With us spending more time on the beach, there is a higher chance of us seeing a washed-up whale or dolphin.

How we respond to this is hugely important in determining what happens to the marine animal.

Knowing who to call and what you should do is good knowledge to have in Scotland where incidents are common.

Luckily, the Scottish Government and British Divers Marine Life Rescue have provided information.

What you should not do if you see a washed-up whale or dolphin

According to the British Divers Marine Life Rescue, you should not attempt to return the animal to the ocean if it has washed up on a beach.

This is because the animal may need treatment and/or a period to recover before being fit enough to swim.

You should also not cover or let any water into the whale or dolphin's blowhole (which can be found on the top of its head) as these animals breathe air and could die or be distressed by the action.

What should you do if you see a washed-up dolphin or whale?

Upon seeing a washed-up whale, dolphin or porpoise in Scotland you should remain quiet and calm (keeping children and dogs away) as any noise could cause the animal to be distressed.

If the animal is alive, you should immediately call the British Divers Marine Life Rescue (01825 765 546) or the Scottish SPCA (03000 999 999).

When reporting the landing, you should give an accurate description of the animal such as its length and distinguished features. You should also provide an exact location.

You should also look for signs of injury and count the number of breaths (opening of the blowhole) over a minute for clues about its health before taking pictures.

For dead and stranded animals, you should call or email 07979 245 893 or email: reports@strandings.org and provide the date found, location (grid reference if possible) and photographs.

Why do whales and other marine animals wash up on the beach?

Whales often wash up on the shore because they are old, injured and/or disorientated.

This could also be the result of natural mortality or from human activity such as when a whale collides with a boat or when it suffocates in fishing nets.