What do I do if I find an injured/orphaned animal?

Firstly, check that the area is safe for both yourself and anyone else at the scene. Do not put yourself in danger i.e. go into deep water or stand in the middle of a busy road.

If you are unsure of whether the animal needs help or not please always call first for advice. This is especially relevant for baby birds, deer fawns, seals on a beach and hedgehogs out in the day time.

Smaller animals (birds, hedgehogs, mice etc)

  • Try to contain them, a towel or sheet is especially useful for this, although a jacket or jumper can work just as well.
  • Secure the animal in a cardboard box or pet carrier. A useful technique for catching a bird is to throw a towel onto the bird to prevent it from escaping, be careful of the talons (claws on feet) with birds of prey.
  • Once secured keep the animal somewhere dark, warm and quiet until help can be found.

Larger animals (Deer, Foxes, Badgers, Swans)

  • Caution is urged. They can seriously injure someone if they are not familiar with handling them.
  • Always call a wildlife rescue prior to acting.
  • If the animal is in a state of collapse, cover the head with a towel or jacket as this will help to keep the animal calm until help arrives.
  • If a large animal is hit and is in the middle of a road call the police as they will need to also attend the scene to make it safe.

Once the animal is contained you can call your nearest wildlife rescue centre (you can use a directory such as www.helpwildlife.co.uk to find it) or the RSPCA on 03001234999. Do not give food or syringe fluids to any injured/orphaned animal before seeking advice from a wildlife rescue centre.

HART are always happy to advise on how to contain or deal with a wildlife casualty no matter where you are based and you can reach us on 01420562335 and there is an out of hours number on the answer machine (please do not turn up at the hospital without phoning first).

 It is also possible to phone around your local veterinary practices to see if any of them are willing to help with wildlife as well. The vets are also welcome to call HART for any advice on how to proceed with the patient.