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New advice from the RSPCA on small, sick & injured wildlife

The RSPCA has updated its advice that is given to the public when dealing with small, sick and injured wildlife, in a bid to help prioritise cases of cruelty and neglect where specialist skills are required.

What’s the advice?

From 3rd April 2023, the RSPCA will no longer be sending inspectors to collect certain small, transportable wildlife, including (but not limited to):

  • Wild rabbits
  • Small rodents (mice, rats etc.)
  • Hedgehogs
  • Bats
  • Squirrels

Instead, the advice in these cases is for the public to take action themselves where it is safe to do so, by taking these small wild animals (currently excluding birds*) directly to vets for treatment. This will affect wildlife that can be handled safely without specialist PPE, using just a towel or tea towel.

The measure will mean that animals can get help much more quickly, while also freeing up the time of frontline rescuers to focus on cruelty and neglect cases or situations where specialist skills are required.

*Current Avian Flu advice from the government advises the public to not handle sick birds.

To support the changes, the RSPCA is offering tailored advice on safely handling and transporting different species of small animals. It covers symptoms of sickness to look out for, as well as what to do in situations where you find young or trapped wildlife. You can take a look at the resources here.


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