Found an Animal
Our Helpline: 07951 285 366
Avian Influenza Important Notice (15/8/22)
At present due to avian influenza, we have extra precautions in place when admitting an animal to the centre. For any high risk bird species (waterfowl, seabirds including gulls, birds of prey), a video of the bird will be required before the animal can be admitted to the centre to ensure they are not suffering from any symptoms of avian influenza. If you have found a bird in an area where there is an outbreak of bird flu, we will not be able to admit the bird. You will be advised on what steps to take when you contact our animal care team. Please do NOT touch any deceased birds or visibly sick birds. Any deceased birds as follows must be reported to DEFRA on 03459 33 55 77:
- one or more dead bird of prey or owl
- 3 or more dead gulls or wild waterfowl (swans, geese and ducks)
- 5 or more dead birds of any species
Please note: we are open from 9am each day but our closing hours vary throughout the year. Please ring us and listen to our voicemail for the most up to date information.
- Our resources are limited and needed at the hospital – please be prepared to bring your casualty/orphan to us. Collections are not always available.
- If you find a wild animal and are unsure if it is in need of help, please contact the animal care team for advice. Please contact the animal care team if you intend to bring a wild animal to us this allows us to prepare for the admission e.g. – setting up an incubator, moving patients around to be able to house the new admission appropriately, etc. It is also useful if you can inform us what has happened to the animal to give you cause for concern
- What to do – place the animal in a box (cardboard, plastic) ensuring that there are gaps/holes to provide ventilation (but not big enough to allow animal to escape.)
- Ensure that the box will be dark inside to reduce stress to the animal.
- Place an old towel/blanket/newspaper/tissue in with the animal for comfort but also to allow a place for the animal to hide.
- Place a hot water bottle or plastic bottle with warm water in (wrapped in a towel) in the box with the animal to keep the animal warm. Animals that are ill will suffer from the cold more so this gives it the best chance of survival before it gets to us.
- Call the centre to let them know about the animal and that you intend to bring it.
- Get the animal to the centre as soon as you can – the sooner the centre receives it, the sooner we can ease any suffering, treat wounds, injuries, illnesses, destress and stabilise the animal. This will increase the chance of survival.
- Please do NOT try to rehabilitate or hand rear any wildlife yourself. It is in the animal’s best interest that it is brought into a professional centre with the correct equipment and veterinary attention. We receive endless calls from people that have attempted rehab themselves, only for it to go wrong. Please do NOT deny the animal of the care they require.
Please read below for advice on specific animals. Please note that this is not an extensive list and if you are ever worried about a wild animal, to contact your local wildlife centre as soon as you have even just the slightest concern.
Unless you have found tiny orphaned badgers, please do not attempt to handle any injured badgers. Although the may look docile due to being injured, they have a very nasty bite.
If you have found a badger at the side of the road which you are unsure is alive, do not touch it with your hands/feet but instead if you have access to a long stick or pole, you can touch it gently with this to see if it is moving. If the badger is alive, stay with it until help arrives to prevent it from moving further into the road and being hit again.
Please contact ourselves, another centre or the RSPCA to get advice on injured/orphaned badgers for which a collection can then be arranged.
If you have found a bat on the ground, this is usually a sign of something wrong. Please wear thick gloves to put the bat into a ventilated box (tiny air holes for bats are required as they can squeeze through very small holes). Use a tea-towel or kitchen paper in the box for the bat to cling on to and place a milk top of water in the box.
Please also follow these steps if your cat has brought a bat into the house.
Contact the bat conservation trust on 0345 1300 228 who will be able to locate a bat carer in your area. If you are unable to get through to them, please contact our animal care team who will be able to assist.
If you do happen to be bitten by the bat, please wash your hands immediately and consult with your GP.
If you have found an injured or collapsed bird of prey. Carefully place the bird into a cardboard box lined with a towel or newspaper. To do this, we recommend using thick gloves or a towel to wrap around the bird and to be cautious of its’ talons. Please then contact your local rehabilitation centre and follow their advice.
If you have found a bird of prey on the ground that you are concerned about, before picking it up, ensure that it is not guarding a prey item. They often stand with wings stretched over the food to protect it from other birds of prey. Sometimes these birds are picked up unnecessarily.
If you have found an injured deer, for example one that has been hit by a car, stay with the deer until your local wildlife hospital or the RSPCA are able to come and assist. Please be wary of their strong kick, and antlers as they can cause a lot of damage. If possible and safe to do so, you can softly cover the head with a blanket to reduce stress for the deer, of course please ensure there is a gap left clear for the deer to breathe easily.
