What to do with orphaned wild animals

We receive many calls about young animals from people who think they're orphaned, but it's likely that the parents are nearby, waiting for people to leave

If you're worried about a baby animal that seems to be alone, don't touch them - watch them from a distance to see whether they're orphaned first. 

I've found a baby animal

Find the animal species below to find out what to do if you've found a baby animal on its own.

Baby bats

It's easy to mistake an adult bat for a baby, as people don't realise how small they can be!

If you suspect that you've found a baby bat, call the Bat Conservation Trust (0345 130 0228), who can put you in touch with your local bat carer. Treat baby bats very carefully - if you have to pick them up, handle them with gloves or use a soft towel.

Remember where you found the bat, as it may be possible to return it to its mother.

Deer or hare

Fawns and leverets (baby hares) are normally left alone for long periods of time from an early age. Their mother will return to feed them, usually around dusk.

Leave a baby deer as you found it. Don't touch or cover it, as it might affect how the mother responds to it when it returns. if possible, re-visit in 24 hours or so. If the fawn is still there, please contact us.

If you find a baby hare, monitor for 24 hours and see if the mother has returned. If she hasn't returned call your local wildlife rehabilitation centre. If they're unable to help, contact us.

Otters

Watch from a distance, ideally for 24 hours and at least overnight to see if the parents return. If not, please contact us.

Rabbits

A mother rabbit closes her kittens into a burrow, returning to nurse them about once a day. Kittens will start to emerge from the burrow at about 18 days, when they'll look like miniature adults.

If you find them above ground with their eyes closed then something has dug them out of the burrow - in which case they'll be too young to survive. These rabbits will need rescuing and taking to a wildlife rehabilitator.

Other baby animals

Read our advice below to be sure the animal has been orphaned:

Still concerned about a baby wild animal?

Some smaller wild animals - such as baby birds, ducklings and hedgehogs - are safe to transport to your nearest wildlife centre.

Find your nearest wildlife rehabilitator.

If your local wildlife rehabilitator isn't able to help, please contact us and we'll do our best to help.

Follow the links below for more information about wildlife rehabilitation and helping wild animals in the UK.

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