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What to do with orphaned wild animals

If you’re worried about a baby animal that seems to be alone, don’t touch it but just watch it from a distance.


We receive many calls about young animals from people who think they are orphaned but it’s likely that the parents are nearby, waiting for people to leave.


Read our advice below and if you’re sure the animal has been orphaned, call us on 0300 1234 999 or contact your nearest wildlife rehabilitator.


I’ve found a baby...

badger or otter

Watch from a distance, ideally 24 hours (at least overnight), to see if the parents return.


bat

Adult bats can be mistaken for babies as people don’t realise how small they can be! If you suspect that you’ve found a baby bat, call the Bat Conservation Trust (0845 130 0228), who can put you in touch with your local bat carer. Treat baby bats very carefully - if you have to pick it up, handle with gloves, or use a soft towel. Remember where you found it as it may be possible to return the bat to its mother.


bird

See our page about Young birds


deer or hare

Fawns and leverets (baby hares) are normally left alone from an early age for long periods of time but mother will return to feed them, usually around dusk. Watch from a distance to see if mum returns.


fox

See our Fox cubs page.


hedgehog

See our Young hedgehogs page.


rabbit

A mother rabbit closes her kittens into a burrow, returning to nurse about once a day. Kittens will start to emerge from the burrow at about 18 days when they will look like miniature adults. If they are found above ground with eyes closed then something has dug them out of the burrow - in which case they will be too young to survive. These rabbits will need rescuing and taking to a wildlife rehabilitator.


seal

See our Seal pups page