Injured wildlife advice

Injured wildlife advice

Tom Hibbert

What to do if you find a sick or injured animal

As your local Wildlife Trust we survey, monitor, conserve and campaign for wildlife across the region; lobbying Government and working on your doorstep to give wildlife a voice and protect important wild spaces. What we don't do, however, is take in injured wildlife.

Unfortunately we aren't a wildlife rescue, and we don't have the facilities or the expertise to nurse birds, hedgehogs and other creatures back to health.

So, what should you do if you find a sick or injured animal?

It all depends on the kind of animal you have found and what appears to be wrong with it. Below, you can find advice about what to do next in some of the most common situations, and crucially, who to contact to make sure the animal gets the help it needs as soon as possible.

To find your nearest wildlife rescue and rehabilitation centre please scroll to the bottom of the page.

Sick and injured wild birds

Finding a bird that seems to be in distress can be worrying. Here is what you can do.

Amy Lewis

Baby birds and fledglings

It isn't uncommon to find baby birds on the ground during nesting season. If it has no feathers, or very few feathers, it is a nestling that is too young to be out of the nest. It may have fallen out, so see if you can see the nest. Only return the bird if you are absolutely sure you have found the right nest, and only if the nestling is healthy. If you can’t find the nest or the chick is visibly poorly, take it safely to a professional wildlife rescue (numbers at the bottom of this page).

If you find a bird that is more or less fully feathered, it is a fledgling that has taken its first brave flight. Fledglings can't actually fly properly when they first leave the nest and may spend up to a week near the ground, so please don't be worried. The parents will be off gathering food or watching from a safe distance. Unless the fledgling is visibly sick or injured please leave it well alone. If it is near the road, on a path or in another dangerous place, gently pick it up and move it to a sheltered spot as nearby as possible. If the fledgling is definitely injured or obviously unwell, transport it safely home and call your local wildlife rescue.

Injured adult birds

If you have found an adult bird that is struggling to fly, can't walk or is visibly sick or injured in another way, please call your local wildlife rescue for advice. Small birds like blue tits and blackbirds can be safely taken home while you call the rescue, but larger birds need specialist handling and are best left alone to avoid unnecessary stress.

Sick and injured hedgehogs

Have you seen a hedgehog out during the day or noticed that one of your local hogs looks unwell? Here is what to do next.

Gillian Day

Hedgehogs out during the day

It can be exciting to see a hedgehog out and about in the daytime, but this is actually a sign that the hog isn't very well at all. Hedgehogs are nocturnal and don't venture out in the daytime unless they're poorly or malnourished, so it's crucial to get help as soon as possible or the hog may die. Look out for them looking disoriented, struggling to walk or showing little fear of humans.

Hedgehogs in your garden

Keep a close eye on the hedgehogs in your garden. Like with hedgehogs seen out during the daytime, take action if you spot a hog that is visibly struggling.

Unfortunately, garden hedgehogs often fall victim to horrific fire or strimmer injuries. Please check bonfires, piles of leaves and grass for hedgehogs before lighting or tidying up, and if you do accidentally injure one, call your local hedgehog rescue as soon as possible.

You can find some contact details at the bottom of this page, or visit The British Hedgehog Preservation Society website for details of local volunteers who can offer first aid advice and contact details for a hedgehog rescue in your area.

Sick and injured bats

Bats have special protections that mean they must be handled by licensed professionals. Here is what to do if you find a bat.

Tom Marshall

Grounded bats

Any bat that is found on the ground or in an exposed area - especially during the day - is likely to need help. However, please bear in mind that bats have special protections and must only be handled by professional bat officers.

If the bat is on the ground, on an outside wall, or in another exposed area where it could be vulnerable, try to get it into a box that contains a clean dishcloth where the bat can hide. Place the box over the bat and slide a piece of card underneath it, like you would with a spider. If you must handle the bat to get it into the box, wear gloves or use a tea towel to gently scoop it up. You should never handle a bat with your bare hands.

Once the bat is safely contained, pop a milk bottle lid full of water into the box and call the National Bat Helpline on 0345 1300 228. Click here for more advice from the Bat Conservation Trust.

Bats in the house

Don't panic if you find a bat flying around in your house, and don't try to catch it (this could cause the bat unnecessary stress or injury). Instead, if it's a warm evening, close the door to the room, open the windows as widely as possible and dim the lights. This will give the bat a chance to find its own way out.

If you find the bat flying during the day, wait until it lands, contain it as we have described above, and release it at dusk. You can find more information on the Bat Conservation Trust's website.

A fox standing in the bushes and looking into camera

Jon Hawkins - Surrey Hills Photography

Local wildlife rescue and rehabilitation centres

As we are not a wildlife rescue, we can't help with sick or injured wildlife and you are best contacting your local rehabilitation centre. Have a look through the contact numbers below.

Please note that these rescues are third parties and we aren't responsible for monitoring how they are run.

Wildlife rescues in Lancashire

Chorley Hedgehog Rescue

Helps: Hedgehogs only
Location: Chorley
Tel: 07599 950153

Hedgehog Care

Helps: Hedgehogs only
Location: Blackpool
Tel: 01253 342802
Mob: 07577010011

Preston Hedgehog Rescue

Helps: Hedgehogs only
Location: Preston
Tel: 01772 700536
Mob: 07590 583544

Woodlands Animal Sanctuary

Helps: Hedgehogs only
Location: Holmeswood
Tel: 01704 823293

North Lancashire Bat Group

Helps: Bats only
Location: Silverdale
Tel: 01524 701316
Mob: 07917 021073

East Lancashire Bat Group

Helps: Bats only
Location: Blackburn with Darwen, Ribble Valley, Hyndburn, Pendle, Burnley, and Rossendale
Tel: 0345 1300 228

Wolfwood Wildlife Rescue

Helps: All wildlife
Location: Lancaster
Tel: 07931 220094

Lancashire Badger Group

Helps: Badgers only
Location: Lancaster
Tel: 08448 707908

Wildlife rescues in Greater Manchester

South Lancashire Bat Group

Helps: Bats only
Location: Greater Manchester, Bury, Bolton, Rochdale, Oldham, Stockport and Wigan
Tel: 01617 648850

Raptor Rescue

Helps: Birds of prey only
Location: Warrington
Tel: 08702 410609

Every Feather

Helps: Birds only
Location: Bolton
Tel: 07899 031447

Rochdale Hedgehog Rescue

Helps: Hedgehogs only
Location: Rochdale
Tel: 01706 860904

Wildlife rescues in Merseyside

Pawprints Wildlife Rescue

Helps: All wildlife
Location: Hoylake
Tel: 07747 301423

The Fox Man

Helps: Foxes only
Location: Ince Blundell
Tel: 07572 270432