BOYCE, Va. (WRIC) — Finding baby animals in the spring can be exciting, but there are some caveats when it comes to wildlife. Virginia State Police is referring Virginians to the Blue Ridge Wildlife Center’s guidelines on how to handle baby raccoons this season.

Baby raccoons can be spotted across the Commonwealth as early as April, according to Blue Ridge Wildlife. As a result, rehabilitation facilities that take in injured or orphaned raccoons often fill up quickly.

While it is illegal in Virginia to trap and relocate raccoons, Blue Ridge Wildlife offers some tips on what to do should you come across baby raccoons without their mother.

Do not move them

  • Leave the raccoons where you found them in a box or blanket overnight. Don’t hesitate to call the Blue Ridge Wildlife hotline at 540-837-900, or your local rehabilitator, for more information on care techniques.

Do not feed them food or water

  • According to Blue Ridge Wildlife, allowing babies to reunite with their mothers is their best chance for survival. With a box, blanket, and — if needed — a warm rice sock or another heating source, leave the babies where they were found overnight and give the mother time to reunite with them.

Use gloves

  • Always wear gloves when handling or touching raccoons. Compared to other wildlife, they are at a higher risk of carrying rabies.

If the animals are still there after one night, contact your local rehabilitator to arrange for help.

For more tips and information on finding baby animals this season, visit Blue Ridge Wildlife’s Facebook page.