First Aid For Wildlife

A rescued hedgehog warming up in a snoodA long eared brown bat sitting on a red blanket in a boxA baby weasel lying upsidedown on a pink blanket

Wild Animal Care Training & Guides


How To Care For Your Rescued Animal

If you have found an injured wild animal, here is some advice and some tips on how to care for the wounded animal until you can get professional help. Below we will cover a range of signs to look out for and care guides to help your rescued animal. But most importantly, Contact Us as soon as you can for guidance and to get your animal to us as quickly as possible.


Wild animals and birds are nervous of people and strange surroundings. Reduce stress by avoiding unnecessary handling and providing accommodation that allows the bird/animal some privacy. Keep casualties quiet and away from domestic pets.


If suffering from cold, provide heat for the casualty by overhead heat lamp (preferably ceramic), heat pads or hot water bottle. Provide appropriate bedding; most mammals will use the bedding for cover. 

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Reydrating & Feeding

Be Sure To Hydrate for 24 Hours Before Food

How To Hydrate & Feed


Be Careful How You Do This


Many wildlife casualties will be dehydrated when rescued. Animals must be well hydrated for 12 to 24 hours before reintroducing food. Care should be taken when administering fluids to birds. Never give fluids from a spoon, be very careful if using a syringe or dropper. Use a crop tube for preference. Ensure that the tube bypasses the windpipe. Never give a bird milk. Bats can be hydrated using a clean artist’s brush or roll a wet piece of paper towel. Roll the kitchen roll into a long thin cone. Gently slide or the wet brush or cone into the bat’s mouth. Do not leave a pot of water with the bat – many get wet and die of hypothermia from this. 


Many seed and insectivorous mixtures are available. Emp is a useful hand-rearing food. Owls, raptors, and most corvids will eat day-old chicks, mince, or other raw meat. Soaked complete meal dog biscuits are good for crows/gulls. Some raptors, especially sparrowhawks, may need natural food before they will feed themselves. Never leave birds too long without food. Hand-feed for a few days, then try again. Pigeon peas (soaked) are best for hand-feeding young pigeons. For pigeon chicks, less than one week old, and young collared doves, soaked emp is best, rolled into a little sausage. Alternatively, or a parrot rearing food such as Kaytee that can be tube fed. , is best. Pigeons will drink from a bowl by sucking up the liquid. Other birds are unable to do this and will have to take a mouthful of water, then tip their head back to drink.

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A baby otter eating fish from a pink bowlTwo baby owls in a rescue boxA rescued baby hare sits on a heat pad being hand fed by a Hessilhead Wildlife Centre carer

Caring For Different Types Of Animal


Find Information Below On The Different Types


Test for dehydration by raising the skin. If it remains tented, the animal is dehydrated. Try to get the animal to drink rehydration fluid from a bowl; if this fails try using a dropper or syringe. In severe cases, the animal may need sub-cutaneous fluids-see a vet. Never give food to a casualty until its body temperature is normal and it has been re-hydrated.

Never give food to a casualty until its body temperature is normal and it has been re-hydrated for 24 hours.

Feather care

When handling, transporting, and housing birds, be aware that damaged feathers can cause additional problems. If flight feathers are broken, they will not be replaced till the bird moults, which may be in several months’ time. Never keep a bird in a budgie cage without covering three sides with a towel or similar. Aviaries should be similarly screened.

All birds capable of doing so should be allowed to perch. Ensure perches are high enough to keep tail feathers off the bottom of the cage. A variety of different sized perches is best, and they should be wide enough to prevent hind claws puncturing the ball of the foot. Birds will use the highest perch they can reach for roosting. Make sure food and water dishes are not under perches, and that lower perches are not directly under higher ones.


The most common mammal to come into care, and susceptible to a wide range of diseases and injuries. Most injured hedgehogs will require a source of heat, and must be covered with light bedding, e.g. fleece.


Flaky or scaly skin, loss of spines, scabby faces and thickened ears are signs of ringworm. Mange is often present too. Consult a vet for treatment. Many homeopathic/alternative skin products help promote a full recovery, e.g. Bach flower remedies, one drop each of crab apple and agrimony in water, tea tree oil, aloe vera. Wash hands to avoid catching ringworm.


During hot weather, sick and injured hedgehogs are likely to suffer from flystrike. Examine hogs carefully and remove all fly eggs (they resemble sawdust). Maggots quickly burrow beneath the skin and into body orifices. All must be removed. The best method is to remove using tweezers. Contact us or seek veterinary treatment at an early stage. Hedgehogs with large maggots will probably need to be PTS.


A common hedgehog ailment causing coughing and weight loss. Needs vet treatment.


Strimmer injuries are often serious and irreparable. Abscesses are often associated with leg fractures and will usually have caused such damage that bones will not heal. Eye problems are common. A blind hedgehog can survive in the wild but may lose track of night and day.

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Such an important place for wildlife rehabilitation. Support if you can. They work hard and always need newspapers etc. Took in an underweight juvenile hedgehog for me to bring up to weight. Got an update on him when I asked. They are very to the point and your rescue is in the best hands. Please help with funding or donations of newspaper etc if you can.

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Wildlife Emergency Support

PLEASE CALL 01505 502415

Please don't e-mail with regard to an injured bird or animal that requires a quick response. We are only open during certain hours and during busy periods, we may not check e-mails regularly.