Wildlife Assistance


The Santa Fe College Teaching Zoo is unable to accept wildlife for rehabilitation or donation. Please use the resources below to find the nearest wildlife rehabilitator or veterinarian able to assist with injured wildlife, and who to call if you are unable to care for a pet. 

Injured Wildlife

Please call before bringing the animal to these facilities. For more resources, see "Local Wildlife Rehabilitators" below

UF Vet School: 352-392-2235
Blue Pearl: 352-333-9151 

Wildlife that has been handled by a cat or dog should be examined by a wildlife veterinarian or rehabber, even without obvious injuries. UF only accepts birds from 8 a.m. - 5 p.m. 

Non-injured baby wildlife


Did you find a nest of baby birds? Leave them be and observe from afar. With patience, you should be able to observe the parent birds occasionally visit the nest with food (baby songbirds are fed every 30 minutes or less). Has the nest fallen? Call a wildlife rehabber for instruction.

Did you find a baby bird on the ground? First evaluate if the baby has feathers or fluff, and if they stand or hop around on his own. Baby birds with feathers may be found on the ground while they are fledgling (learning to fly) and can stay where they are as long as it is safe from cars and predators such as domestic cats. If that baby bird is still covered fully or partially in fluff (down feathers), they may be a nestling who has been displaced from their nest early. Monitor the bird and contact a wildlife rehabber for instruction (depending on the species, parents may feed them on the ground at that age).

Small Mammals

Are their eyes closed? Are they in an unusual place or acting unusually (on the ground, unable to climb, lacking fear of humans?) Are they cold, dirty, and/or wet? Any of these can be a sign that a young small mammal (gray squirrels, flying squirrels, rats, mice, etc) has been displaced from their nest and/or experienced some trauma, and it is best to call a wildlife rehabilitator for instruction. If the animal is alert, bright, moving well and quickly, you can leave them and monitor for any other issues. 


Mother deer cache (hide) their babies when they’re too young to follow them. Often they will cache their young fawns near humans as a means of protecting them from other predators.

A healthy fawn’s ears stay upright and they usually have clean eyes, nose, and backside. If the fawn is dirty or has droopy ears, they are dehydrated and need the assistance of a wildlife rehabilitator or wildlife veterinarian. If the fawn is clean and appears healthy, leave it be. Mom typically comes back and may just be searching for food or observing her young from a distance. If you see a fawn alone and calm, its mother is likely nearby. Give the parents a few hours to return before calling your local rehabilitator or veterinarian. If you are unsure, call your regional FWC office.

Local wildlife rehabilitators permitted by FWC

  • Gainesville - Cicada Wildlife Station. 352-665-4579
  • Gainesville - Secret Squirrel Rehabilitation (squirrels, armadillos, opossums). 352-870-6213 
  • High Springs - Shirley Morgensen. 386-454-2702 or 352-538-7354 
  • High Springs - Sunrise Wildlife Rehabilitation. 352-222-2239 
  • For counties other than Alachua look at FWC's licensed wildlife rehabilitators list

Non-injured exotic wildlife

Call FWC Exotic Species Hotline at 888-483-4681 to report (i.e. if you spot an iguana in a tree).
A list of nonnative species in Florida can be found on FWC's website.

Unwanted exotic pets

You can surrender your exotic pet at FWC's Exotic Pet Amnesty Day events, or by calling the Exotic Species Hotline at 888-483-4681. Most exotic pets, including ones held illegally, are accepted without penalty.

Domestic Animals

Animal Control: 352-264-6870 (closed Mondays)

A note about animal donations and choosing pets wisely

Due to limited space, staffing, and funding, we are unable to accommodate animal donations. The Santa Fe College Teaching Zoo receives more than 100 donation offers each year of exotic pets such as green iguanas, parrots, boa constrictors, ball pythons, sugar gliders, etc. These numbers are staggering and continue unabated year after year. Many folks do not realize or were not truly prepared for the long term personal and financial commitment required to maintain exotic animals as pets.

Do not release an exotic or non-native animal into the wild. It is illegal and inhumane. Most captive animals are poorly equipped to survive in the wild. Alternately, if by chance they do survive, invasive exotic species are a serious threat to our native wildlife.