Dorset Wildlife Rescue

WILD MAMMALS & BIRDS OF PREY RESCUE….. We are unable to take in garden birds or seagulls

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Help is only ever a phone call away and whilst we can only operate our rescue service in Dorset, we are only too happy to give advice over the phone to anyone with a problem. All the following is ‘qualified’ advice and every case MUST be considered individually.
The top priority must always be the animal’s welfare and as the person in the field so to speak, you must decide on the immediate action that has to be taken. If in doubt, call us or your local rescue service from the scene, or take the animal home and call from there.
Don’t leave the scene and try to come back later if the animal is injured or distressed, it may well crawl away to hide or be attacked by a predator.

Sensible Precautions
Wild mammals are very fearful of humans and ALL will bite…………..
Holding the animal firmly but gently by the scruff of the neck whilst at the same time supporting its rear end is the best way to proceed, beware of sharp claws though and always hold away from your face and at arms length. Held this way, foxes are unlikely to struggle too much but always be alert. Squirrels have a vicious bite so beware…..
I would advise no one to attempt to pick up a badger unless it is unconscious, and then only with great caution. Caution is the watchword, if in doubt cover the animal with a blanket and call for assistance.

Stress kills more mammals than the initial injury so avoiding contact that is more than vital is paramount…
DO NOT make eye contact…to an animal, eye contact is something only predators do Avoid full on facial contact, face away from the animal as you approach…
Cover the animal with a blanket. Darkness soothes and the blanket will help keep them warm Call your local rescue service or transport securely directly to a vet as soon as possible.
Dehydration is the biggest killer, offer water but only attempt to rehydrate manually if you know what you’re doing. Birds particularly, can drown if you attempt to pour water into their mouths.

Although it’s difficult when you stumble across a wildlife casualty, do try to find a secure box to transport your patient in. Even very poorly creatures will attempt to escape and driving to your vets with an escaped and terrified fox, squirrel etc running around in your car may well end up with you yourself becoming a road casualty.
Cat and Dog carriers are ideal, cardboard boxes are certainly not unless the victim is very docile.

If you have to take the injured animal home, place in a warm, quiet and dark room. Offer water and leave well alone. Please don’t allow friends and neighbours to come and see your unusual visitor.
Call for help as soon as possible…….. 

What do I do if I find a baby animal?
This depends greatly on the species and the location… Fox cubs and deer calves are often left by their mothers for a short time and to find either alone is not unusual and not always a cause for concern. If the baby is calm, uninjured and looks fit and well and is not in any immediate danger, then the best bet is to leave well alone, back off some considerable distance and quietly wait to see if the mother returns for it. You may have to leave the area completely so as not to scare off the mother. If after an hour or so the baby is still alone then you will have to decide the best course of action. We rescue many orphans each year and we are fortunate to have a wonderful success rate in caring for them until they are fit for release back into the wild, but their own mother is far and away the best carer

What do I do if I find an injured animal?
All injured animals with anything other than very minor injures (in which case you are unlikely to come across them) are unlikely to survive without help.

Has my fox got mange?
Sarcoptic Mange is a problem sometimes encountered in all foxes but urban foxes with mange are much easier to treat. Signs of mange are easy to spot, your visiting fox may well have lost part or all of the fur on his tail, as the mange takes hold he can lose the fur all over his body and his skin will be very dry, cracked and inflamed. Mange is caused by mites that burrow under the skin and the sufferer is in a constant state of chronic itching. In the final stages the fox may lose all fear of humans and be so preoccupied by the terrible itching that they wander town streets in daylight. They lose condition fast and often look very thin and bedraggled. Mange kills….. but it can be treated……
There are two ways to treat mange and both are highly successful….. Ivormec can be obtained from vets and is injected into the food, two doses three weeks apart are usually successful. But vets are not always keen to dole out this drug to the general public and if the dosage is not perfect, it can kill…… weighing a wild fox that you can’t approach is not possible and so estimating its weight is very difficult which causes problems in arriving at a safe dosage…..
Fortunately there is a homeopathic cure that is wonderfully successful and it has none of the dosage problems Five drops of arsenicum and sulpher combination for canine mange in food left for the fox everyday for three weeks will see magnificent results. The mange treatment can be obtained from…..
Helios Camden Rd Tunbridge Wells Kent TN1 2QR Their order ansaphone is 01892 536393.. Leave your name and address and ask for the canine mange arsenicum and sulpher combination. The cost is only approx £7 per treatment.


I have small hedgehogs in my garden, are they alright?
Hedgehogs sometimes have two litters a year and if a late litter is produced problems can occur. Hedgehogs should weigh a minimum of one pound if they are to survive hibernation. Any small hogs will need to be over wintered indoors if they are to survive. N.B. Hogs regularly use your shed for rearing litters and sometimes for hibernating, so worry not if you see them coming and going from under your shed. (equally, the same can be said for foxes and if you enjoy seeing cubs gambling on your lawn then fine, if not there is a solution. Foxes can be humanely discouraged by using RENARDINE. They hate the smell and will move away from an area if renardine is used regularly.

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