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The heat is on and it's hurting Northern California wildlife

SACRAMENTO (CBS13) -- Triple-digit temps over the weekend pushed some local wildlife to the brink, but they are now being nurtured back to health thanks to several non-profits in the area.

"We got three this weekend, babies that were dehydrated [and] left out," said Chris Lay with the Wildlife Care Association. "Mom either ran off or got killed."

Lay is a raccoon rehabber who fosters raccoons out of her south Sacramento home and says the heatwave is hurting animals. Drought and changes in irrigation practices mean the animals are struggling to find water once found in canals and sloughs.

"Where they would usually go, there's no water. So they end up going in people's backyards which they are going to get in trouble there," Lay said.

They end up getting trapped in garages or falling in pools, if they make it that far.

Kindred Spirits Fawn Rescue says fawns are coming underdeveloped at nearly half their usual weight - with the number under a week old up nearly 20%.

This weekend, calls came in for all kinds of dehydrated animals: like an owl, a baby coyote, and a possum that nearly died seeking water.

Sadly, a hawk suffering from heat exhaustion didn't make it.

Lay says it's a labor of love nursing these baby raccoons back to health without habituating them.

"But, remember, their teeth and their toenails are so incredibly sharp. Just picking them up, if they freak, it's going to rip you open," said Lay.

The end goal is to return them to the wild.

"It's amazing when you take them out and turn them loose. The instinct takes over," said Lay.

Wildlife groups say the general public can help by leaving water out for wildlife.

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