Wildlife First Aid

Found a Wildlife Casualty?
Please read the following information regarding your next steps while waiting for help – your actions now could greatly effect the animal’s chances of successful recovery and rehabilitation.

The span of the charity’s work and wide range of species we deal with is immeasurable; the following advice is for basic guidance only on the basis of what we feel is most important during the initial phase of treatment for a sick or injured wild animal.

Please contact us for more information on what to do next after following this initial advice – you may also contact your local veterinary surgery if you feel the animal requires more urgent care or euthanasia to avoid further suffering to the animal in question.

To rescue or not to rescue?

Please consider the situation in which the animal was found and if intervention is truly necessary before taking an animal from the wild.
Many, many cases we deal with each year involve situations where animals have been needlessly picked up when they should’ve been left alone.

We cannot provide a definitive list, but the following scenarios generally do not require an animal to be rescued;

      • Uninjured Fledgling Birds – Fledgling birds are of an age where they have left the nest and have developed some but not all their feathers – they can STAND and run around, but CANNOT yet take flight – this is a NATURAL process afforded to ALL wild birds you will see in your garden – taking a bird under these circumstances is totally unnecessary and will only delay the bird’s natural development in captivity while also adding pressure to hand rearing resources of the charity. If you’re unsure, you can send us Photos or Videos to aid identification via Facebook or Whatsapp – see our Contact Us page for more info.


      • Hedgehogs found after dark – In most cases, Hedgehogs found out after dark do not require rescue. These nocturnal animals are active only after dark and are behaving normally. We DO NOT support removing any animals from their natural environment to suit human preference. Hedgehogs like most wild animals will carry some number of external parasites – only large burdens require treatment and Hedgehogs should not be removed from the wild solely for the purpose of removing a single Tick, for example. Please contact us before taking action.


      • Leverets found alone – Leverets are Baby Hares – they spend most of their time left alone in shallow dips above ground away from siblings and their Mother – typically, they are only fed twice a day and become more active after dark. If you come across a Leveret in such an environment, please do not touch the youngster and leave well alone. If you are unsure if this is the right thing to do in your situation, please contact us for advice.

      • Swan with Broken Leg on water – See PHOTO EXAMPLE HERE. If you observe a Swan on water with it’s leg out of the water held across it’s back, this is not a broken leg; the bird is simply resting and doesn’t require any help. In the photo example, you can see numerous birds do this regularly and it is not a cause for concern.


In all other incidents, please contact us for advice and we will look to see if we can help.


Found a Fox/Badger/Otter/Deer/Large Seabird?

If you have found a large animal, such as a Fox/Deer/Badger/Otter or large Seabird, please think of your own safety and of others around you. We do NOT advise untrained and inexperienced persons to handle any of the above rescue incidents and request you contact us immediately for advice before proceeding any further. These animals require specialist handling and knowledge of each species to ensure rescue work is completed safely for both the animal and everyone involved.

Found a Hedgehog our during the day?

If you have seen a Hedgehog out during the daytime, please first consider the following information. Hedgehogs are nocturnal animals and should therefore should not be seen out during the day – this is a common indicator of a problem that requires further investigation and prompt action.
There is however, one exception to this rule – healthy, adult female Hedgehogs that are nursing juveniles. Like most Mothers, nursing Female Hedgehogs will be working all hours to feed themselves and their young and therefore may be seen during the day. To distinguish between a HEALTHY, nursing Female, we usually ask you to describe the Hedgehog’s behaviour prior to rescue. If the Hedgehog is MOVING WITH INTENT AND PURPOSE, making repeat trips back and forth to the same location or same route, it is quite likely this is a nursing female and can be left to continue her business in the best interests of the babies. However, if the Hedgehog is seen to be SUNBATHING, LAID MOTIONLESS or SHAKING FROM SIDE TO SIDE, this is a sick Hedgehog needing urgent attention.

Please pick up the Hedgehog using strong gloves or a thick towel and place into a tall cardboard box together with a hot water bottle and a towel. This vital step ensures the animal cannot disappear while you look for assistance while also ensuring warmth to aid recovery.
Please DO NOT feed any food items to the Hedgehog at this time – we must assume that the animal is extremely ill and at least 5-10% dehydrated at this stage – giving food will only make the animal worse. Provide a small bowl of water only, ensuring it is not big enough for the Hedgehog to sit in, and then contact us for advice to make arrangements for collection.

Animal Trapped in Netting?


If you have found an animal trapped in netting, please read the following guidance on how to proceed.
If the casualty is a small mammal or bird and you are able to remove the animal safely yourself, please cut the casualty free ensuring any remaining netting or litter is removed from the environment. In removing the animal from the netting, you must ensure the casualty cannot escape and instead contain the animal in a box securely. It is vital animals are not released following removal of netting and other constrctions, especially in cases where it is not clear how long the animal may have been trapped for. Many constriction injuries to both birds and mammals may take several hours or days to develop necrosis and therefore must be monitored carefully for several days before release. Please contact us to arrange transfer of a casualty into our care or for more advice.

This page is still under construction and further care advice will be added regularly