Animals Hit by a Car

Hundreds of thousands of wild birds and animals are killed and injured on Britain’s roads every year. The really sad thing is that so many are left to die a slow death as they are repeatedly run over when many could be saved, or at least spared some suffering, with proper help.

Our articles often talk about whether or not you should intervene – in the case of an animal hit by a car, you should always contact a rescue to at least get the victim checked over.

Small Animals #

Small animals such as small birds, hedgehogs and squirrels, should be contained and taken to a rescue ASAP. See ‘Finding Help’ below for further information. If the animal is still alive but clearly catastrophically injured, then it may be kindest to take them directly to a nearby vet.

Large Animals #

Larger animals such as foxes, badgers, swans and deer are potentially dangerous when scared or injured and require expert handling. Please do not attempt to capture or contain them yourself. Just keep an eye on them from a distance and, if they leave the scene, try to see where they go so you can direct the rescue to them when they arrive.

If a large animal is in the road, you may wish to call the police, as they will sometimes attend in this scenario to ease disruption and the safety risk to traffic.

The most important thing you can do here (apart from calling a rescuer urgently), is minimise the casualty’s stress. If they are not moving and it is safe to do so you can approach carefully and put a coat or blanket over their head. This will help to mitigate some of their stress. Some animals, especially deer, in these situations will freeze and lay still, making no attempt to get away. This does not mean they are tame – please keep your distance and never try to ‘comfort’ them; to them you are a fearsome predator and they will see this as threatening, not comforting and you will only be adding to their fear and stress.

Finding Help #

You can find details of rescues in your area by searching our directory. If you're unsure whether to intervene or you have difficulty finding a rescue who can help, we have information about sources of bespoke help. We also have articles with detailed, practical advice about capturing an animal, providing short term care, contacting a wildlife rescue, and getting the animal to them.

Updated on May 28, 2024