If you find an animal in distress, please call us at (609) 303-0552. The animal may not actually need assistance and removing it from its environment may cause more harm. We will help you decide whether the animal needs care and, if necessary, ask you to bring it to the Center.

Before bringing an animal to us for treatment, please keep it warm and quiet. Handle it as little as possible and keep it away from pets and children. Do not feed the animal or force it to drink water! Any attempt to offer food or water may not be in the best interest of the animal and may actually, in fact, cause harm.

Bringing Patients to the Center
The Mercer County Wildlife Center cares for more than 2,300 animals a year - this keeps us very busy! Therefore, we are not equipped to provide a pick-up service for patients. If an animal needs care, we will tell you how to handle and transport the animal safely or make a referral.

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We accept patients for treatment seven days a week.
Our hours are seasonal:

May through September

9:00 am to 6:00 pm

October through April

9:00 am to 4:00 pm

When you bring an animal for treatment, a staff member will log the animal into our computer system and assign it a case number. If you would like to follow the animal's progress, make sure you have the case number handy when you call so we can locate the animal's patient history.

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A Note About Domestic Animals
We do not accept domestic animals for treatment. If you find a domestic animal in need of care, we will be happy to provide local referral information.
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Do All Animals Need Our Help?
We will help you determine whether an animal needs assistance when you call the Center. An owl that has flown into the path of an oncoming car and has injured its wing, for example, most definitely needs help. However, many young wild animals that may appear to be abandoned really are not. Their mothers are most likely nearby and will return to feed them throughout the day. Here are some ways to tell if young animals need assistance:

  • Fawns Photo of White-tail deer fawn
    If white-tail deer visit your property throughout the year, do not be surprised if you discover a fawn curled up, much like a sleeping cat, close to your house during May and June. This fawn is not abandoned and does not need your help. The mother will return at night to care for the fawn. If it is still in the same spot the following morning, call the Center for further information. On the other hand signes or distress include, a fawn lying beside a dead mother along the side of a road or a fawn lying on its side or attracting flies. These situations do require assistance.

  • Eastern Cottontails (Rabbits)photo of Eastern Cottontails (Rabbits)
    Eastern cottontails nest in small depressions in the ground, typically near bushes, but sometimes out in the open or in a flower bed. The nest is often covered with loose grass. Mother rabbits nurse their young near dawn and then leave the nest until dusk, when they return to nurse again. If you are in doubt as to whether the mother is actually returning to the nest, place a few pieces of string across the nest and check it the next morning. If the string has been disturbed, chances are very good that the mother returned to check on her young.

    Young cottontails are ready to leave the nest at three to four weeks of age. At this stage, they are fully furred, their eyes are open, and they are no longer nursing. They may appear to be too small to be on their own, but unless they are injured they do not need our assistance.

  • Birds photo of Bluebird
    Parents of young songbirds come back to the nest to feed their young often throughout the day—at least every hour. Beginning in early summer, you may notice fledglings (young birds that are just learning to fly and have just left the nest) on the ground or even perched on your patio furniture. These birds may look abandoned but their parents are most likely nearby, either watching for danger or finding food. If you watch quietly from a distance, shortly you will probably see a parent come to the young bird with a tasty morsel or softly call it beneath a nearby bush for safety. Other than keeping pets away, this bird does not need our help.

    If the bird has not moved in hours, if you have not seen its parents return, or if it is injured, the bird most likely needs our help.
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