Helpful Hints And Tips

What to do if you come across injured animals or young animals on their own.

If you are out and about and you find an animal that looks like it needs rescue or assistance, it may not necessarily be the case. For injured animals, it’s generally pretty obvious if they need looking after. Road traffic accidents and entanglement in wires, fishing lines etc are perhaps the most common problems but you may encounter animals which appear unwell or those which have become trapped inside objects or buildings. Common sense will often be the best guide but here are some helpful tips on specific problems.
Always seek help if you are unsure




Fox families are very supportive of their cubs and you will generally see the adults nearby when cubs are out playing in the open. If you find a fox cub which is separated from its parents or is above ground with its eyes still closed, it could well need rescuing. Before you do though, watch from a distance if you can to see if he parents return. It may be that you disturbed them in the middle of a move, as parents do move their cubs between different earths from time to time. Obviously an injured cub may need rescuing anyway and look out for signs of dull eyes or droopy posture, for a cub which is constantly calling for parents but not getting a response or has respiratory problems.
Most people are only likely to be involved in a fox rescue where the animal is injured or trapped in some way. Road injuries are the most common and there are some handy dos and don’ts. Do be aware that foxes have seriously sharp teeth and claws. An injured frightened animal is likely to defend itself so do not try to handle the animal unless you have thick gloves or appropriate equipment. Call Wildlife A&E or your local animal rescue and wait for expert help. Droopy, drowsy looking foxes can be suffering from ticks, mange or toxic poisoning so may well need medical assistance. Bright and strong looking animals that just happen to have found their way into your shed or garage will, with the right encouragement and opportunity, run for it at the first opportunity and that is most often the best plan. 
Nestlings that have fallen out of the nest must either be returned to the nest, if obvious where it has come from, or rescued. Fledglings (just out of the nest) will usually have parents close by, and should always be left alone unless in immediate danger. If you are worried about your cat finding it then pick it up and place itin a flowerpot, peg the flowerpot to a washing line. The parents can get to it to feed it but the cat cant. All birds caught by cats will need an antibiotic to avoid the high danger of septicemia and should be rescued. All injured birds should be rescued. Place in a box, bucket or similar and cover, making sure there is ventilation. They will settle down if put in a dark place. Then seek help.

If you come across a baby owl, these need rescuing if still at the fluffy stage, but if there are feathers coming through, if in no immediate danger and not injured, should be left alone as they will be able to climb back up the tree.

Doe’s or mothers leave their tiny infants alone for 2-3 hours between feeds. This is to keep their presence hidden from dogs and the like. The Fawn will curl up and lie very still in the long grass and, as they are virtually odourless, they are hard to detect. Apart from dogs and foxes, they are often found by walkers who worry that the helpless little things have been abandoned. There is a lot of debate about whether a fawn should always be left alone and/or about the length of time it should be left before it is safe to assume the mother has abandoned it.


Our belief based on our experience and borne out by the view of The British Deer Society is that fawns are generally fed every two to three hours. Unfortunately, when you discover a fawn, you won’t know how long it has been alone.  If the fawn is curled up in the long grass and breathing normally, please leave it alone and leave the area at once. There is a good chance that the mother is nearby and your presence is stopping her from returning to her fawn. If you can, stay out of the immediate area but observe from a sensible distance for no more than 90 minutes before seeking advice from us or another wildlife rescue organisation. If the mother comes back during that time, you will get a real treat seeing her with her baby but if fawns are left too long their digestive system will start to shut down so please do take advice if there is no sign of the mother within that kind of time frame.


Fawns are very rarely abandoned by their mothers so the chances are, mum will return. This 'leave or intervene' debate is a contentious issue but we believe, better a hand reared fawn who has to be slowly reintroduced to the wild than a sad demise for a beautiful creature.


Aside from sleeping fawns, if you see a fawn wandering around calling for mum, it has most likely been left for too long, and needs help. It will also need help if it is lying flat out, is having trouble breathing or showing signs of injuries. Do not hesitate to phone if you would like advice; if possible leave someone close by to keep an eye on it whilst getting help.

Sadly, all too often adult deer are hit on the road or get caught up in fencing or equipment. If you find such a situation, please be very cautious. Deer have very sharp hooves and a tremendous kick and may have antlers at the other end. They are incredibly beautiful and look very fragile but can be highly dangerous when frightened or when they feel threatened.  If the trapped animal is quiet, do not approach, seek help as soon as possible, if you get too close it will start to struggle and make things worse. If it’s on the edge of the road and struggling to get up, cover its head with a blanket, jacket, or something, which will calm the animal down. Seek help straight away from ourselves, another rescue organisation or the police who will have the right contacts in an emergency.

If you come across cubs playing in a field/wood near to a sett , they are fine and will have a mother watching over them. Your best plan is to find a safe place to sit and watch and have a fabulous experience. However, if you find a young badger cub with its eyes still closed above ground it almost certainly needs rescuing. They do not normally come out of the sett until they can see properly so it has come looking for food and that sadly means mum is no longer around. If you find a badger cub wandering around calling, or with any injuries, it needs rescuing.
We have all seen the number of badgers that are hit on the road. They are too slow and perhaps too stubborn for their own good sometimes. If you come across a badger or are unlucky enough to hit one yourself, please be very careful. Badgers have a fierce bite and an injured badger is likely to be in a very bad mood. Do not get too close either, because they can whip around in a split second and you may well lose fingers or bite size pieces of your hands or legs. If the animal is clearly alive, call for help and stay nearby to ensure the animal is safe from other traffic.

If you find any baby rabbit with their eyes closed out of the burrow they must be rescued. Also babies that do not run away when approached or have signs of injuries, caught by a cat or dog, need rescuing.  This is also true of adults

If a nest is disturbed, the mother will often abandon the nest and the babies will be found wandering or squealing.  These will now need to be rescued. Hedgehog babies with eyes still closed and out of the nest must be rescued or those that are found out during the day at any age must be taken in as this means they are not well. Autumn youngsters are often found wandering during the day and need help to make up their weight so that they can hibernate. This has to be at least 600gms for them to make it through the winter. So they need to be taken in, warmed up and fed. Please contact us for advice or help.
Any hedgehog found out during the day is a sick hedgehog.