Secret World Launches Christmas Shoebox Appeal for Wildlife

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

Samantha Hannay, Head of External Relations said: “We are encouraging members of the public and schools to get involved and send us shoeboxes filled with goodies that will help us look after the wild animals in our care throughout the winter.”

Christmas is about giving and it will be wonderful for our wildlife to receive a special Christmas treat this year – any donation will be greatly appreciated. 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)
  • Dried mealworms
  • Sunflower hearts
  • Fleece blanket
  • Vet bed


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

The shoeboxes can be 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, dried mealworms and sunflower hearts work equally well.
  • 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, or you can build and paint your own at our Dogs and Hogs event on Sunday November 19th.
  • 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.”

Secret World provides a 365-days a year service to rescue sick, injured or orphaned wildlife. Members of the public who would like advice on how to look after wild animals or would like to report injured wildlife should call 01278 783 250.


Notes to editors:
About Secret World Wildlife Rescue
– Secret World Wildlife Rescue is one of the South West’s leading wildlife rescue charities (charity number 1097119) based in East Huntspill in Somerset.
– Now in its 25th year, Secret World Wildlife Rescue cares for more than 5,000 sick, injured and orphaned animals each year.
– As well as being a respected source of expertise and a centre of excellence where British wildlife receives the best care, Secret World has an extensive volunteer programme and engages with schools to promote respect for wildlife and the environment, adding further benefits to the local community.
– As Secret World does not receive any government funding, it relies entirely on the generosity of supporters and donors to carry out this important work for British wildlife.
– The charity’s website is

For media information, please contact:
Sarah-Jane Freni
Shooting Star
0117 4038200