What to do with injured wild animals
If you find an injured wild animal, watch it first to see how badly hurt it is. Then if possible take it to a nearby vet or wildlife rehabilitator (call first to make sure they can take and treat the animal).
It’s often faster to take an animal to a vet yourself as your nearest RSPCA officer may be out of the area attending other calls. If you are unable to transport the animal, call 0300 1234 999. If possible, contain the animal before calling - see advice below.
Wild animals can scratch and bite when frightened, particularly if they are injured. If in doubt, keep a safe distance and call us.
Apply common sense when approaching an injured animal:
- Do not attempt to handle or transport an injured deer, seal, wild boar, otter, badger, fox, snake, bird of prey (including owls), swan, goose, heron or gull, keep a safe distance and call 0300 1234 999.
- Never lift a wild animal, unless you are sure that you can do so without risk to yourself or others.
- Wear gloves when handling all wild animals, especially oiled wildlife – pollutants like oil can be hazardous.
- Keep the animal away from your face.
- Wash your hands thoroughly after handling an animal.
- Take care in dangerous locations, such as a busy road. Watch from a distance first to see whether the animal is still alive, call for help if you can’t reach it safely.
- If you find a whale, dolphin or porpoise on a beach call us or the BDMLR immediately. Keep a safe distance and don’t touch the animal.
- Never try to free an animal from a snare or trap – you risk hurting yourself and the animal and it could be an offence if the animal was legally caught. Stay back to avoid stressing the animal and call us with the location.
Capture and boxing injured wildlife
If it’s safe to catch and handle the animal, then, wearing suitable gloves, quickly place it into a secure cardboard box with ventilation holes, lined with towel or newspaper.
Keep the animal quiet and take it to a vet (call first to make sure they can take and treat the animal), one of our wildlife centres or your local wildlife rehabilitator, (but note not all have been inspected by us). If you are unable to transport the animal, call 0300 1234 999.
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