Containing sick or injured wildlife


As Scotland’s only all-animal rescue service, we want to make sure that sick and injured wildlife are getting the help they need.

We ask that certain smaller species are contained if they are injured or sick, or have been confirmed as abandoned, before we will attend.

These animals include:

  • Amphibians
  • Squirrels
  • Rabbits
  • Hedgehogs
  • Bats
  • Rodents and other small mammals (voles, mice, shrews, rats and moles)
  • Birds except for swans, geese, birds of prey, herons and gannets.


If you are unsure if the wild animal needs to be contained or rescued, you can find out more about individual species here. Please do not contain animals that are not showing any signs of sickness or injury as this can be detrimental to their welfare.

If the animal is assessed and found to be healthy and uninjured, it may be in the animal’s best interest for our officers to leave them where they are.



Why do I need to contain these animals?

Thousands of wild animals each year are not able to be rescued because they have been left uncontained and cannot be found when our officers arrive. Containing these animals ensure that we’ll be able to pick them up and improves their chances of survival and rehabilitation.

Sick and injured animals are more vulnerable to poor weather conditions and predators. Containing the animal will keep the animal safe and protect them.

Our officers have multiple jobs to attend. Whilst searching for an uncontained animal, other animals are suffering for longer than necessary. Containing these species not only helps us rescue them but also means we’re able to get to more animals who need our help.


How do I contain an animal?

First of all, consider your own safety. Do not put yourself or others at risk.

In most instances, you will not need to handle the animal. You can simply place a box over the animal. Please make sure that any box used has sufficient air holes and is the appropriate size for the animal.

If you do need to lift an animal or a nest into a box, we strongly recommend wearing gloves. Always wash your hands thoroughly after coming into contact with any wild animal. When helping young birds, look for any nests or adult birds nearby. You may wish to wear a hat to protect yourself.



Containment method

Birds except for swans, geese, birds of prey, herons and gannets.

Place a box over them.

Squirrels, rabbits or hedgehogs

Place a box over them. Our helpline team may ask you to lift them into a box (particularly if they are very young) and place them near a radiator to keep them warm. Alternatively, a covered hot water bottle could be used.


Place a box with a tea towel inside over the bat. If you cannot put the box over the bat, you could pick up the bat gently using a tea towel and put the bat and the tea towel into the box.

Never try to contain a bat mid-flight as this can cause serious injuries. It’s highly unlikely that a bat will bite you but if you are bitten, seek medical advice immediately.

Rodents and other small mammals (voles, mice, shrews, rats and moles)

Place a plastic box over them or gently lift them into the box. Do not use a cardboard box as these animals will be able to chew through it easily.

Amphibians (toads, newts, frogs)

Place a box over them or contain them in a box with damp paper towels. Do not use newspaper as the ink can harm them. Always use gloves if you need to handle an amphibian.