There are concerns ducklings are being "snatched from canals and ponds" before being sold to children on the street.
The DSPCA yesterday said it been “inundated” with calls and messages from people concerned about young children buying ducklings for as little as €5.
They say it’s potentially the result of a recent trend on TikTok and social media.
There’s a warning that ducklings can’t survive in cold water without the oils from their mother's feathers, and also cannot learn to feed properly.
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Gillian Bird, Head of Education and Media at the DSPCA, told Newstalk Breakfast they took in 25 ducklings yesterday - and they're expecting "a lot more" in the coming days.
She said: “We’re seeing cases where children have come home because they’ve been approached on the streets by people selling ducklings.
“A lot of the ducklings would be farm ducks - the little yellow farm ducks. But unfortunately, some of them are wild ducklings we’re concerned have been taken from the wild.
“Our major concerns are the ones that are most likely being snatched from canals and ponds."
She stressed there are responsible people selling ducklings online and elsewhere, giving full details on how to care for them.
However, she said in other cases people are just selling ducklings on the street - and there are some reports of people even taking eggs and trying to hatch them.
She observed: “Our concern is these are just going to be something people will take and film - [the duckling is] not going to survive for very long, and it’s going to suffer."
Ms Bird said parents should talk to children and tell them to “please not buy ducklings from strangers”.
Anyone who encounters ducklings being sold on the street, meanwhile, should contact the DSPCA or their local gardaí.