Caring for animals in the snow

Blue tit feeding Credit: Paul Faith/PA Archive/Press Association Images

The RSPCA charity has tips on caring for house pets and wildlife during the cold weather - every year between one and two thousand wild animals are brought into RSPCA centres in the winter months, suffering from dehydration, hunger and cold.


  • Wipe them down after exercise to stop sweat leading to a chill.

Rabbits or guinea pigs

  • Bring them indoors or into a garage or shed, but make sure they have access to a secure exercise area. Give them a tray or grass to allow them to graze. If they have to stay outside - put their hutches in a sheltered spot, facing away from wind and rain.


  • Make sure they have a litter tray inside in case it's too cold for them to dig in the ground to go to the toilet.


  • Put them in reflective coats when walking at night

Garden animals

  • For birds: put out food like seeds, fresh unsalted peanuts and table scraps, cheese and fruits like apples and pears. They also love dried mealworms or waxworms, which can be bought from bird food suppliers.

  • For badgers - they like lightly cooked meats, cheese, peanuts and fruit.

Squirrel feeding Credit: Anna Gowthorpe/PA Wire/Press Association Images
  • For squirrels: nuts such as hazelnuts, walnuts and almonds, plus some chopped apple, beans, carrots or spinach.

  • Melt a small hole in ponds otherwise toxic gases can build up, which may kill fish or frogs hibernating at the bottom. Gently melt the water by placing a pan of hot water on the surface. Do not break the ice or tip boiling water onto the pond as that can kill fish.