Advice if Handling Wildlife

Whilst walking or enjoying the countryside, displaced, ill or injured wildlife may be found.

As wild animals and birds may carry diseases without appearing to be ill, it is important to remember that these species may carry organisms which are harmful to people and pets.

  • Where possible enjoy wildlife safely from a distance and avoid contact with them, their urine or their droppings.
  • Always contact experts before handling wildlife, whether they are alive or dead.


Live wildlife

Do not touch wildlife until you have professional advice from a wildlife rehabilitator, relevant animal charity or a vet.

In exceptional circumstances only, if you must handle live wildlife, precautions must be taken for your health and safety, physical and infectious, and for that of the animal.


Reporting unusual and suspicious events

Unusual or suspicious events such as dead animals oddly positioned, large numbers of dead animals or birds require professional help and advice.

If you come across dead wildlife you should not touch it but instead contact the relevant organisation or authority. These organisations can then advise re collection of appropriate material and feed into surveillance schemes.



All bats and their roosts are protected in Scotland and some bat species can carry diseases which, although rare, are potentially fatal to humans

  • Anyone finding a sick, injured or trapped bat should contact the Bat Conservation Trust (BCT) or a local wildlife rehabilitator for help and advice
  • Members of the public should not handle bats unless they are trained, rabies vaccinated and wearing gloves of a thickness and type appropriate for handling that species of bat.
  • Anyone who has been bitten by a bat should wash the wound immediately with soap and water for at least 5 minutes and consult a doctor without delay
  • Expert advice is available from a number of organisations