Injured wildlife

Last updated: January 22, 2013

Leave a Comment

The RSPCA receives many calls from concerned people about what to do when they find an injured native animal. The following hints should help when in a situation with injured native wildlife.

What to do if you find an injured native animal

baby native animal in a blanket

Step 1

Approach slowly and speak softly. Fast movements may scare the animal causing them to run away from you which may cause extra trauma to the animal or they could try to defend themself by biting or lashing out. A large towel, blanket or thick hessian bag are good to have to cover the animal and create comfort and also keep a good thickness between your hand and the animal’s teeth or claws. All animals can become quite ‘nasty’ when frightened; even the young can give a nasty nip or scratch. If you are ever unsure about handling an animal, place the animal in a box or washing basket on top of it and call for help from The Queensland Parks and Wildlife Service or RSPCA Qld on 1300ANIMAL.

In the case of birds, be careful at all times when handling them. The small birds like honeyeaters have very sharp claws and beaks can cause a lot of damage. Birds’ bones are fragile so when handling them try to keep their wings against their body in the normal position.

Step 2

Check for severe injuries before lifting. BE CAREFUL, wildlife like possums, koalas and bandicoots can be very savage when cornered or injured – trained personnel should be the only ones to attempt to restrain them. If in doubt, don’t touch and just seek help from a Veterinarian, Queensland Parks and Wildlife ranger or a Wildlife care organisation.

If possible, stop any heavy bleeding with a pressure bandage and treat for hypothermia (low body temperature). A good way to do this is to wrap the animal in a warm towel or blanket and place on a well insulated hot water bottle. Make sure that you don’t burn the animal’s sensitive skin. An animal will go into shock quite easily if it has suffered a lot of blood loss or loss of body heat. Wallabies and kangaroos will defend themselves by kicking, so be careful of kicking legs and sharp claws.

Step 3

It is best to use a large blanket, bag or towel as a stretcher to lift large animals and the weight should be shared between two or more people. This also helps to stop any extra trauma to the animal’s wounds. Some animals will struggle so watch out for this. If you believe the animal would suffer through being transported (e.g. broken bones in wallabies and kangaroos) it may be better for you to try to contact your local vet, police or RSPCA to humanely put the animal to sleep at the site. 4. Arrange veterinary attention. Check for ear tags or any other form of identification and contact the necessary body such as the Queensland Parks and Wildlife Service. Be guided by professional advice of a veterinarian as to the fate of the injured animal.

Step 4

Arrange veterinary attention. Check for ear tags or any other form of identification and contact the necessary body such as the Queensland Parks and Wildlife Service. Be guided by professional advice of a veterinarian as to the fate of the injured animal.

Specific Animals

Possums

Possum

Always check a dead marsupial for a pouch and / or a joey. If a joey is in a dead mothers pouch and cannot be easily taken from the teat, cut the teat. If they have suffered trauma such as being hit by a car, or attacked by a cat or dog they may not show any obvious signs of injury. The hairless or very young animals should be kept very warm as they lose body heat. A hot water bottle which is well insulated with material around it to stop burning of the animal’s sensitive skin is suitable. Then place the animal in a pillowslip (cotton or flannelette) in a warm, dark, quiet place.

The older animals will need to be placed in a cardboard box. Keep in a dark, warm, quiet place. Transport to the RSPCA or other animal care group.

Koalas

baby koala

Always check a dead marsupial for a pouch and / or a joey. If a joey is in a dead mothers pouch and cannot be easily taken from the teat, cut the teat. If they have suffered trauma such as being hit by a car, or attacked by a cat or dog they may not show any obvious signs of injury. The hairless or very young animals should be kept very warm as they lose body heat. A hot water bottle which is well insulated with material around it to stop burning of the animal’s sensitive skin is suitable. Then place the animal in a pillowslip in a dark, dry, quiet place.

Injured koalas are often found hit by cars – beware of the koala that recovers, even just a little, from a concussion! They have very strong forelimbs and claws which they use to climb trees so they can inflict painful injuries as well as a painful bite. Never sit one on your lap unless you are experienced or prepared to move quickly! Instead, contact an experienced wildlife carer – 1300ANIMAL. Try to contain the animal with a blanket, garbage bin or washing basket, two washing baskets can be effective or a cardboard box. Keep in a dark, warm, quiet place. Transport to the RSPCA or other animal care group.

Well furred young or adult koalas will like something to hang onto as if in a tree, use something like a stuffed toy, rolled towel or sturdy tree stump.

Orphaned koalas are young marsupials and must be kept at a warm but even temperature. The hairless ones need this treatment especially. The hairless young have very sensitive skin and any abrasive cloth such as hessian will cause them to get sores so use natural fibre material i.e. flannelette or cotton. Over-heating can also be a problem so make sure that the heat given is not too hot as it will burn them. These animals can become dehydrated easily if they have been sitting inside or beside a dead mother for hours. Contact the RSPCA or Queensland Parks and Wildlife or your veterinarian for expert information.

Kangaroos and wallabies

joey in a blanket with broken leg

Always check a dead marsupial for a pouch and / or a joey. If a joey is in a dead mothers pouch and cannot be easily taken from the teat, cut the teat. Injured and orphaned young marsupials must be kept at a warm but even temperature. The hairless ones need this treatment especially. The hairless young have very sensitive skin and any abrasive cloth such as hessian will cause them to get sores use natural fibre material i.e. flannelette or cotton (pillow slip). Over-heating can also be a problem so make sure that the heat given is not too hot as it will burn them. These animals can become dehydrated easily if they have been sitting inside or beside a dead mother for hours.

Contact the RSPCA or Parks and Wildlife or your veterinarian for expert information and guidance on the correct feeding of these creatures.

Wild birds

tawny frog mouth

Broken wings and other injuries caused by attacks from cats, dogs and motor vehicles are common. If the bird is very stressed, wrap a large towel around it securely remembering to be aware of beak and claws. Birds’ bones are fragile so when handling th


Have your say! Leave us a comment:

You must be logged in to post a comment.