This time of year there are an abundance of young animals as gardens, woodlands and lakes burst in to life – often it can be a very confusing time for people when they come across a baby animal, and here the centre we get a number of calls from worried members of the public asking what they should do in that situation.
In most cases youngsters have not been abandoned and moving them away from the location they were found can be more of a hinderance than a help. To make things easier we have put together this guide which means you’ll know what steps to follow if you do find an baby animal this summer!
1. Young Birds
In most cases if you find a young bird on its own it is a fledgling, and the parents are most likely near by and will still be feeding them from the ground. Fledglings can be identified by their size and plumage, they will usually have grown all their feathers and will be stable on their feet, can run, walk, and perch on low branches.
If you are worried then monitor the bird for a few hours, in most cases you will find that the parents have taken care of the youngster and there is no need to intervene.
If you find a fledgling in immediate danger, such as a busy road or in vulnerable position for a predator, then it is advisable that they are placed a short distance away to safety.
If after monitoring the young bird, you feel it has been orphaned, is unwell in any way or an unfeathered baby bird, transport it in a warm, dark, well-ventilated cardboard box and take it to your nearest wildlife rehabilitation centre.
Finding a young deer on its own is not unusual, fawns are left for long periods of time whilst their mother forages for food, in some cases it can take 12 hours for the mother to feel safe enough to return to her fawn.
If you find a fawn when out on a walk then keep your pets away and don’t touch the fawn as this will leave an unfamiliar sent and could cause the mother to abandon them.
Baby deer are resilient enough to survive in the wild, though should you find a fawn that is sick, inured or distressed then call the RSPCA for advice on: 0300 1234 999.
3. Fox Cubs
If you find a fox cub and its eyes are open, then it is likely that the parents are nearby – it is not unusual to see a four-week old cub on their own as this is how they learn their survival and hunting instincts. Although these cubs may look vulnerable they have a better chance left where they are under the supervision of their parents. Foxes that become to use to humans struggle to survive in the wild.
If you find a cub on its own and you are worried then leave a supply of dog food and water nearby and check on them again in 24 hours. If you are worried the cub is in immediate danger then without handling the cub too much, move it to a safe place.
Call 0300 1234 999 if you are concerned about fox cub, its eyes are still closed or it is obviously sick or injured.
If you find a hedgehog during the daytime then it is probably sick and in this case you should call the advice line.
Juvenile hedgehogs found weighing less than 500 grams during late autumn will need help to survive the winter.
Very young orphaned hedgehogs need specialist care and have the best chance of survival by being transferred to an experienced wildlife rehabilitator.
5. More ways to help Wildlife…
For more information and wildlife advice visit www.rspca.org.uk/adviceandwelfare/wildlife