Has been far too long since I made a blog post so here’s a wee list of 12 wildlife rehab myths. Some are UK specific.
1. Wildlife rehab is a fun hobby.
It is definitely not a hobby. It is a commitment and certainly isn’t fun. It can be rewarding, interesting and stimulating but is often heart-breaking and is most definitely not fun!
2. Looking after wildlife is easy and just like looking after a pet.
Wildlife rehab is not easy and is a huge commitment that involves a lot of training and learning. Each rescue is different and you need to be ready for anything.
3. Rehabbers post to social media just for the likes.
Rehabbers can post for a variety of reasons but it isn’t about the likes. They post to educate and raise awareness. They may also post to ask for help or donations.
4. In UK vets have to treat wildlife for free.
This is a common & widespread myth. Vets are not obliged to treat wildlife for free. They’re only obliged to relieve suffering i.e. provide pain relief or euthanasia. I am lucky that my local vet often does not charge me but sometimes for difficult cases or where medication is involved they do. This is one reason I ask for PayPal donations to help cover vet expenses as well as travel.
5. Wildlife in rehab needs to be talked to and cuddled.
It is a natural instinct to talk to and stroke or cuddle rescues but this can have a negative impact. It might stress the wild animal or if it is a young animal it may imprint on you and your voice. I try to interact with rescues as little as possible.
6. Wildlife rehab usually ends in a successful release.
Research suggests rehab results in 30-40% successful releases. This is where the heartbreaking part of wildlife rehab comes in. The majority of rescues do not make it. Sometimes it may be possible to keep a rescue that is alive but not fit for release in long term captivity but only if there is decent quality of life.
Sadly this little Weasel that came to me a few months ago did not survive.
7. If you can look after one type of wildlife you can look after any.
I have looked after a wide variety of wildlife over the years but there are still some that I would pass on to specialist rescues as I am not experienced enough or do not have facilities to keep.
8. Hedgehogs out during the day need taken into care.
I hear and see this so often but it is just not true. If a Hedgehog is out during the day and is moving purposefully with no signs of illness then leave well alone. It doesn’t need the stress of being taken into care & may be a mum with young. If it is sleeping in open, lethargic, wobbly, has flies round it or otherwise looks wrong then it needs rescuing.
9. To get a grounded Swift back in the air throw it high in the air or release from a high window.
Another I see regularly & I have to be honest and say it was one I used to believe. However never throw a Swift up in the air. You could injure bird or damage wing feathers which is a death sentence. To release face into wind and raise hands flat with swift on it. Gently raise and lower hands slightly and see if it flies. If not the specialist carer is required as soon as possible.
10. A young Deer or Hare found lying on their own needs to be taken into care.
Too often young Deer and Hares are “rescued” by well meaning people when there is no need. Mum Deer and Hares leave their young on their own during the day to go and forage before coming back at night to feed young with milk.
11. You cannot touch a grounded or injured Bat in UK without a licence.
Though you need a licence to do just about anything with Bats that does not include helping a Bat in trouble. However if you help a Bat always were rubber or leather gloves or lift with a towel as there is a small risk of rabies.
12. A fledgling in your garden needs a rescue.
Fledglings of many bird species leave the nest when young and parents continue to feed them. If you are concerned about a fledgling keep an eye on it and you will see mum or dad turn up with food in beak. Is much better for fledgling to be fed by parents than taken into care.
If you want to support GW Wildlife Rescue & Rehabilitation then you can buy something from the GW Wildlife Rescue & Rehabilitation Amazon Wishlist or make a donation via PayPal towards expenses such as travel and vet bills.