Crafting Wildlife Rescue Nests

You can help out orphaned, sick, and injured animals by making artificial nests! Many wildlife rehabilitation groups use soft crocheted or knit nests for the animals they care for, especially for the baby and younger animals. The basic patterns are easy so all levels of stitchers can make them, and they are a great way to use up scrap yarn.

Bunnies in nest from Hope Haven Wildlife Centre in Ontario Canada via Wildlife Rescue Nests

The nests help the animals regulate their body temperature, and are cozy just like natural nests would be. They need to be changed frequently so they can be washed, so having extra nests is often useful for the rescue organizations.

There are several groups which offer free crochet and knit patterns for the nests. Different rescue organizations need different types of nests, depending on the ones they already have and the types of animals they care for. For example, some nests might be small, stand-alone bowls. Others might be a “cave” shape for burrowing animals. Others might hang from a support.

The typical animal you think of that would need a nest is a bird, but they are also used for bunnies, opossums, squirrels, bats, wallabies, and other animals.

Nest criteria

  • Very tightly knit or crocheted, many times with two strands of yarn — the nests should stand on their own, and animal legs/toes/claws should not be able to get through the stitches and cause further injury
  • Smooth machine washable yarn — Super Saver is great since it is sturdy and washes easily, but please do not use textured yarn or yarn with pieces that the animals can ingest
  • Any color yarn you would like! It’s a great way to use up scraps, since the animals don’t care about the color
  • Sizes from tiny (smaller than a preemie hat) to adult hat size, or larger for certain groups — check the requests of the volunteer group you are working with or the rescue you will be donating to in order to see what is needed

Volunteer Groups

opossum in nest
Opossum in hanging nest from Wildlife Welfare in North Carolina via Wildlife Rescue Nests

Here are some volunteer groups offering nest patterns and addresses of wildlife rescue groups to send nests to. If you don’t see information about your country on this list, do an internet search and you will probably be able to find one. Check to make sure they’re still active before you send in nests.

Coats & Clark does not endorse any of the groups listed. Organizations are listed for the convenience of our audience.

Bev’s Country Cottage

WildCare’s Baby Bird Nest Campaign (has good information, but is on hiatus in 2016 for donations)

Wildlife Rescue Nests for Wildlife Rehabilitators website and Facebook

Header image: Two cardinals in a nest from Songbirds Only Avian Rehabilitation via Wildlife Rescue Nests
Thanks to Wildlife Rescue Nests for providing pictures.

2 thoughts on “Crafting Wildlife Rescue Nests

  1. Donna Ackels

    would love instructions on making the nests and the one the possum is in, I am thinking that could also be used at cat rescues

    • redheart Post author

      Dear Donna, Thank you for your question. If you visit the website of one of the volunteer organizations we listed in the blog, you can find free knit and crochet nest patterns.

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