Wildlife Christmas Shoebox Appeal

Secret World Launches Wildlife Christmas Shoebox Appeal

The days are getting shorter, it’s getting colder, and our British wildlife is preparing itself for the winter. Secret World Wildlife Rescue is making an appeal for donations for the animals in the winter months.


Ellie Wallace, Learning and Engagement Officer at Secret World, said: “This is a great opportunity for children and schools to get involved with caring for British wildlife.

“Making up a shoebox of enrichment and food is an easy and fun way to engage children and get them to think about the needs of wildlife.

“Christmas is a time for giving and we don’t want our animals to be forgotten about. It would be wonderful if they were able to enjoy a little treat during the festive season. Shoeboxes filled with goodies will help us look after the wild animals in our care throughout the winter.”

If people want to donate for a specific animal, the list below details what is appropriate for each species.


  • Dog meat (any variety)
  • Dog biscuits (any variety)
  • Custard creams (for weaning badgers)
  • Dog Kong toy (for enrichment while they are at Secret World)
  • Peanuts


  • Dog meat (any variety)
  • Dog biscuits (any variety)
  • Chew toy and Dog Kong toy (for enrichment while they are with us).


  • Cat meat (meat or poultry flavoured in jelly, no fish)
  • Cat biscuits (meat or poultry flavoured, no fish)
  • Fleece blanket
  • Vet bed
  • £15 for materials to build a hedgehog shelter
  • Hay bale (maybe too big to fit in a shoebox but great for hibernation material!)


  • Fat balls
  • Wild bird seed
  • Peanuts
  • Bird feeders
  • Sunflower seeds
  • Plastic tweezers

The shoeboxes can be dropped off at a number of locations or sent to: Secret World Wildlife Rescue, New Road, East Huntspill, Highbridge, Somerset, TA9 3PZ.

Laura Benfield, Head of Animal Care Services at Secret World also issued some advice for those who wish to support wildlife in their own back gardens. She said: “At this time of year, most wild animals are building their reserves to survive the cold season.

“The best way to support our wildlife is to supplement their diet with enough food for them to build their reserves but not so much that they become reliant on it.”

Laura’s top tips to care for the animals you are most likely to encounter in your garden are:



  • Refrain from cutting down trees and bushes while they still carry berries as these are valuable food sources for birds.
  • Putting out a variety of food will help attract and support more species. Peanuts, sunflower hearts, wild bird seed and dried mealworms are all good options.
  • Put up bird houses. The birds won’t nest in them for a little while yet but by having them there, they can familiarise themselves with them.


  • Meat-flavoured cat food is good for our prickly friends but if you are worried about attracting other cats into your garden, put it under a hedgehog shelter
  • Hedgehogs need cosy shelters to hibernate in. Leave a pile of logs or an overgrown area in your garden for them to nest in. Alternatively, Secret World Wildlife Rescue sells hedgehog shelters, ready made or flat-packed so you can build and paint your own.
  • Remember to check piles of leaves and bonfires carefully for hedgehogs and other creatures before setting alight. Ideally, only build a bonfire at the point of lighting it.

Badgers and foxes:

  • If you have badgers visiting your garden, they are fond of peanuts. As for foxes, they would appreciate some dog food.


Laura also warned against handling any injured animal you might come across. She said: “Your safety is paramount so don’t approach the animal. Instead call your local vet or the nearest wildlife centre for advice.”