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Found an Animal?

See How We Can Help

Step 1:

Please make sure that ECWR is legally able to accept the animal. We must follow all legal requirements. 

Did you find a stranded marine mammal (alive or dead)? Call us right away at 1-855-STRAND1 (1-855-787-2631). This hotline is active 24/7 but only for marine mammal strandings.

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Step 2:

Click the button below to learn more information about the specific animal you have found.

Did you find a sick or injured animal?

ECWR does not have a full-time rescue team or professional trappers. We rely on citizens to bring wildlife in need to our facility when volunteers are not available.

Continue reading below for more details on how to proceed!

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Step 3:

Didn't find what you needed to know? Still have questions? Call our wildlife hotline any day 8am-4pm at

850-684-1485. If it's outside of our medical center operating hours, listen to our detailed voicemail.

If you need emergency wildlife help outside of our operating hours, call FWC's hotline at


Step 1: Confirm the Situation

Before capturing any wild animal, please ensure that it is actually in need of assistance. We are more than happy to help with this step while our wildlife hotline is active (Daily 8am-4pm)! Call us at


Step 2: 

Get Your Gear

You'll need gloves, a towel, and a container. Choose a container that can be securely closed but still provide air flow to the animal. See examples below.

Step 3:

Stay Calm

Please always keep your safety at the forefront of your mind. Animals that are injured or afraid will do their best to protect themselves. Stay calm, and call us if you need guidance through the capture process.

Tips to be a Citizen Rescuer

Step 4:

Wear Gloves

Wear gloves when rescuing wild animals. This will protect both you and the animal from germs, scratches, or bites.

Step 5:

Use a Towel

Many species become easier to capture once their eyes are covered. You can also use a towel to protect your hands.

Step 6:

Avoid the Danger Zone

Always restrain the most dangerous part of the animal first.

For shorebirds (like herons), it's the beak.

For mammals (like raccoons), it's their head or mouth.

For raptors (like hawks), it's the talons.

Step 6:

Use the Proper Container

When transporting an animal, always use a container that can securely latch while still providing access to air.

Equipment used

within ECWR


Example of citizen animal containment and transport box (this was used for a songbird)

I Caught the Animal... Now What?

When in doubt, keep it:


Place a soft blanket or towel into a box with a closeable lid. 

Be sure to poke air holes into it!

Tip: Do these before placing

the animal in the container.


Keep the box in a dark, temperature controlled location.

Tip: Think Goldilocks...

not too hot, not too cold!


Keep the box in a quiet location, so that noises don't scare or stress the animal.

FAQ's From Citizen Rescuers

What? Are you guys crazy? I'm not Steve Irwin!

Don't worry, neither are we! In fact, our staff, interns, and volunteers are no different than you. We're just a team of individuals passionate about wildlife. And we will walk you through it!

I don't have the technology you guys have.

We don't have the kinds of special equipment (tranquilizer gun, net gun, boat, etc.) you may be picturing. We use towels, plastic storage boxes, and common grocery store nets.

I'm not comfortable apprehending this animal. 

ECWR does NOT want you to capture any animal you're not comfortable with, especially a rabies vector species (raccoons, foxes, coyotes, etc.). However, if you are comfortable with it, always remember to use personal protective equipment.

We understand that this can be an intimidating request. For any concerns or questions, please call us at 850-684-1485 (8 am - 4 pm) and we may be able to help you further.
After hours? Message us on Facebook and we may be able to help!

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Are we too far away or unable to help? Check out Animal Help Now for wildlife rehabilitators anywhere.

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