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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 them but watch from a distance to check they're orphaned first.

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.

Found an injured wild animal? See what to do with injured wild animals.

I’ve found a baby animal

Read our advice below to be sure the animal has been orphaned:

Baby bats

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 the bat as it may be possible to return to its mother.

Deer or hare

Fawns and leverets (baby hares) are normally left alone from an early age for long periods of time. Their mother will return to feed them though, usually around dusk.

Watch from a distance to see if its mother returns. If not please contact us.


Watch from a distance, ideally for 24 hours (at least overnight), to see if the parents return. If not please contact us.


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're found above ground with their eyes closed then something has dug them out of the burrow – in which case they'll be too young to survive. These rabbits will need rescuing and taking to a wildlife rehabilitator.

Still concerned about a baby wild animal?

Some smaller wild animals like baby birds, ducklings and hedgehogs are safe to transport to your nearest wildlife centre. This is usually quicker as our officers may be out attending other calls.

If you’re local wildlife rehabilitator is unable to help please contact us and we’ll do our best to help.

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