Caring for Wildlife
Hedgehogs hibernate in the winter but not all the way through, so do not assume they are ill if you see one at night time in the colder months. If they are small (under 600g), have visible ticks and fleas, are out in the day, laying on their side, or wobbly on their legs, or injured then gently pick up in a towel and place in a box to keep it warm and take to your veterinary practice. Do not use straw or leaves as these can be rotten and cause further health problems for the hogs.
If it is going to be some time before being able to get to the vets then offer the hog some food. DO NOT give bread and milk! The hogs are unable to digest this properly and it can cause diarrhoea. Don’t give any other form of dairy, fish or pork either. Meaty cat or dog foods are fine and offer some water.
When leaving the hog at the vets, leave them the information of where you found it so that it can be returned to the area when it is better.
If a bat is found, leave it where it is if possible until you have spoken to a veterinary practice to get the number for the nearest bat rescue. Obviously if it is in danger then pick it up in a net or a towel and were gloves (as they can carry diseases such as rabies and can BITE), and place it in a box. They need to be handled very carefully as not to damage the wings. They are very good escape artists so only put tiny air holes in the box. They are protected by very stringent wildlife laws so shouldn’t be moved unless necessary. Tell the rescue centre where you found it if you need to move it so it can be released in the same area when better.
If you find a wild bird that has been in the same place on the ground all day then wrap it in a towel and take it to your veterinary practice as it is probably ill. If it is injured take it to the vets straight away. If it is a baby then watch to see if the parents are feeding it. If they are try to place it up high away from predators. If there is no sign of the parents or if there are cats in the area then wrap it in a towel and take it to the vets quickly as they need to feed regularly.
If you find a baby seagull, leave it alone as the parents will feed it, unless it is in the road, move it onto the pavement or up high so the parents can still see it. If it is injured take it to the vets.
Owls and birds of prey again should be taken to the vets if injured but wear thick gloves and use a towel and be very careful as they can cause a lot of damage with their beaks and claws. If young are found but appear healthy leave them alone. The parents will not come down to feed them if people are present.
If you find an oiled or injured seabird, approach them slowly as they scare easily and will return to the water if they feel threatened. Place in a box on paper when captured and keep warm. Wear gloves and use a towel if possible. DO NOT attempt to wash them, get them to the nearest veterinary practice as soon as possible.
Although we don’t see many in our area, they do occasionally turn up on our beaches. Call your veterinary practice to get the number of the local marine rescue team. DO NOT approach it unless you have been advised to as they do BITE!