If you have found a deer stuck in railings, this often requires assistance from both the local fire service and a wildlife professional. Do not approach the deer as your presence is likely to cause excess stress. Observe from a distance until help arrives.
If you have found a fawn alone with no signs of the parent, do not approach the fawn, touch it or interact with it in any way. The mother is most likely around and will return but fawns are left for several hours at a time. Observe from a great distance or return a while later. If the mother has not returned by dusk, contact your local wildlife rehabilitation or the RSPCA for further advice.
Please note, the Leicestershire Wildlife Hospital is unable to take in Muntjac deer, please click this link to see our news article surrounding this.
If you have found an injured fox by the side of a road, do not handle the fox as it is likely to bite you but instead contact your local wildlife centre / RSPCA and stay with it until help arrives.
If there is an injured fox that regularly visits your garden, please contact your local wildlife centre / RSPCA and they may be able to send a fox trap out to you in order to be able to fully assess the fox’s injuries.
If a fox that visits your garden has bald patches, this is most likely to be sarcoptic mange. Dependent upon the stage of hair loss of the fox, a homeopathic treatment is available which is added to the food. Please visit the national fox welfare society website where you can request the treatment to be sent out to you. If the fox is more than 50% bald or if the areas of hair loss look infected, the treatment the fox requires is more complicated and requires specialist help. This fox would have to be admitted to your local wildlife hospital for care. If this is the case, please contact your local wildlife centre.
If you have found a fox cub alone on the ground, it may just be that the mother is moving the cubs to a new area. Unless the fox cub is in an area of danger (a road or footpath etc), or is visibly injured, the cub should be observed from a distance for a couple of hours to see it the mother returns. If the mother does not return or the cub becomes distressed and is loudly crying, it is likely that the cub has been abandoned. In this case, if the cub is small and you are able to handle it, pick it up wearing thick gloves and place it into a box lined with warm towels/blankets. Add additional warmth with a hot water bottle wrapped in a towel. If you are unable to handle the cub, please contact your local rehabilitation centre for assistance.
NEVER talk, stroke or play with a fox cub. Fox cubs are incredibly easy to imprint which destroys their chance of a wild life.
Nestlings: If you have found a nestling (unfeathered or partially feathered bird) on the ground, there will normally be a reason why it is no longer in the nest and so intervention is necessary. Occasionally you may be able to put the bird back into the nest but only when advised to do so by your local wildlife rescue.
Please place the bird into a box with lots of bedding (e.g. blankets or kitchen roll). You can imitate a nest by using a small bowl/ramekin with some kitchen roll inside, or by rolling down a sock. Place a hot water bottle or plastic water bottle filled with warm water that is wrapped in a towel next to or underneath the bird. Warmth is vital to keep the nestling alive. Do not attempt to feed the bird. If the bird is dehydrated, feeding the bird will cause more harm that good. Contact the animal care team to arrange bringing the nestling(s) into us.
If you have cut down a tree/hedge and found a nest of birds, first attempt to place the nest into a tree/hedge next to the original one and observe for an hour that parents return. If they do not return, please contact us to arrange bringing the nest into us where we can rear them. If you are completing any gardening work during the bird nesting season, please ensure the area is fully checked for any nesting birds, nests or eggs. It is an illegal offence to disturb nesting birds.
Fledglings: If you have seen a bird on the ground which is young but feathered, please observe from a distance to monitor if the parents are coming down to feed. Young birds fledge the nest but are still fed from the ground whilst out on their first flights. If you do not see parents return within approx 3 hours, please contact your local wildlife centre.
If the bird has been caught by a predator on the ground, intervention is also necessary. Please contact the animal care team for advice.
Adult birds and injured birds: If you find a bird in your garden that has a broken wing, please catch the bird and take to your local veterinary surgery or wildlife centre. If caught early enough and depending on the severity of the break, it may be able to be fixed. However, if the wing is unable to be fixed, a vet will euthanise the bird to prevent it suffering any longer.
If a cat has brought a bird into your house, please place the bird into a dark, ventilated box and arrange taking to your local wildlife centre. ANY bird that is caught by a cat will require antibiotics.
If a bird has flown into your window, they are likely to be stressed and disoriented. Place the bird into a dark, ventilated box in a quiet area for at least an hour. Check on the bird and if it has improved, attempt to release back into your garden. If the bird is still stunned or if there are any visible injuries, please contact the animal care team.
