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How to help wildlife in hot weather

Phew, it’s hot outside! And if us humans are feeling the heat, you know that wildlife will be too. But while we can pop on a fan, sip an icy drink or eat some ice cream to cool down, it’s not that easy for wildlife. So how do wild birds and animals cope when the temperature skyrockets, and what can we do to help them?

Leave out fresh water!

Richard Chambers (Richardelainechambers at en.wikipedia) CC BY-SA 3.0

Wildlife gets thirsty too, and if it’s been hot for a while then their usual sources of water to drink might have run low or dried up altogether. So make sure you leave out fresh water everyday in a few different spots so different types of wildlife can access it, for example low to the ground for insects and mammals, higher up for birds.

Fresh water is also great for helping birds cool down. They rely on bathing in water to help them keep their feathers clean and working well. Make sure the dish you pop the water in is fairly shallow so it’s easy for little birds to stand in.

Don’t forget to clean out the containers before you refill them to prevent spreading disease or bacteria.

Give little animals shelter

Stacked Bug Hotel

Shade is important for smaller insects and animals, so provide plenty of places for them to hide from the sun. Logs piles, rock piles and even shady plants will do the trick, and of course you can build or buy a bug hotel. Pop them at various places in your garden, in corners and by fences.

Leave out food


It can be quite hard for wildlife to find food, especially when the ground gets baked hard in the heat. This is especially true for wildlife that tends to rely on things like worms as the ground is too hard to reach them. Leave out a variety of food like seeds, fat, mealworms and nuts for animals to munch on.

Don’t forget bees

Short-haired bumblebee James Lindsey at Ecology of Commanster [CC-BY-SA-2.5 ( or CC-BY-SA-3.0 (], via Wikimedia Commons

Sometimes bees can get overwhelmed in the heat, and you might find them on the ground. Give them some space, and leave a little sugar water in a spoon near them that they can drink. That should perk them up in no time and they’ll fly off when they’ve regained their strength.

What to do if you find an animal in distress

If you find an animal that doesn’t seem well, you may need to contact your local vet or, if it’s a bigger animal like a fox, then you’ll need to get in touch with the RSPCA.





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