Unsure whether to call the hotline? Here are some answers to common questions:

If you currently have an injured animal, stop reading, call the Hotline, and click here.

I have an animal living under/in my house or deck, and I don't want it there. What do I do?

  • Call the AWES exclusion service at (707)992-0276

I found a baby bunny or fawn in my yard, with no mother. Do you take orphaned bunnies and fawns?

  • Most likely the baby is not orphaned. Rabbits and deer leave their young and come back to feed them and check on them at dawn and dusk. Put the baby back where you found it, and the mother will take care of it. If you are uncertain if the mother is there, you can put a ring of flour around the baby bunny and look for footprints. Wild rabbits have a very low survival rate in captivity, and it is best for them to stay with their mother. If you find an injured fawn, please call Fawn Rescue at (707) 931-4550

I found a baby mammal. 

Can you trap and remove a nuisance animal?

  • It is illegal in the state of California to relocate wildlife. If you have caught an animal on your property, you must release it on your property. If you are afraid to release the animal on your property by yourself and need assistance, call AWES at (707) 992-0276.  If the trapped animal is injured, leave a message on the hotline.

I saw an injured animal by the side of the road. Can you come and get it?

  • We can only come and rescue animals if a finder is willing to wait and watch the animal. Otherwise, animals usually slink away, and we can’t find them to help them. If you can wait nearby, leave a message on the hotline.

I saw a skunk or raccoon during the day. Does it have rabies?

  • While odd behavior can be indicative of rabies, and skunks are a rabies vector species, occurrence of rabies in skunks is very low in Sonoma County. For exact statistics, contact the Health Department. It is not uncommon to see raccoons or skunks during the day, especially in times of drought. When food sources at night are not sufficient, they will extend their foraging hours into daylight.  However, if you see them circling, stumbling, or falling down, this may be a sign of distemper. Please leave a message on the hotline.

I have opossums/skunks/raccoons in my yard at night and I don’t want them there!

  • Animals come into your yard to seek food, water, or shelter, not just to annoy you. If you remove the reason for their attraction to your area, you can discourage them from coming. 

  • First, remove any food sources like cat or dog food, or open garbage cans.  Animals can also be attracted to grubs in a well-watered lawn. There are natural substances called milky spore and parasitic nematodes that can remove certain species of grubs in your lawn. This is safe, effective, and long lasting.

  • Next, discourage them from taking shelter. If you have a woodpile, elevate it to discourage nesting. You can place rags in a bowl of ammonia or bleach to create an unpleasant smell, which may discourage wildlife visits.  We sell a product called “Predator Scent” which is mountain lion or coyote excrement. This can also help to scare away unwanted wildlife.  A motion activated light or sprinkler is another useful tool.

There’s a bat in my house! Can you get it out?

  • If it is trapped, leave a message on the rescue hotline. Bats are a rabies vector species. If anyone is bitten trying to help a bat, the bat must be sent to Animal Control and tested for rabies. We have some trained volunteers who are vaccinated, and can help you remove the bat. If you have a persistent bat problem, it is an exclusion case. Call the AWES exclusion service at (707) 992-0276

My dog was sprayed by a skunk!

  • There are many skunk smell remover formulas. Tomato juice is completely ineffective. Volunteers here who work with skunks recommend this:

Mix the following:

1 quart 3 percent hydrogen peroxide
1/4 cup baking soda (sodium bicarbonate)
1 teaspoon liquid soap or dish detergent
Mix these together and bathe ("shampoo" in or rub down) the spray victim thoroughly.
Be sure to use this mixture immediately after it is created, as it is unstable.
Rinse with tap water afterward, and repeat if necessary.
For spray in the eyes, flush with water as soon as possible.

What do I do if I find a baby bird on the ground?

  • Bring it in for an exam, as it may be injured from the fall. If it is healthy, we’ll send it back with you to put it back in the nest. The mother will not reject it.  Depending on the species of bird, we may refer you to a different rehabilitation organization.

I found an opossum and I think it has rabies. It is hissing and drooling.

  • This opossum most likely does not have rabies. They hiss, drool, and play dead as a defense mechanism. The opossum is probably scared of you. Furthermore, the opossum’s body temperature is so low that the rabies virus doesn’t thrive in opossums. If the opossum is injured, we’ll gladly take care of it. Leave a message on the hotline.

I put out a trap for Animal A but caught Animal B.  What do I do?

  • It is illegal to trap and relocate animals in the state of California. See Trapping Laws. Release the animal you caught by accident. If it is stuck in part of the trap, or it has been injured in the trapping process, call the hotline. If you are scared to release it by yourself, call AWES at (707) 992-0276

I found a stray cat that seems to be injured.

  • We work with wild animals only.  Please call your local animal control or humane society. Forgotten Felines of Sonoma County deals with stray cats. Their number is (707) 576-7999.

I found an injured wild pig. Can you help it?

  • Unfortunately, our permits do not cover wild pigs, as the Department of Fish and Wildlife views them as a domestic animal and an invasive species. We are unable to help wild pigs. Please call the Department of Fish and Wildlife at (707) 944-5500

We disturbed a nest of baby animals by mistake. What do we do?

  • First, place the nest back as close to the original area as possible.  If the nest itself is destroyed, you can put babies in a box with a towel in it in the same area. Leave the area undisturbed for about 24 hours to give the mother a chance to move her babies to another area. If the mother has left any or all babies behind after this time period, please call the hotline. 


   (707) 526- WILD

   (707) 526-9453

   Answered 9AM to 10PM 

   Seven Days a Week

Hotline FAQ