When to Help Rodents

Rats and mice are often referred to as vermin but in our view all wild animals have an equal right to help when things go wrong. It’s important to note that there are no legal obstacles to rescuing and rehabilitating these animals, though not every rescue will be willing to treat them.

Rodents most often need help when attacked by cats or when their nests are disturbed, for example during gardening work.


When to rescue #

Any animal caught by a cat
They must receive antibiotic treatment within a few hours or the bacteria on the cats teeth may cause fatal septicaemia.

An animal that can be easily approached
These are naturally very wary animals so if they cannot or do not try to run away they’re in trouble.

An animal with an obvious injury
An animal with a visible wound or injury such as a damaged limb will need help.


When to take other action #

A lone baby with their eyes closed outside of the nest
This is a dangerous situation for the baby but it may be that Mum has dropped them while moving nests. Observe from a distance (ideally indoors) for an hour and contact a rescue for help if Mum doesn’t return.

A lone juvenile caught in wet weather

We get many enquiries about young mice after heavy rain. They’re often found damp and huddled near to homes. Usually, just bringing them inside and getting them warm and dry until the rain passes is all they need. See here for more detailed care advice. Once fully alert you can offer some fruit for energy. If they’re not fully recovered and bouncing about after a few hours, they’ll need help from a rescue.

A nest of babies with no Mum
Mothers often spend time away from their young and will flee if the nest is disturbed. Cover the nest with natural materials such as leaves or grass and leave the area so Mum feels safe to return. Contact a wildlife rescue for advice if there is no sign of an adult after several hours or if you find a group of babies outside of a nest.

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