Found an injured wild animal?

Have you come across an injured, sick or orphaned wild animal?

Whilst you seek advice from us at Whitby Wildlife Sanctuary, here are a few steps you can take to make your wildlife rescue as safe and stress free as possible, before help can arrive.

If you are interested in learning more about many of the species we work with please take a look at the links on this page. We also have many volunteering opportunities with on site, hands on training given. Why not join us?

For small birds and mammals

  • Contain small casualties in a box with a lid to prevent escape (remember to put holes in the top to allow your casualty to breathe). A towel in the box would be ideal. Some birds panic when they can’t grip onto anything and find the slippery floor of a box stressful. A towel also allows any small mammals to hide away and retain warmth.
  • Put your casualty in the quietest place possible in your house or perhaps a garage or shed, but away from everyday household noise. Keep it as stress free as possible.
  • Leave a small shallow dish of water in the box/container- don’t worry about feeding your casualty at this stage.
  • Keep your casualty somewhere dark – if the container is clear, cover it with a towel or blanket this will help minimise the stress. Darkness quietens and calms many wild animals.
  • Put your contained animal somewhere warm (an airing cupboard is perfect if it is quiet) or perhaps provide it with a warm hot water bottle, allowing enough space for them to be able to move away from the heat if they become too warm. Remember to wrap the hot water bottle in a towel so they don’t inadvertently burn themselves.

To recap. all of the above: dark, quiet, fluids, warmth.

For road traffic incidents:

Sadly most motorists at some point in their lives will come across a road traffic casualty. Here are a few do’s and don’ts we suggest before seeking emergency help.


  • If possible, park in front of the casualty and ensure your hazard lights are on.
  • Record the exact location of the casualty – if the animal recovers it will need to be released back to that location (this is especially important for adult species returning to their territories).
  • If possible slowly place a blanket or coat over the casualty covering the head area of the animal.
  • Ring for help – stay with the animal to ensure it does not come to further harm and we will be with you as soon as we can. If it is safe to do so and you are able to capture the small animal, follow the rescue advice tips according to species within the tabs to the left of this page. Please note – do not try and pick up larger animals such as badgers and foxes. Presently, WWS do not have facilities for these larger mammals so we recommend calling the RSPCA. Only capture an animal if you have a suitable container. There was one instance whereby a gentleman picked up an owl after it was hit by a car, only for it to be flying around inside his vehicle on arrival at Whitby Wildlife Sanctuary!
  • If you are unable to stay with the casualty until help arrives please leave a marker on the side of the road – something that may look out of place like an item of clothing or a carrier bag tied to a tree. Be as visible as possible.


  • Don’t panic – help will be on the way.
  • Don’t put yourself or others in harms way. Whether it’s a beak, claw or teeth an injured animal can still use these to protect itself. Your safety is paramount