Wildlife in winter

We can all struggle when the weather takes a turn for the worse, and our wildlife friends are often the most vulnerable to the extremes the elements take.

Here's how you can lend a helping hand to wildlife in winter:

Feeding birds in winter

Robin standing in snow © Becky Murray / RSPCA Photolibrary

Birds may have difficulty finding normal food in winter, to help them stay strong leave out extra food for them.

Take a look at our tips on feeding garden birds - including our bird feeding guide.

Feeding garden birds

Helping badgers in severe weather

Badgers don't hibernate, but they do sleep through most of the severe weather, and have a tough time finding their favourite food of earthworms when the ground is frozen. Nibbles such as lightly cooked meats, cheese, peanuts and fruit would be welcomed.

Learn more about helping badgers

Help stock a squirrel's store

Grey Squirrel holding monkey nut in mouth while climbing on tree

Squirrels 'cache' (store) food when it's in good supply, to eat when food is scarce. 

To help squirrels survive the coldest times of year offer nuts such as hazelnuts, walnuts and almonds, plus some chopped apple, beans, carrots or spinach.

Melting frozen ponds

Toxic gases can build up in frozen ponds, killing fish or frogs which may be hiding at the bottom. If you have a pond, check it every day for ice.

If the pond does freeze over, carefully place a saucepan of hot water on the surface to melt a hole. Never tip boiling water onto it or break the ice with force, as this can harm fish.

Hibernating hedgehogs, frogs and mice

Before lighting bonfires check carefully any wood or leaf piles for wild animals such as hedgehogs, frogs and mice, who like to hibernate in these cosy spots. If you find wild animals in hibernation, be sure to leave them be.

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