We've dealt with 11,000 wildlife incidents during lockdown

We've dealt with nearly 11,000 wildlife incidents through lockdown, and is bracing for a further surge in calls to rescue sick, injured and orphaned wild animals as the breeding season starts.

We see more hedgehogs rescued than any other wild animal

This week marks the start of Hedgehog Awareness Week and our newly released figures have revealed we took in more of the prickly creatures into our wildlife centres than any other wildlife last year.

Hedgehog caught in wire netting

More than 2,700 hedgehogs were admitted to our national wildlife centres last year with almost 12,000 coming through our doors in the past 5 years.

Traditionally, April starts to see more hedgehogs coming into us, as they leave hibernation in search of food and our rescue teams also see a surge in other wildlife in Spring such as birds, as the breeding season gets underway.

Making sure we're still there for animals during coronavirus

Despite the lockdown, our rescue teams are continuing on the frontline as designated key workers and we've launched an emergency appeal to help us continue to rescue, rehabilitate and release the animals most in need through the crisis.

Our scientific officer, Evie Button, said:

Regardless of coronavirus, wild animals still need rescuing by the RSPCA and breeding season is the start of a really busy time for us.

We'll have lots of calls about baby birds, orphaned fox cubs and hedgehogs which have come out of hibernation and need help to build up their body weight.

It's Hedgehog Awareness Week which is very appropriate as these much-loved prickly creatures are the most frequent visitor to our wildlife centres.

The most common reasons hedgehogs come into our care are because they're orphaned, underweight, injured or exhibiting abnormal behaviour indicative of ill health. 

Since lockdown, we've responded to 10,817 incidents about wildlife, 540 of which have been about hedgehogs.

Top 10 wildlife species admitted to our four wildlife centres in 2019

Baby bird hand feeding at RSPCA centre

Number of animals:

  1. Hedgehog - 2770
  2. Wood pigeon - 1926
  3. Herring gull - 1779
  4. Mallard duck - 1298
  5. Feral pigeon - 885
  6. Blackbird - 706
  7. Mute swan - 692
  8. Collared dove - 414
  9. House sparrow - 410
  10. Goldfinch - 343

Last year we responded to 4,818  hedgehog related incidents - that's an average of 13 a day. 

Recent wildlife rescues

A hedgehog has been released back into the wild after becoming stuck two foot down a drain in Rotherham. He was eased out gently with tongs, and taken to a vet's overnight for a check-up. Thankfully he was well enough to be released back into the wild at dusk the next day.

Another hedgehog in a prickle was rescued from a metal bird feeder on 10 April in Horsham after he crawled inside for a snack and got stuck.

A tiny tawny owlet is building up his strength at our East Winch wildlife centre after being found cold, dehydrated and underweight by a dog walker in Mildenhall, Suffolk, on 6 April.

A mistle thrush was found at Blackborough End, Norfolk on 16 April after being attacked by a cat. The bird is now on antibiotics and being hand-fed every 30 minutes at East Winch.

Our animal centres are currently treating 823 wild animals

Baby bunny

Our four wildlife centres - Mallydams in East Sussex, East Winch in Norfolk, Stapeley Grange in Cheshire and West Hatch in Somerset - and four animal hospitals are currently treating and rehabilitating 823 wild animals and have launched an emergency appeal to help keep their rescue and animal care teams out on the frontline working.

Evie added: "Watching wildlife is such a great source of comfort to people at the moment and we are so grateful to the public for calling us when they are concerned about any animal. However in the case of baby animals, including fledglings, it's often better to leave them where they are as they are often rescued by their mum or get themselves out of trouble. There's lots of advice on our website."


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