WILDLIFE: What to do if you find an injured animal
BETWEEN pets and cars, many native animals are killed or injured each day due to human activities, so it’s important to know what to do if you find an injured animal.
Animal carer Kathy Silk and her daughter Stephanie operate the My Bush Babies Australia Facebook page, where they share photos and stories from their daily call-outs, and advice on how to help deal with injured animals.
Mrs Silk recommends people don’t attempt to handle injured animals themselves, but instead call a professional.
Even animals that appear to be fine, having managed to run away or climbed a tree, may still be injured and in need of assistance.
“If you hit or find an injured animal please call a carer to come and get it,” Mrs Silk said.
She also asked people to stay with or near the animal if possible, to keep an eye on it and help guide carers to its location.
“If you are unable to stay please give as exact a location as you can and leave a marker,” she said.
Markers can be anything you have on hand – towels or ribbons draped over a fence, a high-visibility vest hung from a branch, spray paint on a tree trunk – anything out-of-place to help draw a searcher’s attention.
Marsupials in particular may have joeys, so even if an animal looks dead, people are advised to carefully search it.
“A precious little life could be in there. Joeys can live for a number of days after the mother has died,” Mrs Silk said.
“If the animal has a joey in its pouch never pull it off the teat, cut the teat close to the mother’s body or wait for a carer to arrive.”
The other solution is to take the mother’s body to a vet or carer who can handle this themselves.
If removed from their pouches, joeys warm up best against warm skin, and should not be put in direct contact with hot water bottles or other heat sources.
For those who are wanting to try to help animals themselves rather than waiting for a carer, the recommendation is to keep gloves in the car, for dragging away dead animals and handling live ones.
Many animals are prone to feeding on roadkill, so it is best to move dead animals well away from the roadside to avoid further casualties.
Keeping towels, pillowcases, or other warm wrappings on hand will also be useful, particularly when dealing with joeys.
“The baby lives in its mother’s pouch, so it will need to be in something similar to feel safe,” Mrs Silk said.
“Keep it wrapped in a blanket or in a pillowcase, so it’s snug and warm.”
Injured animals should be brought directly to an animal carer, or the UQ Vet Hospital.
“You can reach us on 0410 334 661, we’re available 24/7,” Mrs Silk said.