check on the animal every five minutes. It will cause unnecessary stress.
  • You have 24 hours to get it to a licensed rehabilitator. If 24 hours have passed, you will need to release it back where you found it.
  • Remember veterinarians are not necessarily licensed rehabilitators, and may not have experience with wild animals.


What can I do to help wildlife?

  • Contribute through funding or volunteer time to local conservation organizations.
  • Plant wildlife friendly plants in your garden—you won’t have to water as much, you’ll have free seed for songbirds, and you will help increase important insect populations such as bees and butterflies! Visit Monarch Watch for more information.

  • Grow Native!
  • Pick up trash, and don’t forget to reduce, reuse, and recycle! Many animals are killed because they eat or get themselves caught in everything from wrappers to fast food bags.
  • If you fish, please make sure you don’t leave your excess fishing line on the bank. Many animals will get entangled or try to eat the line.
  • Don’t forget to include the kids! Instilling an environmental ethic in the next generation is one of the most important things you can do! Remember, they learn by watching what you do!


Contact Information for Licensed Wildlife Rehabilitation

Keep in mind that wildlife rehabilitators cannot legally cross state lines with wildlife.

If you live in Kansas, visit the KDWPT Rehabilitation website for a list of licensed rehabilitators.

If you live in Missouri or Illinois, visit the Bi-State Wildlife Hotline for a list of licensed rehabilitators.

If you live in Oklahoma, visit the Oklahoma Rehabilitator website for a list of licensed rehabilitators. 

If you live in another state, visit The Humane Society of the United States Wildlife Rehabilitator directory.

*  Information reprinted with permission from KDWPT’s brochure “Do Them a Favor.”