A hedgehog should NOT be out during the day unless it is a female that is nest building. If the hedgehog is collecting nesting materials and moving with purpose, it does not need attention and should be left alone. If you see a hedgehog that is lying out in the garden, circling or staggering then it needs attention. The hedgehog should be placed into a ventilated box and you should contact your local rehabilitation centre to arrange taking it in. The sooner the hedgehog receives treatment, the greater the chance of survival.
If you see a hedgehog in your garden at night that is injured (e.g. dog has attacked), or is wheezing or coughing, or one that is bald, they also need attention. Using gloves, place the hedgehog into a ventilated box and arrange to take it into your local centre for treatment.
If you find hoglets (baby hedgehogs) out in your garden in the day, they will require assistance. Place them in a ventilated box. Place blankets/towels into the box to keep them warm, as well as a hot water bottle/plastic water bottle filled with warm water and wrapped in a towel.
If you are working in your garden and find a nest, please cover the nest back over and stop work. Monitor the nest to ensure the mother stays and is feeding the hoglets. Please contact your local wildlife centre before intervening with the young.
Hibernation: In order to survive hibernation, hedgehogs should be at least 600g. If you find a hedgehog below this weight just prior to hibernation (usually end of October), please contact your local centre to get advice about bringing the hedgehog into the centre. This advice is weather dependent, so the hedgehog may not always need to be brought into care.
Please do NOT feed hedgehogs milk or bread. Despite old beliefs, this is very bad for them and can cause a lot of damage (NB: the image above shows hoglets feeding on specialist formula). If you would like to feed hedgehogs in your garden, we recommend meaty cat or dog food: either loaf/pate wet food or meaty cat biscuits. Also, a shallow dish of water is vital.
If you have found an injured mouse/vole/shrew etc or your cat has brought one into you, it should be taken to your local wildlife centre.
If you have found a nest of mice etc whilst gardening or in an outbuilding, please try to cover back up the nest and observe from a distance until the parent returns. If parents do not return, or the nest is no longer safe from predators, please place the whole nest into a small box and take to your local wildlife rescue.
If you have found an injured pigeon/dove in your garden that is unable to fly, please place the bird into a ventilated box and take to your local wildlife rescue. If you are struggling to catch the bird, try using a large towel/sheet to throw over the bird to prevent it from getting away and then place into a box.
If you have found a racing pigeon in your garden that is unable to fly, please take to your local vets. Racing pigeons are classed as domestic animals and their owner will need to be contacted. Your local vet will be able to contact the owner through the Royal Pigeon Racing Association.
If you have found a baby pigeon that has fallen from its nest, place the pigeon into a ventilated box lined with blankets or newspaper and take to your local wildlife rescue. Keeping the baby pigeon warm will increase its chance of survival.
If you have found an injured wild rabbit or hare that is immobile, place the animal into a ventilated box and take to your local wildlife rescue. If the animal has gooey eyes that may be completely jammed shut, this is most likely to be myxomatosis and unfortunately there is no cure but is highly contagious to other rabbits. A rabbit/hare with this will need to be euthanised. Please take to your local veterinary surgery and they will be able to assist.
If you have found a nest of wild rabbits, please leave them be. The mother will only return twice a day for very short periods of time so you are unlikely to see them with their mother.
If you have disturbed the nest, try to restore it and leave them alone. Monitor if the mother is returning by placing a twig or similar on the nest in a certain pattern and check later/the next morning if this has been moved. If it has moved, the mother has returned. If you are unable to restore the nest, please take to your local wildlife rescue.
If you have found a baby rabbit out in the open alone, please contact your local wildlife rescue as they will most likely need to be brought into care.
If a cat has brought in a wild rabbit/hare, they will likely need to be brought into a wildlife rescue centre and be treated with antibiotics.
Hares will scatter their litter so they are less susceptible to all be found by a predator. They nest in very open spaces and the baby hares (leverets) may just be covered by a little grass. Most of the time, they should be left but if you are concerned, please contact your local wildlife rescue before picking up the leveret.
If you have found an injured swan, or one that has crash landed, please contact your local wildlife rescue or the RSPCA for assistance.
If you have found ducklings/goslings/cygnets etc alone without their parent (in or out of water), they are most likely abandoned. Please call your local wildlife centre for advice and for information about how to capture them.