What should I do if I come across a wild animal in distress?

There’s no easy answer to this question, as every case is unique.  However, we’ve put together some basic guidelines which are designed to minimise stress for animals and to assist people in managing the situation.

  • Stop and think carefully about what you’re doing before rushing in.
  • Phone us and check first if you’re unsure about anything.
  • Take note of the location where you found the animal, including any landmarks or nearby buildings.  If appropriate, try to mark the spot so you can find it again easily.
  • Make sure you don’t endanger your own life or others’ lives.
  • If you come across an injured animal on the road, make sure it is safe to stop and pull off the road.  Use hazard lights and a reflector.
  • Try to assess the situation – if an animal is injured, is it safe for you to pick it up?
  • Animals in distress are frightened and may be in pain.  To prevent injury to yourself, avoid handling the animal.
  • All wild animals may carry diseases – be cautious and wear protective clothing.
  • If the animal is immobile, you can place a blanket over it to keep it calm and warm.
  • Call us first before bringing the animal to the hospital, as it may need to be taken somewhere else.
  • Avoid feeding wild animals.  For example, many people don’t realise that feeding bread and milk to birds or hedgehogs will kill them.

What if I find an abandoned baby animal?

  • Baby animals should not be handled if possible.
  • Think about the situation carefully – perhaps the mother has left her young for a reason and will return later.
  • Phone us and check first if you’re unsure about anything.
  • If the animal needs to be moved because it’s in danger and does not appear to be injured, move it to a safer position nearby so the mother has a chance of finding it.
  • If the baby is abandoned, call us for advice.

Who to contact?

The Wiltshire Wildlife Hospital deals with the rescue, care and release of injured, sick or orphaned indigenous animals.  We don’t handle cases of animal abuse or animals that are causing an inconvenience.