When to help a stoat or weasel;
If you are certain it is orphaned
If you can see that the nest chamber is totally destroyed, for example, dug up or flooded out completely then the Kits must be taken in. If you find very young kits above ground then there is a problem, Stoats and Weasels don't open their eyes for some weeks and will not venture out of the nest. Search the area to see if there are any more and contact your nearest wildlife rescue centre.
If the Stoat/Weasel has open wounds
Open wounds can become infected and may not heal without assistance. In the hot weather it is especially important for injured animals to be picked up as they may be suffering from 'fly-strike'. Flies lay eggs on sick or injured animals which hatch into maggots and eat them alive. If you see what look like tiny grains of rice, or grass seeds it is very important the Stoat/Weasel receives care as soon as possible.
If caught in a snare or trap
Cut out but do not release.
Once the Stoat or Weasel has been freed it must be taken to a wildlife rescue centre. Even if there are no visible injuries the flesh may start to break down several days later in a process called pressure necrosis. Any animal caught in a snare/trap must be observed for at least seven days before being re-released.
Any apparent orphan showing an injury
Orphaned animals that are injured will need medical attention at a wildlife rescue centre as soon as possible.
If it's dragging both hind legs
Can indicate a spinal or pelvic injury, handle very carefully, and take to a wildlife rescue centre immediately.
Although Stoats and Weasels are very small mammals they have exceptionally sharp teeth and even if badly injured can have a nasty bite! Do not attempt to handle the animal with bare hands. Preferably use thick gardening gloves. If you have nothing else then wrap the Stoat or Weasel in a blanket or jumper before lifting into a secure box.
Warning! All Mustelids are incredible escape artists, make sure your box is safe before placing the animal inside.
If you have a hot water bottle or heat pad you should wrap it in a towel and place it in the box as well. This is especially important for youngsters - Kits have poor body temperature regulation and would normally huddle together with their siblings in order to keep warm.
If the Stoat/Weasel has been hit by a car
Stoats and Weasels are very small animals, if they survive being hit by a car they must have medical attention as soon as possible.